Performing Temporalities: A Practice-based Pursuit of Time-specificity Drawing on the Philosophy of Henri Bergson and the Performances of Tehching Hsieh, Every House Has a Door, Janez Janša, Janez Janša and Janez Janša

Nikolas Wakefield

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This practice as research project explores relations between time and performance in order to clarify how theatre might be seen as inherently and specifically temporal. The guiding research question is how to perform temporality. To do so I pursue a time-specificity of performance. The specific temporalities performed here are the present, past and future. This project develops a time-based aesthetics of contemporary experimental western performance, and it will be of use to practitioners and theorists interested in the temporalities of performance. It offers time-specificity as a practical and theoretical framework of creative and critical concepts and practices for making and understanding performances of time.
In chapter one on the present I look to how duration might be performed. I look to the one year performances of Tehching Hsieh, Henri Bergson’s concept of duration in Time and Free Will and my own performance How Long a Thing Takes: an invitation to think duration. Ultimately this chapter finds that clock time as an organising principle can lead to a performance of duration. In chapter two I explore how the past can be performed through documents and memory. This chapter analyses Every House Has a Door’s 9 Beginnings, surveys literature on documenting performance, closely reads Henri Bergson’s Matter and Memory and documents my own performance 2: Untitled. Chapter two argues for a creative and critical approach to documenting performance in which the past returns differently to the present. Chapter three looks at performing the future, by turning to Henri Bergson’s Creative Evolution, my solo work Three and a name change performance project by three artists with the name Janez Janša. Chapter three thinks through the potentials of performance that are enabled by indeterminacy, to advocate evolutionary sense of time at work in performance and theatre.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Wiles, David, Supervisor
  • Worth, Libby, Advisor
Award date1 Dec 2016
Publication statusUnpublished - 2016

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