Universiteit Leiden

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PhD project

Rehearsing the non-human- performance installation as a research tool

Considering the absence of the human performer within a performance installation, the research centres around what is left of the human through traces such as sound or recorded voices, images, videos or movement and gestures. What do we perceive as ‚present‘, once the human is removed from the centre of performance?

2021 - 2025
Irena Kukric

HfK Bremen

Erika Fischer Lichte states that the event of a theatrical performance cannot take place without a human delivering a performance and argues that a specific autopoetic feedback loop is created through the relation of the actor and the audience. Throughout my research I question what kind of transfer appears between the audience and the performance installation. I am interested in this dynamics between the presence of non-human objects and disembodied human traces on the one hand and the absence of the human actor on the other.

In my artistic practise, using kinetic objects, light and sound and relying on methods such as rehearsals from theatre or feedback-loops from Cybernetics, each of the performances is seen as a rehearsal and a starting point for the next one. In these evolving iterations, it will become apparent in what way I work with the traces of human presence and to what extent they might be present at all. As the space of a rehearsal can be considered a liminal space for trying out and experimenting, the process is seen as an ongoing experiment and research. In my work Starting Points, i began the practise with rehearsals considering the context and the location of each iteration. This inquiry is only possible through the practise and feedback from the audience, at times consisting of one person (myself during the prototyping phase in the studio) and at others of more (during an open event). The dynamic nature of a performance is relevant for this practice-based research as an evolving process that can inform both theory and practice.


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