—volume 2, issue 2: exposure: the opaque star in performance

Editorial note: Of private moments, false promises, assiduity and the terrifying tease

Mariella Greil

Exposure and spectatorship are variables of an equation that is uneven, however both experiences persistently hold the potential for the revelatory – at times intimate or intimidating. This issue of activate aims to illumine contemporary performance practices assembled under the title Exposure: the opaque star in performance and explores an aperture towards exposure in body, text and performance in the plurality of possible approaches and understandings. The various articles follow an interest in an investigation of the qualities, intensities and ethics of revelatory practices, acutely aware that the act of baring is always a process, never a form.

Antje Hildebrandt’s article The Intimated Spectator: One to One encounters in BADco.’s Memories Are Made of This… discusses the work of the Croatian BADco. collective from her perspective as “chosen” spectator and remembers her affective responses and a peculiar responsibility while mapping out the emergence of ethical issues in this occasion of “intimated” spectating. She weaves an intricate narration of an encounter that made private moments and social codes tumble and fall.

Eirini Kartsaki interrelates physical exposure and exposure of ‘the traces of [a] false promise’ (using Rebecca Schneider’s terminology) in her article La Ribot: Revealing and Concealing Exposures… and thoughtfully weaves an argument that addresses rules of engagements, spectatorship and the impossibility of satisfaction as she questions conditions and dialectics of exposure in La Ribot’s “reverse striptease”. Kartsaki proposes a playfully performative account with the reader “in the land that is like you” (fragment from Baudelaire’s “Invitation to the Voyage” in Flowers of Evil) and reveals empathetic knowledges, as she invites the reader into an intimately experiential sphere of desire and deception.

Maria Lalou’s critical work with co-authors Katerina Drakopoulou and Maro Zacharogianni has the title PUZZLE seminar performance – the theatre of consciousness. The reflective text explores the exposure of language in visual form, speech, writing and revolves around exposure of perception, mirroring and the assiduity of the theatre stage that hosts “I” and “You”, simultaneously as performer and spectator.

Elena Koukoli reviews and revisits Still_Movil a project that took place in 2010 and 2011 between the London-based photographer Manuel Vason and the South American organization Red Sudamericana de Danza. She explores the idea of the image-event and raises the issue of time. Koukoli lucidly recognizes the multiple translation processes as holding the potential for a reorganisation, destabilisation or erasure of the symbol – transgressing its representational function – instead those negotiated collaborative processes are crucial for the choreographed still image to become an event of exposure, waiting to be (yet again) mobilized by the viewer.

Eleni Lorandou bases her argument on the fact that Hijikata openly exposed the body’s sexuated aspect in Kinjiki (Forbidden Colors, I959) considered the first Butoh piece. Lorandou explores the opacity of exposure as holding space for the chaotic and intangible potential in Ankoku Butoh (“The Dance of Utter Darkness”). She carefully elaborates the difference between an invitation to see the “real body” and the invitation to desire it. Her article moves through topoi of chaos, brutality, flesh, stigmas, anonymity and the body as at once sensate and sensible. She unravels an understanding of nudity rooted in “insignificance”, transcending materiality and narcissistic representation’s diffraction.

Molly Beth Seremet wrote a poetic text (etched on her bones) with the title Terrifying Tease: An essay ecdysis. Her creative and visceral encroachment into internal nudity celebrates ecdysiasm on the page, breeding diary-like entries with poetic, reflective passages of text and the lyrics of the Beatles song “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”.

Scotoma in the visual field are experimentations of gaps or blank spots. This dialogue between Irene Liverani and Victoria Gray is highly structured, still utterly unpredictable as the two meet in “an out-of-sync time, unfolding in parallel with the time that envelopes the encounter – without the two dimensions entering into collision” as Irene has written in email communication. BLIND DATES traces an exploration of a “blind” 1:1 encounter via internet.

And finally I invite the reader to peek through the opacity of language and expose oneself to the performance of a sparkling celestial body – the star of epiphany born from dark matter!




Vol. 2, Issue 2: Editorial Team: Annalaura Alifuoco, Mariella Greil (managing editor), Katerina Paramana, Eleftheria Rapti, Emily Sweeney


The Intimated Spectator: One to One encounters in BADco.’s Memories Are Made of This…
Antje Hildebrandt

La Ribot’s Panoramix: Revealing and Concealing Exposures
Eirini Kartsaki

PUZZLE seminar performance: the theatre of consciousness
Maria Lalou

Butoh: challenging the confines of the sensible
Eleni Lorandou

dancing still exposures, a re-view of the project Still_Movil
Elena Koukoli


Terrifying Tease: an essay ecdysis
Molly Beth Seremet

Irene Liverani & Victoria Gray


activate is a peer-reviewed electronic journal in the field of performance and creative research. Based in the Department of Drama, Theatre and Performance at University of Roehampton, London, it is run by postgraduates as a forum for postgraduate and postdoctoral scholars to publish their work. Each edition focuses on a specific theme and aims to include a range of new critical and performative practices in relation to it.

activate is a peer-reviewed e-journal in the field of performance and creative research, based in the Department of Drama, Theatre and Performance at University of Roehampton, London.