The Virtual and the physical

A Phenomenological approach to Performance Research

Authored by: Susan Kozel

The Routledge Companion to Research in the Arts

Print publication date:  September  2010
Online publication date:  October  2010

Print ISBN: 9780415581691
eBook ISBN: 9780203841327
Adobe ISBN: 9781136897931


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Artistic research is a convergence of materialities; sometimes a clash, other times a smooth flow, occasionally it is as if different rhythms play in counterpoint pulling the researcher in different directions. Vision is material, as is the tactile engagement with objects; concepts have their own materiality, and movement provokes a dance of materiality and meaning. In contrast to many of the contributions to this book this chapter takes a kinaesthetic rather than a visual approach, addressing the convergence between the virtual and the physical in research in dance and movement improvisation. When working across bodies and digital technologies not only is the concept of knowledge restructured but, of necessity, our modes of perception and notions of materiality also shift. Further, the methodologies used need to be chosen in a way that is faithful to the research, and the voice and output may defy convention. This area of artistic research offers distinct challenges but is increasingly compelling as digital technologies become ever more ubiquitous, from tiny chips inserted in common objects to vast and interconnected networked applications impacting how we communicate, create and socialize. Perhaps the most contentious claim in this chapter is that research is a form of performance, but this is a by-product of the primary focus which is an application of phenomenological method to performance with technologies revealing an alternate construction of knowledge. What emerges is a reciprocity between models of knowledge and research practices: the practices point to different models of knowledge, and the models offer up refinements of the practice.

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