УДК 7.038.531 + 81.221.7
ANTON A. DENIKIN
GITR Film and Television School,
CRITICISM OF CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF THE PERFORMANCE THEORY BY ERIKA FISCHER-LICHTE
(on the example of participatory performances)
Abstract. The article attempts to critically analyze the performance theory created by the German scholar Erika Fischer-Lichte. The theory is applicable to some performative art practices, but nevertheless its key provisions do not fully meet the objectives, capabilities and the very specifics of participatory performance. Instead of such concepts as “strong presence”, “liveness”, “authenticity” and the idea of “energy exchange”, the author suggests to analyze participatory practices using the method of “choragraphic communication”, which is understood as individual and collective generation-test of the possible, constant reinvention of the action figurativeness, re-shaping of the participants’ physicality, co-joint transformation of meaning-making. Comparison of the performances by J. Ono and M. Abramovich allows us to distinguish the key differences between the two approaches to the analysis of participatory performance. It is anticipated that the effect of a performance is to provoke in every viewer an affective experience of the diversity of the undone, of the unmanifested, which, however, might become possible through the realization of one of its incarnations in a specific action. The peculiarity of performative involvement is that the processes, triggered by the actions of the performers and the responses of the participantsspectators, make accessible the affective test of the possible as being in potency. Using the works of the modern performance artist Tino Sehgal as an example, the author shows that spectator’s participation as a special communication instrument appeals to a different culture of knowledge transfer, which is based not on presentation, documentation and archiving, but on the situational self-configuration of autopoietic systems, on the living muscle “memory” of the participants, actualizing such phenomena as “bodily knowledge”, “morethan-human” perception and procedural assemblage. Participatory performances create conditions under which “random” and unexpected actions of participants turn out to be a condition for (self) recreation of the form of the assemblage machine through constant reincarnation of the invariants of the whole. Sehgal’s works reveal each participant-spectator as a kind of an “actant machine” capable of reconfiguring the entire system by their actions, and offer an interface for realizing the possibilities of “electracy communication”. At the same time, the processes of joint reconfiguration themselves become available to the affective experience of each of the participants. They make the assemblage machine generate its own “proto-subjectivity”; and, probably, it is in the individual perception of each participant and in the experience of the stages of its formation where the aesthetics of participatory action may lie.
Keywords: participatory performance, presence, participation, machine assemblage, affective test, action figurativeness, “more-than-human” perception, electracy communication