Geopoetics: A mindfulness (sati) site-specific performance practice
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
In autumn of 2010 the phenomenon of ‘Greek crisis’ was aggressively developed to a new experience of Greece. As a theatre practitioner from Athens, the specific historical time pushed me to question big-scale narratives of identity, home and belonging-ness. I relocated my training outdoors. My aim was to create a site-specific performance process that investigates place as a psychophysical experience and the ways through which it integrates with the cultural practices embedded in situ. The thesis builds around a Geographical/Buddhist framework where a cultural landscape epistemology outlined by Mitch Rose and John Wylie (2006) is realised through the practice of samatha vipashyana. The accounts of Rose and Wylie organise the examination of space as a body-landscape interrelationship. The Buddhist notion of mindfulness (sati) structures the investigation of the experience in space through theatre and dance disciplines in situ. The Buddhist concept of selflessness (anatta) permeates the performance practice in situ as a discipline of presence. Designated as Geopoetics, the practice of thesis applies meditation practices of breathing and walking to explore site through movement, feeling and activity. It further extends such a process via the disciplines of Somatics, Grotowski-based actor training and Dilley’s ‘dance.art.lab’. It employs the notions of ‘story’ from the Six Viewpoints system and ‘living myth’ of Anna Halprin to formulate a devising process of site-specific performance as an enactment of interrelationship between subject(s) and space. Geopoetics creates experiential containers within which the participant/ watcher is enabled to contemplate and re-examine her political, perceptual and emotional present. Based on its methodology of mindfulness (sati) notions of ‘identity’, ‘home’ and ‘sense of belonging’ are seen as individual or collective modes of attachment which altogether co-formulate the event of landscape. The practice of Geopoetics suggests an inquiry of place through the body for site-specific devisers and performers. It also relates to the discipline of architects, geographers and planners as a practice which investigates space’s contextual paradoxes and dynamics through the body.
The supplementary video files for this thesis will be uploaded shortly but will be embargoed due to legal restrictions
PhD in Performance Practice (Drama)