Posthuman Spiritualities in Contemporary Performance: Politics, Ecologies and Perceptions

Battista, Silvia (2018) Posthuman Spiritualities in Contemporary Performance: Politics, Ecologies and Perceptions. In: Posthuman Spiritualities in Contemporary Performance: Politics, Ecologies and Perceptions. Palgrave Macmillian, pp. 1-129. ISBN 978-3-319-89757-8 (Accepted for Publication)


Download (236kB) | Preview


This book provides an interpretative analysis of the notion of spirituality through the lens of contemporary performance and posthuman theories. The book examines five performance/artworks: The Artist is Present (2010) by Marina Abramović; The Deer Shelter Skyscape (2007) by James Turrell; CAT (1998) by Ansuman Biswas; Journey to the Lower World by Marcus Coates (2004); and the work with pollen by Wolfgang Laib. Through the analysis of these works the notion of spirituality is grounded in materiality and embodiment allowing the conceptual juxtaposition of spirit and matter to introduce the paradoxical as the guiding thread of the narrative of the book. Here, the human is interrogated and negotiated with/within a plurality of other living organisms, intangible existences and micro and macrocosmic ecologies. Silence, meditation, shamanic journeys, reciprocal gazing, restraint, and contemplation are analyzed as technologies used to manipulate perception and adventure into the multilayered condition of matter.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information and Comments: “Posthuman Spiritualities in Contemporary Performance combines Battista’s extensive experiential background in the spirituality of the numinous to examine the performance practices of Marina Abramovic, James Turrell, Ansuman Biswas, Marcus Coates and Wolfgang Laib. Each chapter is a journey in which the history of the artist is revealed in a spiritually-based practice and the art’s impact disclosed within the discursive frameworks of space, time, light, visual contact, etc. Readers will be inspired to reflect on the culturally derived boundaries that separate them from the non-human environment.” (Barbara Sellers-Young, Professor Emerita, York University, UK) “In this book, Silvia Battista demonstrates how the productive relationship (alchemy) between cultural performances and spiritual practices engenders a new materialist ontology. The notion of “introspective theatre” becomes paradigmatic of a philosophical, empirical and aesthetic structure that affords a contact with the numinous – the feeling-experience of the sacred, beyond the reach of conventional perceptual logics. The author lays out the performative technologies of exemplary artistic practices that impart the sense – and poetics – of immanence that is each work's metaphorical core. This publication represents a major contribution to both political agency and ecological consciousness; a milestone in contemporary scholarship in performance, religion, and spirituality.” (Katharina Pewny. Professor of Performance Studies, Ghent University, Belgium) “The spiritual impulse is present in most humans. Its institutional expressions, however, can become stale and in need of creative evolution. Silvia Battista’s new book proposes to pursue such an evolutionary renewal by offering a carefully chosen selection of the history and practice of the ‘sacred spaces’ of theatre. I welcome this fascinating, intellectually and spiritually broadening, study.” (Wendy Wheeler, Professor Emeritus of English Literature and Cultural Inquiry, London Metropolitan University, UK)
Keywords: Posthumanism, Performance Studies, Spirituality Marina Abramovic, Ansuman Biswas, Marcus Coates, Wolfgang Laib, James Turrell
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > School of Creative and Performing Arts
Depositing User: Silvia Battista
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2018 11:07
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2018 11:07

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item