Under the Influence of … Affective Performance

Zontou, Zoe (2018) Under the Influence of … Affective Performance. Performance Research, 22 (6). pp. 93-102.

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Abstract

This article aims to explore the complex relationship between applied performance, drugs and addiction. In particular, it attempts to conceive whether participation in applied performance can be addictive. Following up from previous research (Reynolds and Zontou, 2014, Zontou, 2012), it aims to critically interrogate the possibilities and challenges of working with people who have been ‘under the influence’ of alcohol and other drug dependency, the ‘addicts’, and are now in ‘recovery’. It poses the following question: Can applied performance make a positive impact on the participants’ lives? A corollary question: can someone become addicted to applied performance, subsequently what happens when the participants ‘need’ another fix but applied performance is not available? Drawing on addiction studies (Lewis 2015, Seddon 2010) and applied performance (Thompson 2009, Shaughnessy 2013), alongside Braidotti’s (2013) concept of posthuman as an affirmative and political figure; this article will suggest a definition of addiction that helps us move beyond its pathologisation and towards its recognition as an essential ingredient in contemporary cultural production. It suggests that applied performance can offer new ways of understanding the complex subjects that addicts are capable of becoming. In other words, understanding the recovering addict as a posthuman subject affords the addict more agency and autonomy than understanding them as the scapegoated and pathologized subject of contemporary culture. Performance provides addicts with opportunities to engage in an activity that rouses their desire to live, and provides moments of autonomy and personal freedom. These moments are capable of replacing their previous experiences of intoxication with something affirmative. This article, foregrounds Anita Ronell’s statement that ‘there is no culture without drug culture’ (2004: 96) by suggesting that there is no culture without recovering addicts, addicted to affective performance.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Performance Research on 27/2/18, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/https://doi.org/10.1080/13528165.2017.1412660
Keywords: addiction, performance, affect, posthuman
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > Drama,Dance and Performance Studies (up to 30th April 2018)
Depositing User: Zoe Zontou
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2018 10:34
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2018 10:37
URI: http://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/2401

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