Connie Palmen’s and Jan Fabre’s Grief Staged as Landscape of Memory

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Sylvia Solakidi Centre for Performance Philosophy, University of Surrey UK

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Two works focusing on the corporeality of grief, The Logbook of a Merciless Year by Connie Palmen and the theatre text Requiem for a Metamorphosis by Jan Fabre, are explored alongside Merleau-Ponty’s ontology for their way to transform personal grief, characterized by identity crisis and spatiotemporal disorientation, into an act of remembering. The two works are approached as fictions of the body in pain, enacting grief like body art pieces in order to make pre-reflective sense of it. Pain becomes an agent, allowing the authors to open up by transforming their introvert portraits of grief into corporeal landscapes, characterized by a temporality of stillness/movement. Based on Merleau-Ponty’s notions of simultaneity and institution, this essay demonstrates how movement allows a spatiotemporal opening so that memory may be enacted from the point of view of the present upon all temporal moments. Therefore, grievers reinvent themselves in their works, as those who enact memory.

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