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Choreographies of the Curatorial: Performative trajectories for choreography and dance in the museum

Spies, S. (2020) Choreographies of the Curatorial: Performative trajectories for choreography and dance in the museum. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00104246


The thesis examines the emergent, recurrent and proliferating arc of curatorial frameworks that have prioritised and mined contemporary choreographic practice as content, process and research since the early 21st Century. The performative qualities of choreography and dance in the contemporary museum are extrapolated in relation to the expanded conceptual parameters of both the ‘choreographic’ and the ‘curatorial,’ alongside apparent ideological trajectories that account for the more dominant historical forces manifesting at present. These include concurrent and divergent developments between the historic conventions of the ‘black box’ and the ‘white cube’ as the privileged apparatus of choreography and curation respectively as well as the ideological inheritance of sexual difference that implicate and interpellate dancing and performing ‘rambunctious bodies’ in the historically sepulchral landscape of the art museum. Performativity is thus constructed as a central theoretical and methodological framework; firstly via its origins in J.L. Austin’s ‘reality-making’ linguistic effects in ‘How to Do Things with Words,’ secondly, in relation to Judith Butler’s discursive updation that conjoins Austinian performative language theory with Louis Althusser’s notion of ideological apparatus to capture the performative interpellation of gendered embodiment and subjectivity, and thirdly, via the paradigmatic expansion of performativity as both novel instrument of critical artistic practice from Dorothea von Hantelmann ‘How to Do Things with Art: The Meaning of Art’s Performativity’ and Barbara Bolt’s rendering of artistic research as performative per se. The practical component of the thesis, the curated performative event Precarious Assembly at the Whitworth Gallery in 2016, examines the application of the methodology by way of Austin’s distinct performative imperatives via the illocutionary utterance as the intentional curatorial ‘summons’ or ‘promise,’ and the perlocutionary effect as the choreographic-orientated event itself with unpredictable effects on participants and spectators in the locale of the Whitworth.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Richter, D.
Thesis/Report Department:Department of Art
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Art > Fine Art
ID Code:104246
Date on Title Page:September 2019


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