Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts Honours
Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)
Faculty of Education & Arts
... catching the underground home from the performance. Alone ... tears streaming down my face ... but I feel warm, uplifted, acutely sensitive. I can't pinpoint exactly what part of the performance or what idea is particularly affecting me. There is a broadening in my screen of vision, an excitement in previously unnoticed detail... an older wisdom (Journal 2007). "Reality' is always, already encoded, it is never raw" (Fiske in Underwood.2003, p5). Codification negates abstraction or loss of information. "We do not live among and relate to physical objects and events. We live among and relate to systems of signs" (Underwood.2003.p3). If communication must always occur through coded systems does this means the viewers experience is therefore a lesser experience, or, can an artwork defy the inevitably reductive systems society builds for itself? Can codification be bypassed to create something that is raw, that "exists" for the viewer. My concern is for the medium of dance. Can the dance "exist" in such a way that the viewer experiences it as "reality"? Does the dance performance, with all its parts incorporated, have the capability to affect its audience in such a way that is at once ''wounding" and revelatory? Can dance rumble the history of a body? Roland Barthes states a Photograph(1) has the ability to ''wound" or "prick" him. This instinctual, almost physical response to a photograph is the factor which, for Barthes, defines the existence of the Photograph!. This phenomenon he names punctum and this is the main point of interest in his text Camera Lucida. With this notion of punctum Barthes offers that something that will cut across the maze of code systems and "wound" the viewer with a mnemonic experience of their own, individual "reality". I henceforth propose to pursue the existence of this punctum within the medium of dance. Through an exploration of the photographic medium, Barthes' Camera Lucida, and my own experience of the photographic punctum I hope to arrive at an understanding of the contributing factors, optimal conditions, and medium-specific traits that amount to the Photograph's puncta. These findings will then be combed through the medium of dance. Through a parallel process of analysis I intend to discover the element/s exclusive to dance that testifies to its "existence", to its essential feature or being-ness. (1) Photograph with capital "P" refers to photographs containing punctum.
Newton, R. (2007). Photography, dance and the concept of punctum. Retrieved from http://ro.ecu.edu.au/theses_hons/1307