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Theatres of Individuation: Shaping Shared Aesthetic Experience

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sally Jane Norman


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Gilbert Simondon describes individuation as a permanent process in the living being since, contrary to inorganic entities, the living being is not just the result but the theatre of individuation. This statement is taken as a starting point to define theatre as a metastable system rich in different potentials (form, matter, energy), whose mediation yields a particular kind of aesthetic experience, namely, a celebration of shared space and time. Theatre designates both a physical location, and the live performance activity this location hosts. It is characterised by permanent renegotiation of the temporal and spatial boundaries on which individuation of all live art depends. This paper relates selected historical cases and theories of theatrical individuation to current performance experiments in technologically innervated urban settings. Mediaeval encounter-patterns and other mobile theatre forms, which implement different kinds of boundaries to those employed in dedicated architectural edifices, provide a backdrop for descriptions of current experiments producing technologically layered, wilfully ambivalent spaces that lend themselves to multiple aesthetic readings. In conclusion, shared aesthetic experience in our massively extended sensorium is seen to need new shaping powers, to heighten moments of metasynchronicity and proxemics of metagesture that can inform future theatres of individuation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Norman SJ

Editor(s): m-cult Centre for New Media Culture

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Performing Places

Year of Conference: 2006