Experiencing Liveness in Contemporary Performance : Interdisciplinary Perspectives book cover
1st Edition

Experiencing Liveness in Contemporary Performance
Interdisciplinary Perspectives

ISBN 9781138961593
Published October 31, 2016 by Routledge
320 Pages

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Book Description

This volume brings together dynamic perspectives on the concept of liveness in the performing arts, engaging with the live through the particular analytical focus of audiences and experience. The status and significance of the live in performance has become contested: perceived as variously as a marker of ontological difference, a promotional slogan, or a mystical evocation of cultural value. Moving beyond debates about the relationship between the live and the mediated, this collection considers what we can know and say about liveness in terms of processes of experiencing and processes of making. Drawing together contributions from theatre, music, dance, and performance art, it takes an interdisciplinary approach in asking not what liveness is, but how it matters and to whom.

The book invites readers to consider how liveness is produced through processes of audiencing - as spectators bring qualities of (a)liveness into being through the nature of their attention - and how it becomes materialized in acts of performance, acts of making, acts of archiving, and acts of remembering. Theoretical chapters and practice-based reflections explore liveness, eventness and nowness as key concepts in a range of topics such as affect, documentation, embodiment, fandom, and temporality, showing how the relationship between audience and event is rarely singular and more often malleable and multiple. With its focus on experiencing liveness, this collection will be of interest to disciplines including performance, audience and cultural studies, visual arts, cinema, and sound technologies.

Table of Contents


Introduction: Experiencing Liveness in Contemporary Performance

Matthew Reason and Anja Mølle Lindelof

Part 1: Audiencing

Section Introduction: Matthew Reason and Anja Mølle Lindelof


  1. Coming (a)live: A Prolegomenon to any Future Research on ‘Liveness’
  2. Martin Barker

  3. Orange Dogs and Memory Responses: Creativity in Spectating and Remembering
  4. Katja Hilevaara

  5. Fandom, Liveness and Technology at Tori Amos Music Concerts: Examining the Movement of Meaning within Social Media Use
  6. Lucy Bennett

  7. Social and Online Experiences: Shaping Live Listening Expectation in Classical Music
  8. Stephanie E. Pitts

  9. The Meaning of Lived Experience
  10. Paddy Scannell

  11. Affect and Experience

Matthew Reason


  1. Live Art, Death Threats: The Theatrical Antagonism of First Night
  2. Alexis Soloski

  3. Attention as a Tension: Affective Experience between Performer and Audience in the Live Encounter
  4. Victoria Gray

  5. Empathy and Resonant Relationships in Performance Art
  6. Lynn Lu

  7. Embodied Traces: Co-presence, Kinaesthesia and Bodily Inscription
  8. Imogene Newland

  9. An Experience of Becoming: Wearing a Tail and Alpine Walking
  10. Catherine Bagnall

  11. Sisters Academy: Radical Live Intervention into the Educational System
  12. Gry Worre Halberg

  13. One-to-One Performance: Who’s in Charge?
  14. Sarah Hogarth and Emma Bramley

  15. A Performatic Archive
  16. Kerrie Reading

  17. Theatre of Bone

Rebecca Schneider


Part 2: Materialising

Section Introduction: Matthew Reason and Anja Mølle Lindelof


  1. What is a Live Event?
  2. Gary Peters

  3. Improvising Music Experience: The Eternal Ex-temporisation of Music Made Live
  4. Steve Tromans

  5. The Place of Performance: A Critical Historiography on the Topos of Time
  6. Jonah Westerman

  7. Objectifying Liveness: Labour, Agency and the Body in the 11 Rooms Exhibition
  8. Lisa Newman

  9. Reconsidering Liveness in the Age of Digital Implication
  10. Eirini Nedelkopoulou

  11. Environmental Performance: Framing Time

Anja Mølle Lindelof, Ulrik Schmidt and Connie Svabo


  1. Three Performances: A Virtual (Musical) Improvisation
  2. Mathias Maschat and Christopher Williams  

  3. Chronography
  4. Craig Dworkin

  5. Memory, Time and Self: A Text Work based on a Conceptual Performance
  6. Paul Forte

  7. Broken Magic: The Liveness of Loudspeakers
  8. Dugal McKinnon

  9. Managing Live Audience Attention in the Age of Digital Mediation: The Good, The God and The Guillotine:
  10. Martin Blain

  11. Enlivened Serendipity
  12. Allen S. Weiss

  13. National Theatre Wales’s Coriolan/us: A ‘Live Film’
  14. Mike Pearson

  15. Machines in Queer Gardens: Performance as Mixed Surreality

Judd Morrissey and Mark Jeffery


So Close and Yet So Far Away: The Proxemics of Liveness

Philip Auslander

List of Contributors


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Matthew Reason is Professor of Theatre and Performance at York St John University, UK.

Anja Mølle Lindelof is Assistant Professor of Performance Design at Roskilde University, Denmark.