Bodies without bodies

Melrose, Susan (2006) Bodies without bodies. In: Performance and Technology: Practices of Virtual Embodiment and Interactivity. Broadhurst, Susan Margaret and Machon, Josephine ORCID logoORCID:, eds. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, pp. 1-12. ISBN 9781403999078. [Book Section]


This chapter, which opens the collection of writing, asks how the term 'body' came to play so important a role in Performance Studies texts in the past decade, not least because the term 'the body', a saturated metaphor, can be found across the history of philosophy, where, on the basis of the time of its writing, what the term is understood to mean varies significantly. In arguing that from a practitioner perspective there is 'no such thing' as 'the body' (the term equally anonymises and deprofessionalises the work of named expert practitioners), the chapter also argues that the term as it used in writing about digital approaches to performance is a nonsense: 'the body', in digital performance contexts, is a surface-specific spatial construct which requires a particular investment (or investments) of time, if a user is to experience bodiness. 'The body', in the digital context, is a matter of hypotyposis - akin to no more than a 'vivid sketch'; it operates a performative trigger (or triggers), requiring extensive input (of body-knowledges) by a user if it is to achieve bodiness in a performance-meaningful sense. The chapter suggests that it is time that we said so.

Item Type: Book Section
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Performing Arts
A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Performing Arts > Dance group
A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Performing Arts > Theatre Arts group
Item ID: 722
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Depositing User: Repository team
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2008 16:58
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:12

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