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Close Relations: Intersections of Intimacy in Interdisciplinary Performance (2015 – )

Key Participants:

Michael Caldwell (dancer/choreographer)
Eve Egoyan (pianist/composer)
Sherri Hay (visual/installation artist)
Bruce Barton (theatrical performance creator)
Pil Hansen (dramaturg/co-researcher)
Natalia Esling (co-researcher)
Nikki Cesare-Schotzko (outside eye)

This research-creation study, funded by Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, is the pilot stage of a large-scale, multi-year research-creation project. The current and envisioned scope of the project design represents a response to the research I have conducted over the past decade. Since 2007, in a substantial portion of my research activity, I have explored the potential for/in/of intimacy—between performers, between performers and audience members, and between audience members—in intermedial performance contexts (see Barton 2008, 2009, 2010). A central strategy in that exploration has been to consider the interrelationship between theatricality and performativity in these contexts and the strategies both performers and audience members utilize to navigate these dynamics.

The current project represents a distinct extension of this research trajectory in the following respects:

1) the adoption of specific aspects of contemporary affect theory as a framework for examining the relationships between interpretive and affective experience generated within performance contexts;

2) a shift in focus to performance contexts that utilize explicitly interdisciplinary practices – and which thus evoke explicitly interdisciplinary theoretical strategies of analysis;

3) the application of research-creation priorities and methodology as the bases of empirical data acquisition and analysis.

Ultimately, the global objective of the full research program is to establish an understanding of the affective experience of intimacy at the intersections of interdisciplinarity in live performance—one that is both theoretically robust and rich in creative utility. Specifically, the goals of this current stage of the research, building upon the foundation of my prior investigation into intermedial contexts, include the following:

1) a thorough review of the relevant scholarly/critical literature and creative practice with a focus on affective experience in interdisciplinary performance contexts;

2) the formulation of a robust interdisciplinary theoretical framework for the study of affective experience;

3) initial engagement with three artists from distinct disciplinary backgrounds in a preliminary “research-based practice” exploratory laboratory;

4) the formulation of a broadly informed yet practically focused interdisciplinary methodological framework and project design for the next stage of the research.