Performance art and the prosthetic

Gorodi, Suzie
Braddock, Chris
Gibbons, Andrew
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Doctor of Philosophy
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Auckland University of Technology

This PhD project explores questions of liveness, site, and locale through a performance and media arts practice belonging to prosthetic technologies. As such, the project investigates performance, and its encounter through video as inextricably bound up with a questioning of the “essence” of the prosthetic. From such a perspective, my project opens up debates about subject/object dichotomies, intentionality, and spectatorship, as a prosthetic life emerges to reveal a liveness that challenges our experience. In other words, prosthetic relations suggest that my existence already belongs with an entirety of world. From this standpoint: liveness can involve being taken by an uncanny revealing through fleeting moments in the constitution of a world that is prosthetics; site is a temporal place of my being; and locale is only locale through something I do that opens up intervals of space.

My art practice engages the prosthetic as a means of vision that resists the instrumental as cause that habitually falls away into forgetfulness. The exegesis employs Martin Heidegger’s The Question Concerning Technology, Being and Time, (and other texts), to explore how technē belongs with poiēsis as a primal bringing-forth of something in itself, and the making of something by means of a relationship to another. What is significant here is not that something is, or is not, a prosthetic (device), but what using it makes me think about the human condition. In short, I employ prosthetic relations (camera rigs, periscopes, projectors, harnesses and so forth), to uncover a time and place that might open our temporal being to a world by questioning a ground of understanding based on cause and effect. In this manner, my project suggests that our prosthetic relations carry a possibility of revealing a belonging with world through ways of questioning how we look and encounter the “essence” of technology.

Four chapters discuss my exploration of prosthetic relations from a diverse body of perspectives: through a “play of forces” brought forth by poiēsis and affect; the modes in which my founding mood or attunement is revealed through temporality; my meetings with self that expose a primordial homelessness belonging to the uncanny; and finally, how my “liveness” is revealed through a belonging to prosthetic relation.

Video installation , Prosthetic , Phenomenology , Performance art , Spectatorship , The uncanny , Liveness
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