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Backtracks: a devised performance

Taylor, L. (2000) Backtracks: a devised performance. [Performance]

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Abstract/Summary

Backtracks aimed to investigate critical relationships between audio-visual technologies and live performance, emphasising technologies producing sound, contrasted with non-amplified bodily sound. Drawing on methodologies for studying avant garde theatre, live performance and the performing body, it was informed by work in critical and cultural theory by, for example, Steven Connor and Jonathan Rée, on the body's experience and interpretation of sound. The performance explored how shifting national boundaries, mobile workforces, complex family relationships, cultural pluralities and possibilities for bodily transformation have compelled a re-evaluation of what it means to feel 'at home' in modernity. Using montages of live and mediated images, disrupted narratives and sound, it evoked destablised identities which characterise contemporary lived experience, and enacted the displacement of certainties provided by family and nation, community and locality, body and selfhood. Homer's Odyssey framed the performance: elements could be traced in the mise-en-scène; in the physical presence of Athene, the narrator and Penelope weaving mementoes from the past into her loom; and in voice-overs from Homer's work. The performance drew on personal experiences and improvisations, structured around notions of journey. It presented incomplete narratives, memories, repressed anxieties and dreams through different combinations of sounds, music, mediated images, movement, voice and bodily sound. The theme of travel was intensified by performers carrying suitcases and umbrellas, by soundtracks incorporating travel effects, and by the distorted video images of forms of transport playing across 'screens' which proliferated across the space (sails, umbrellas, the loom, actors' bodies). The performance experimented with giving sound and silence performative dimensions, including presenting sound in visual and imagistic ways, for example by using signs from deaf sign language. Through-composed soundtracks of live and recorded song, music, voice-over, and noise exploited the viscerality of sound and disrupted cognitive interpretation by phenomenological, somatic experience, thereby displacing the impulse for closure/destination/home.

Item Type:Performance
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Film, Theatre & Television
ID Code:33184

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