Encountering the Body in Performance
Edited by Ranjana Dave
Improvised Futures: Encountering the Body in Performance (Volume 2 in the India Since the 90s series) returns to the embodied subject in performance, from dance to street theatre, from occupy movements and political agitations to reality television, from humans to bots. Such a body is marked by caste, gender and sexual orientation, branded, contaminated and stalked even as it is venerated by tradition and nationalism. Academic texts appear alongside writings by dancers, musicians, theatre and film practitioners, and montaged images of performance on stage, screen and street.
India Since the 90s (general editor: Ashish Rajadhyaksha) is a series of six titles exploring recent history from the standpoint of the present moment. As we face new and unprecedented phenomena in the twenty-first century, along with the new, there is also a ghostly re-evocation of things we have seen and done that relentlessly suggest that we may have been here before. Familiar forms and arguments become curiously prescient revealing new relevance. This series includes texts and images from diverse academic disciplines, curated and assembled by practitioners looking back to reconsider our past.
The volume, more bricolage than book, brings together a series of mostly pre-existing writings and visuals produced by some eminent names, and generates renewed conversations around the existing debates that swirl around the body and performance, and the body in performance. ... Remarkably, instead of a typical collection of academic essays and articles, what we have is an interspersion of theatre and documentary scripts, Rohit Vemula’s suicide note, first-person ruminations by performers, as well as theories and analyses. ... Divided into four sections, the book with its extensive annotations creatively illustrates the possibility of academic volumes becoming a space for engagement between theorists and practitioners. Together, the sections trace historical and philosophical contemplations about the body in performance, and its sociological and cultural fashioning.
Gita Jayaraj, The Hindu, 17 March 2022