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Alkazi Theatre Archives

A Bibliographic Listing from the Archive


Book: Performance
Written by: Diana Taylor
Published by: Duke University Press, 2016

According to Diana Taylor, the book ‘Performance’ analyses the practice across the fields of theatre, anthropology, visual arts, business, sports, politics, and science. The book considers
not just what performance is, but more importantly, what it does, what it allows us to see, to experience, and to theorize, and its complex relation to systems of power.
The book consists of nine chapters. The first three chapters, ‘Framing [Performance],’ ‘Performance Histories,’ and ‘Spect-Actors,’ provide an overview of definitions and commentary on performance; a historical survey of different kinds of performance art since the 1960s and 1970s; and a discussion of spectatorship through a broad range of theories (e.g.,Althusser, Boal, Brecht, Artaud, Rancière, Gallese, Azoulay, and Didi-Huberman), respectively. In the second part of the book, Chapter Four, ‘The New Uses of Performance,’ foregrounds the different approaches of embodied knowledge. Chapter Five discusses the terms/concepts of “performatives,” “performativity,” and “animatives,” drawing on the theories of Austin (the concept of “performative”) and Butler (the concept of “performativity”). Chapter Six, ‘Knowing through Performance: Scenarios and Simulation,’ discusses these as specific forms of knowledge within a performance. The final three chapters explore the question of performance as knowledge, epistemology and archive. Lastly, Chapter Seven, ‘Activists (ArtistActivist), or, What’s to Be Done?,’ explores performance as a continuation of politics through alternative means.

“Performance, however, is not limited to mimetic repetition. It also includes the possibility of change, critique, and creativity within frameworks of repetition. Diverse forms such as performance art, dance, and theatre, as well as sociopolitical and cultural practices such as sports, ritual, political protest, military parades, and funerals, all have reiterative elements that are reactualized in every new instantiation” (p.30).

Performance Written by- Diana Taylor