Post-surface visuality: the development of a gaze over the performer's body, beyond the limits of the visible

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My doctoral research starts from my desire as an artist/researcher to explore the artistic, affective and ideological consequences, of using technology in theatre performance to show beyond the surface of the body of the performer. I suggest that technology allows for the existence of a post-surface visuality. In other words, a technology-based visual experience that enables the production of images of the body of the performer, beyond the limits of its surface. From here, I formulate two research questions: what strategies would I have to use, in line with my art practice and my approach to Practice as Research (PaR), to effectively allow my body and those of the spectators to interact under a post-surface visuality in performance?; and how can the development of a post-surface visuality in performance contribute to a better understanding of the way the gaze operates over the body? To answer my questions I use PaR, exploring different creative approaches to the post-surface. On a first research stage, I use high-power light sources trying to see through the surface of my body. On a second stage, I use a thermal camera to see beyond its surface (heat emanations, heat traces and bodily fluids). Each creative process led to the production of a performance presented to spectators: Under the Surface (2019) and I Remains (2019), respectively. Through an imbrication of theory and creative practice, I will propose definitions of the notions of gaze and body, and analyse how they affected and manifested in my work. Particularly, I will analyse the changes I experienced in my own body image when my gaze was directed at my own organism, and the transformations experienced in performance while exhibiting my body to others. I will suggest that in rehearsals, the use of the devices produced new body images centred around the materiality of my organism. In performance, on the other hand, the visibility offered by technology became the mean for a different type of convivial encounter (Dubatti). I have called this interaction, visual yielding. It is based in the production of novel imagery on stage and enabling spectators to exercise their right to look (Mirzoeff). In addition, I systematise the creative strategies that allowed me to effectively produce and research the post-surface. As a result of my creative practice, I affirm that the production of a post-surface visuality in performance allows not only for a deeper understanding of the gaze-body relation, but also for the activation of its transformative power.
Tesis (Doctor en Artes Mención Estudios y Prácticas Teatrales)--Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, 2022
Theatre's visuality, Theatre and the gaze, Body as locus of images, Body image, Practice as research