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Title: Ecstatic space : NEO-KUT and shamanic technologies
Author: Song, Haein
ISNI:       0000 0004 7968 3296
Awarding Body: Brunel University London
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2019
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The present thesis formulates an approach towards ecstatic space in the context of a combined performance of kut, a Korean shamanic performance ritual, and digital practices. Here, the coined term, ecstatic space, is not confined to the mental state or spiritual sphere of shamans in a trance but indicates an alternative and metaphoric environment mediatised by ecstatic technology - a vehicle for conjuring the mythical worlds of kut via shamanic media including divine objects, dancing and singing rituals. This research also adopts digital technology, a modern approach for accessing imaginary virtual space through digital media, especially technical images - the technologically produced and programmed/computational images. Ecstatic space enables the creation of interstitial and fecund space situated between performer/audience reality and imaginary spheres, representing the technological aesthetics inbetween kut and digital performance. This enabling is theoretically and historically grounded in media and performance/ritual frameworks that are explored in the early chapters of the thesis. Ecstatic space contextualises through the careful exposition of Korean scholarship on kut, and shamanic performance rituals read and interpreted alongside international performance/cultural studies and media theories including Vilém Flusser, Marshall McLuhan, Guy Debord, Roy Ascott and others. My methodologies of creating ecstatic space are formulated by investigating the artistic potential of an interpenetrative relationship between these two technologies. The five core SUI (Shamanic User Interface) designs of kut are identified to outline an embodied understanding of the ecstatic technology. The techniques of digital performances are then examined in relation to SUI design, using as a case study of metakimospheres, a series of immersive performance installations exploring wearable architectures and kinetic atmospheres, and other digital practices. My methodologies are applied to and examined through my own series of ecstatic spaces, created with a shimbang (a master shaman of Korea) and five kut performers. Each of the proposed principles is explored and demonstrated through the production processes and presentations of four performances: the solo piece, Twelve Doors, discovers a wearable installations adopting Korean funeral kut; the theatrical piece, Leodo: The Paradise, describes a girl's journey to Leodo, delivering the key emotional conception of kut and exploring technical images; the projection mapping performance, Miyeoji-baegdui, produces its liminal spheres through the projection lights and interactive mapping technology; the participatory installation performance, Seocheon Flower Garden creates a divine garden by metaphoric mapping design and immersive performance rituals. The final production for this research, NEO-KUT, is the culminating event, generated by a comprehensive assemblage based on all four performances. The outcome of the research is the generation of alternative performance frameworks for the field of kut and digital performance. As a consequence, Ecstatic Space: NEO-KUT and Shamanic Technologies contributes to the field of kut by adopting a technical medium that can enhance the potentiality and accessibility of rituals for people today. In addition, unlike the digital virtual space that tends to pursue ocular-centred, realistic and individual interfaces, this research proposes a more collectivist shamanic and ritual way of perceiving digital dispositifs and digital performance atmospheres through highlighting multi-sensorial, symbolic and communal environments of ecstatic space.
Supervisor: Birringer, J. ; Mitra, R. Sponsor: Arts Council Korea ; Cheju Culture and Arts Foundation ; Korean Arts Management Service ; Korean Cultural Centre UK ; Min Moon Productions
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Ecstatic space ; Korean shamanic technologies ; Digital technologies ; Kut (Korean shamanic rituals) ; Digital performance