An investigation into the relationship between the individual and the collective in emerging performance ensembles

Willett, JK 2016, An investigation into the relationship between the individual and the collective in emerging performance ensembles , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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This thesis proposes that an ensemble or community is perpetually shifting and changing, operating in the between of the subjectivities ‘I’ and ‘We’. It argues that the established ensemble does not assume a static entity, and that the notion of a fixed state of the community may not be as straightforward as often assumed. Positioned within a Practice as Research methodology, this thesis weaves together examples from a longitudinal study of an ensemble, within a closed and, subsequently, open laboratory, with the investigation into the degrees of participation between the ensemble members. This thesis entwines discourses of the ensemble and specific task-based practices, to investigate the individual movement towards, within and alongside the co-appearing of ensembles. This understanding of the collective ensemble is framed by the philosophy of ontology surrounding community as articulated by Jean-Luc Nancy (2000). This embodied practice, reveals new ways of articulating a phenomenology of ensemble practice, understood as a continuous state of fluidity between individual and collective states of being.

The thesis traces the emergence of an ensemble in a closed laboratory environment, placing the practice in dialogue with specific contemporary performance collectives, followed by an account of the laboratory in varying open environments. The research is presented both as a written thesis and as an online platform, which the reader is invited to explore alongside each other. These interactions establish the context, methodology, documentation and critical analysis of the Practice as Research investigation. The online platforms can be accessed by following the URLs in the footnotes. A complementary USB memory stick provides the option to watch highlights of the tasks and ensemble, offering a visual and auditory impression of the process.

This longitudinal study of an emerging performance ensemble aimed to demonstrate the between state of the individual and the collective as continually taking place. The formation of the ensemble supported participation and interaction, which revealed important implications such as the non-fixed entity of contemporary performance ensembles and the language of becoming when discussing ensembles and community.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media
Depositing User: J WILLETT
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2018 12:41
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 23:33

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