Vittori G. 2015. Performing Shapes: Composing the Gap between Performer and Image. PhD Dissertation, Stanford University.
My dissertation is located within the field of performance phenomenology, with an emphasis on the practice of the performer. Examining the works of three contemporary artists in dance and theatre -- Claudia Contin Arlecchino, Virgilio Sieni, and Ann Carlson -- who make performance in conversation with visual arts, I focus on the phenomenon of the performer's gesture, or aesthetic movement, considering it as a bridge between performing arts and visual arts. By working on images, these artists establish a relationship between form and the act of perFORMing. The passage that I propose from the word performance to the word performing emphasizes the process of making as thinking -- that is, the role of the performer as the designer of her action and the perceiver of its processual phenomenon. Using images from distinct traditions to elaborate innovative techniques in acting and dancing, each of these artists presents a different approach to the image -- literal, structural, and reenacted -- and provides new methodologies for directing and choreography. Their practice, which I define as figural performing, constitutes an important subject of investigation for performance theory and phenomenology, for it locates the performer at the true center of thinking and making performance. Based on a formal use of the image, figural performing offers an alternative to methods of performing in dance and theatre based on the dramatic text or the body. My study's exploration of the figural builds on a minor lineage in need of further examination -- from commedia dell'arte and biomechanics, to Isadora Duncan and Oskar Schlemmer, to Happenings and action painting. By emphasizing gesture as a connection between performance and visual arts, my study also fosters an interdisciplinary analysis and historicization of performance.s. link to publication