performance studies

Positionality is Ancestral Karma

Two talks on the complex current discourse known as “positionality”, which basically means that the social roles and conditioned state we experience the world through determine how and what we can perceive and know. I propose that the practice of inquiry into positionality is both a foundation for the insight into the emptiness of the sense of self (anattā), and …

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Authentic Movement as Tandava

For many years, parallel with my training in Buddhism and Yoga, I practiced a contemporary contemplative discipline called Authentic Movement (AM). Developed by dancers and Jungian analysts in the 1970s, AM is rare in both its provenance as a contemplative art created and maintained almost entirely by women, and in its resistance to capitalism and the spiritual marketplace. Few people …

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Traces of a past life

[Putting the last few words and videos I have from my brightest years as a performance artist here. How tremendously far away they, this I, feel. Making it a “post” instead of a “page,” date-stamped, scroll-lost, faded even more. I almost just left it off the new site entirely, but this is better. A little midnight prayer as the new …

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Interview with Keith Hennessy about “Turbulence”

Keith Hennessy, interviewed by Sean Feit on 3/7/13 for UCD PFS newsletter. (A shortened version of this conversation is in our 2013 department newsletter. Here is the full conversation with minimal edits.) Sean Feit: What do you consider the main conceptual frame for Turbulence? Keith Hennessy: I try to stay away from any kind of central frame. I wanted it …

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Buddhist not-self meets poststructuralist subjectivity

Sadly, at a time when so much sophisticated cultural criticism by hip intellectuals from diverse locations extols a vision of cultural hybridity, border crossing, subjectivity constructed out of plurality, the vast majority of folks in this society still believe in a notion of identity that is rooted in a sense of essential traits and characteristics that are fixed and static. …

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Path and fruition in Buddhism and the arts

[An essay from my PhD exam process exploring a hypothetical parallel between practice-insight and rehearsal-performance.] Contemplative practice, framed by the various religions, is almost always represented as a Path — the changing of subjective experience from one state or understanding to another more wholesome one — that leads to a definite fruition. Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle, with its seven “mansions” …

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The Heart [of Art] Sutra (and a long commentary!)

Thus have I heard. Once an Artist was living in Vulture Cap Lofts, alongside a great community of craftspeople, aesthetes, deep listeners, critics, and granting organizations. She entered the samadhi known as All That Is Made Is Beautiful, and radiated a profound aesthetic satisfaction that inspired everyone [to be] present. Inspired, the theorist Audio-Visio-Kinesthesis exclaimed to her friend and student, …

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now the eyes of my eyes are opened

Our senses are so much a part of who we are that it’s nearly impossible to think of ourselves without them. We have sense organs, called “doors” in Buddhism because they admit information, or “sense-objects” — the “guests” in the Rumi poem, “This body is a guest house”. In the Buddhist tradition, thought and emotion — all the “formations” of …

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