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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://bura.brunel.ac.uk/handle/2438/4492

Title: Photo-performance: A study of the performativity of butoh dance photography
Authors: Bieszczad-Roley, Karolina
Advisors: Edwards, B
Schiller, G
Keywords: Explicitation interview
Publication Date: 2010
Publisher: Brunel University School of Arts PhD Theses
Abstract: This thesis analyses the detailed performativity and the intuitive act of photographing the Japanese dance form Butoh. It argues that the photographer’s embodied experience constitutes an ‘inner’ performance and introduces new terms: the photo-performance and the photo-actor. The author argues that the photo-performance, similarly to Butoh dance, manifests itself not only in physically apparent (visually perceived) movements but also within the multi-modal pre-reflective consciousness of the reciprocal interaction between the photo-actor and a Butoh dancer.Butoh has been widely photographed since it began in 1959 in Japan. However studies formalising the relationship between dancers and photographers have been largely absent in academic research so far. Butoh photographers such as Nourit Masson-Sekine (1988, 2006, 2008) or Maja Sandberg (2003) suggest that their photographic act places them closer to the performers than the rest of the audience and, as a result, they become part of the dance itself. However, Butoh dancers including Yoshito Ohno (1938 - ) and Tatsumi Hijikata (1928 – 1986) amongst others, express their concerns as to whether photographs can capture the essence of their art. This thesis confronts the tensions between the fields of dance and photography by elucidating the performative dimension of dance photography.This thesis brings the qualities of the Butoh photographer’s performative act to the forefront by using interdisciplinary methods to attain an intersubjective knowledge of the nature of the photographer’s experience. The methods include: a practical research presented in a form of case studies of the photographic projects carried out by the author in London with various Butoh dancers; an analysis of the structure of the photographer’s subjective experience through the use of first-person methodologies (an explicitation interview); an analysis of theories of theatre represented by Tadeusz Kantor (1915 – 199) and Jerzy Grotowski (1933 – 1999) whose work helps to develop the notion of a performative body; and a description of the photo-performance aesthetic and the performative potential of photographic documents informed by cognitive phenomenology. This thesis argues that drawing attention to the performativity of Butoh photography would contribute greatly to the pedagogical aspects of photography and performing arts.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University.
URI: http://bura.brunel.ac.uk/handle/2438/4492
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