Performance Research Seminar

Event Details

Performance Research Seminar

Time: February 15, 2012 from 4pm to 6pm
Location: Brunel University Drama Studio (GMT 16:oo)
City/Town: London, UK
Website or Map: http://people.brunel.ac.uk/da…
Event Type: lecture-seminar
Organized By: Johannes Birringer
Latest Activity: Feb 15, 2012

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Event Description

Wednesday February 22, 2012

4pm (GMT)  Drama Studio, Brunel University

Broderick D.V. Chow    (Brunel University)

Work and Shoot: a question of embodied politics, and wrestling.


Since Roland Barthes’ (1957) famous analysis of the ‘world of wrestling’, scholarly work on the field of professional wrestling has tended to focus on its visual semiotics, its relation to the national ‘myths’ of America, or its constructions of masculinity and femininity. My project, part of a larger investigation into the ‘body at work’, turns its attention to the physical practices of wrestling themselves by isolating one aspect of the form, ‘chain wrestling’, and exploring this practice in the studio as part of a broader dance and movement vocabulary. This paper will contextualise and theorise the in-progress findings of my practice-based enquiry, attending to the ethical and political implications of improvisatory movement involving close physical contact.

 

Professional wrestling distinguishes between two types of fighting: ‘work’ and ‘shoot.’ Worked fights emerged in the early 20th century as promoters discovered they were able to make more money by determining the outcome of matches in advance and presenting ever more spectacular moves. Within a series of accepted boundaries, wrestling ‘work’ sells a series of moves as real. However, deviation from the work, or ‘shoot’, is always a possibility between wrestlers, and with it the potential of real violence or injury. ‘Work’ might therefore be read in terms of a duty of care to the other, the need to protect one’s partner from violence. I will consider ‘work’ and ‘shoot’ in relation to Michel Foucault’s (1991) analysis of disciplinary power in which the body is power’s ‘object and target’, which provisionally allows us to read work between bodies as a practice of freedom. I call this embodied politics an ‘ethics of rowdy play.’ 


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