TaPRA Conference

  • Adam Alston (Participant)

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference


Participation and the Production of Affect in Ray Lee’s Cold Storage

This paper addresses the production of affect in Cold Storage (Battersea Arts Centre 2011), an immersive performance for an audience of one by Ray Lee. In particular, the production of fear – however irrational the production and experience of fear may seem in the theatre – will be addressed from the author’s own experience of the performance as ‘extorting’ participation, to borrow from Michael Fried. In this performance, single audience members were invited to be shut inside a box not much bigger than a human body. Having accepted the invitation, I was slowly ‘frozen’ as cold air was pumped into the box. The box was invested as an object of fear (unlike anxiety, fear has an object): an object which restricts movement due to both shivering as a consequence of the cold and the physical limits of the box. This ‘investment’ is both imaginative and creative; fear does not reside in the box, but appears through the imagining and projecting subject in relation to his or her context. Affect is participatory due to this kind of imaginative investment; nonetheless, affective participation is still extorted.
The extortion of participation will be approached in terms of possession and motivation, in the balance between a lack of control and the suppression of a phobic impulse. Coupling a relational approach to affect with studies of kinesthesia in contemporary dance research, this paper also acknowledges the threat of tyrannical participatory demands whilst locating how participation, particularly affective participation, still preserves the place of the personal.

TaPRA 2012, Kent
Period5 Sept 2012
Event typeConference
LocationManchester, United KingdomShow on map