Cultural encounter and the body of the spectator

Joslin McKinney
Presentation for the joint meeting of OISTAT Performance Design and OISTAT Research 2013, Shanghai, China

In this presentation I will consider examples of scenographic spectacle in intercultural and intracultural contexts from the perspective of the spectator. In particular, I want to consider universalist tendencies of some intercultural performance which produce a bland, decentred and rather empty cultural experience and contrast that with a more nuanced experience of spectacle which troubles cultural homogeneity and opens up differences of cultural perspective.

I will draw on my own experiences as a spectator at Cirque du Soleil’s Ka (Las Vegas, USA, 2012) and at Royal de Luxe’s Sea Odyssey (Liverpool, UK, 2012) and I will focus on the spectator’s body as a site of reception and resistance. Using theories of embodied and spatial experience and concepts of spectacle, I will explore how visual spectacle might offer a meaningful exchange of differences and highlight the ways in which we are variously positioned in the world.

 

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Photos: "Sea Odyssey" by Royal de Luxe, performed in Liverpool, April 2012.