Still bodies: a disability-informed approach to stasis in theatre

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This research project approaches both questions from the perspective of disability as a complexly embodied phenomenon that provides an epistemological position from which to explore whether the theatrical event, considered as an instance of participatory sense-making bounded by embodied knowledge shared between actors and spectators, may support the participation of immobile bodies and in which ways. The methodological approach used in this project is rooted in complex embodiment and its related notion of misfit, that moment when we become aware that the harmonious flow of our experience is contingent on the dynamics between our bodies and the environments they inhabit. This project explores whether a body experiences misfit or not at any given moment, how those moments of misfit become an ongoing experience of disability, and how misfit provides a common point between disabled and nondisabled perspectives. This common point supports my explorations from the outsider location of a nondisabled person, in an attempt to develop a disability approach to research based on empathy. This approach is crystallised in a methodological loop where I locate myself on the outside, perform a series of actions to induce moments of misfit, analyse the resulting experience, reformulate the boundaries between inside and outside and start again. Through theoretical and practical work I have explored the relationship between misfit and movement trying to tease out ways to approach the theatrical event from immobility. Focusing on movement as a characteristic of living organisms, my work has examined its relationship with stillness and what seems to be a flexible boundary between them. Intuitively, what is regarded as stillness may well be considered movement when examined at a narrower scale. Likewise, movement may turn into stillness when the scale of examination shifts to a wider scale. As a result of this exploration, I will introduce the notion of ‘stasis’ as a perceptual threshold, in particular, the perceptual threshold where moving becomes not-moving, and I will propose several applications of stasis that may yield productive insights into theatre practice and the dynamics of the theatrical event in future research projects.
Tesis (Doctorado en Artes, Mención Estudios y Prácticas Teatrales)--Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2021
Práctica teatral desde la inmovilidad, Estasis en el teatro