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Making Sense of Perception and Power in Participatory Perormance

Künstlerisches Lehramt

Joonas Lahtinen, Universitätsassistent im Fachbereich Kunst und Bildung am Institut für das künstlerische Lehramt der Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien, verteidigt seine aufführungsanalytische und epistemologische Doktorarbeit an der Universität Helsinki: Making Sense of Perception and Power in Participatory Perormance | Horizons of Change and Politics of the Sensible in Lois Weaver’s What Tammy Needs to Know , Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen’s Complaints Choir , and Claudia Bosse’s dominant powers. was also tun?

Die Doktorarbeit steht als PDF-Download unter diesem Link bereit:

Dr. Fintan Walsh (Reader in Theatre and Performance, Birkbeck, University of London)

Kustos (Prüfungsvorsitzende):
Prof. Hanna Korsberg (Theaterwissenschaft, Universität Helsinki)

Weitere Mitglieder der Prüfungskommission:
Prof. Kirsi Saarikangas (Kunstgeschichte, Universität Helsinki)
Prof. Arto Haapala (Ästhetik, Universität Helsinki)

Zoom-Link zur Defensio:

Meeting ID: 64 823 204 371

Password: 360360

Weitere Informationen:


This study discusses the transformative potential of contemporary participatory performance practice and the possibilities for locating and interrogating it through performance analysis that pays special attention to the dynamic of human perception. The writer suggests that the crucial ideological assumptions, power relations, as well as the processes of exclusion and inclusion of participatory projects, are not to be seen solely in their “goals” or “themes”, but, even more distinctly, in the modes of bodily participation that they employ. The study consists of a theoretical part and three case study analyses. In the theoretical part, the writer presents a novel analytical framework for addressing the ways in which artistic performances engage and affect their participants, and for understanding the culture-bound dynamic of perception, power, knowledge and the body both in participatory performance situations and in our everyday lives. Drawing especially on the views of human perception, power, and experience of Jacques Rancière, Marcel Mauss, and Michel Foucault, the main concepts of this framework are “sensory fields”, “experience fields” and “body techniques”. As for the verbalization of experiences through performance analysis, the framework draws on Joe Kelleher’s and Alan Read’s notions of “theatre images”. Based on the analytical framework, the writer locates and interrogates “politics of the sensible” i.e. modes of participation; underlying assumptions regarding the participants and the efficacy of the chosen participatory strategy; potential inclusions and exclusions; and horizons of change in Lois Weaver’s What Tammy Needs to Know (2006) and What Tammy Needs to Know about Getting Old and Having Sex (2008), the Complaints Choirs of Helsinki (2006), Singapore (2008) and Vienna (2010 –) based on the Complaints Choir project concept by Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen, and dominant powers. was also tun? (2011) by Claudia Bosse and her group, theatercombinat. This study also shows how all of these projects embody features of post-Fordist work and how they relate to the ethos of de-alienation in participatory art practice. Besides locating productive transformatory potential and tendencies in all of these performances, this study brings about critical perspectives and notions that have not been addressed in previous research on Weaver’s, Kalleinens’ and Bosse’s projects. The writer suggests that the analytical framework presented in this study provides new insights into perception, power and the body in performance theory and analysis, and may also offer productive inputs for artist-researchers, curators and art educators in planning and reflecting on their projects, and for scholars in areas such as epistemology, semiotics, and political science.