Performative Body Spaces

Corporeal Topographies in Literature, Theatre, Dance, and the Visual Arts


The human body as cultural object always has and is a performing subject, which binds the political with the theatrical, shows the construction of ethnicity and technology, unveils private and public spaces, transgresses race and gender, and finally becomes a medium that overcomes the borders of art and life. Since there cannot be a universal definition of the human body due to its culturally performative role as a producer of interactive social spaces, this volume discusses body images from diverse cultural, historical, and disciplinary perspectives, such as art history, human kinetics and performance studies. The fourteen case studies reach from Asian to European studies, from 19th century French culture to 20th century German literature, from Polish Holocaust memoirs to contemporary dance performances, from Japanese avant-garde theatre to Makeover Reality TV shows.
This volume is of interest for performance studies artists as well. By focusing on the intersection of body and space, all contributions aim to bridge the gap between art practices and theories of performativity. The innovative impulse of this approach lies in the belief that there is no distinction between performing, discussing, and theorizing the human body, and thus fosters a unique transdisciplinary and international collaboration around the theme performative body spaces. (I. Biopolitical Choreographies, II. Transcultural Topographies, III. Corporal Mediations, IV. Controlled Interfaces.)

Table of contents

Markus Hallensleben: Introduction: Performative Body Spaces
Biopolitical Choreographies: Performing the Body as Racial and Political Space
Bożena Karwowska: Metaphors of Dancing and the Human Body in Nazi Concentration Camps
Patricia Vertinsky: From Dance under the Swastika to Movement Education: A Study of Embodied Culture
Gabriele Brandstetter: Political Body Spaces in the Performances of William Forsythe
Jeremy Redlich: Reading Skin Signs: Decoding Skin as the Fluid Boundary between Self and Other in Yoko Tawada
Transcultural Topographies: Transgressing the Body as Gendered and Cultural Space
Colleen Lanki: The Body in Space: Layers of Gender in Japanese Classical Dance
Yasuko Ikeuchi: Counter-Narrativity and Corporeality in Kishida Rio’s Ito Jigoku
Eiichiro Hirata: The Absence of Voices in the Theatre Space: Ku Nauka’s Production of Medea
Sabine Wilke: Staging Culture - Staging Nature: Polynesian Performance as Nature and Nature as Performance in Hawaii
Corporeal Mediations: Visualizing the Body as Private and Public Space
Sima Godfrey: Moving through Fashion in Nineteenth-Century France
Kathryn Brown: Reading Bodies: Female Secrecy and Sexuality in the Works of Renoir and Degas
Rainer Rumold: Corporeal Topographies of the Image Zone: From Oskar Kokoschka’s Murder of Metaphor to Georges Bataille’s acéphale
Beth Pentney: Somatechnics and Makeover Reality TV: The Symbiotic Viewer/Participant Relationship
Controlled Interfaces: Imaging the Body as Research Object and Artistic Space
Robert Pritchard: The Body as Object: From Body Image to Meta-Body
Henry Daniel: Touched: Organization, Control and Emergence in Choreographed Performance Systems
List of Contributors


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