MPhil

Title: Close Encounters: Issues Arising in One-to-One Performance
Author: Michael David Jones
Award: Master of Philosophy (Drama) in the Faculty of Arts
Supervisor: Professor Simon Jones
Date Awarded:  September 2010
Awarding Body: The University of Bristol

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ABSTRACT
In this dissertation I present my proposal that Bert States’ ‘binocular vision’ of semiotics and phenomenology may be a useful strategy for the analysis of live performance, but that it is insufficient for application to One-to-One Performance. In the One-to-One, one audience member meets with one performer to witness a performed act or to carry out a collaborative action. These encounters may be repeated a number of times with different audience members, although always with only one audience member at any time.

The One-to-One format carries with it a specific set of implications not found in other forms of performance work. It often asks an intense and physically close encounter between artist and audience member, which disallows the objective disconnect possible when watching a more conventional play or performance. For this reason I present the Haptic Criticism of Laura Marks as a strategy for the negotiation and analysis of the One-to-One. Marks proposes Haptic Criticism as an integrated theory of looking that takes into account a more embodied and emotional application of semiotics and phenomenology to artwork. I suggest that Haptic Criticism may provide a more suitable strategy for theorising the merging of these competing methodologies that takes into account the more embodied nature of One-to-One Performance.

At the time of writing the number of artists making One-to-One performances in the UK appears to be rising. In this thesis I offer insight into One-to-One performance from my perspective as a practitioner making One-to-One performances and also as an audience of the performances of others. The dissertation takes into account a range of issues pertinent to the One-to-One which include Therapy, Confession, Emotional Disclosure, Trust, Risk, Intimacy, Structure, Etiquette, Repetition, Reality and Authenticity. Due to the range of issues covered the writing also takes into account a number of methodological sources, such as Queer Theory and the writings of Baudrillard on Simulacra.

This dissertation presents a dialogue between performance methodology and the author’s own Live Art practice and for this reason a DVD containing documentary extracts of this performance practice is included with the writing. (Not included on website)

Pony Goes Down Under

Unstabled Director Mike Pony is delighted to have received an Arts Council England International Development Fund Award to undertake a production research trip to Australia.

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Mike is currently down under, taking part in producer residencies with Proximity Festival (Perth) and Performance Space (Sydney). He is working with the host festivals to meet Australian artists and producers, develop his thinking around the development of a new Bristol based festival and to strategise a supportive and sustainable model for mentoring, developing and refining new work before it is presented in the festival.

Mike is keen to meet Australian artists, collectives, festivals, venues and producers. He is particularly interested in developing models for supporting new/emergent performance, along with discovering Australian artists who work in performance, music and creative technology. Mike has a keen interest in the presence of the body in art; a sense of liveness is a key factor in the work that he seeks to programme in the festival.

Whilst in Perth, Mike is working with Proximity Festival on their on opening event Party For 1 before he travels to Sydney (1st to 15th Nov) and Melbourne (15th to 30th Nov).