'Mimesis' was a Greek Idea. Body Images in Performing Arts in the Age of Globalization

: Mag. Dr. Daniela Pillgrab
Mitantragstellerin: Ao. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Monika Meister
Mitarbeiterin: Mag. Monique Ehmann
Laufzeit: 01.01.2012–31.12.2016
Fördergeber: FWF (Hertha Firnberg)


In the process of globalization, space and distance lose their significance, symbols are circulated worldwide, and international networks are created. Thanks to new possibilities in communication and transport, the limits of the consciously perceived world are surpassed and extended. Based on the thesis that these characteristics of globalization have a certain influence on the arts, it shall be the aim of this project to examine and analyze the effects within this process on the performing arts - and consequently on the emerging body images. Within three steps: (1) The Circulation of Symbols and Meanings, (2) The Terminology: From 'Theatre' to 'Performance' , (3) The Political Dimensions: Body Talks, I intend to discuss the following research questions: How did/does the process of globalization influence body images in performing arts? Is it appropriate to convey the term 'theatre'  - which is of Greek proveniance, is founded on the concept of 'mimesis', and has developed in a close relation to Greek/European philosophical traditions - in a transcultural context? Does ist make sense to replace it, in a globalized context, with the  (relatively young) term 'performance'? Can we argue that methods of transculturality have become a dominant aesthetic practice in a globalized world, which lead to new forms of perception and consequently provoke a new aesthetics? And finally: To what extent do body images, as presented in performances of Hawai'ian Butho dancer Lori Ohtani and Chinese performer Wen Hui, reflect a worldwide circulation of cultural  symbols and elements, visualize the loss of meaning of space and time and  do reveal - or talk about  - political issues?
These questions will be deconstructed and analyzed theoretically, and discussed on the basis of selected performances by Lori Ohtani and Wen Hui. Considering evalutaions of interrelations between aesthetical and political compontents, the objective is to provide an integrated profile of the effects of transculturality and globalization on body images in the performing arts. Eventually, I will develop a deliberate methodology for assessing the global and transcultural impacts on performing arts, taking into account both methods of different scientific disciplines (e. g. sociology, philosophy, theatre/dance theory, anthropology), and of different cultural (Chinese, European) provenience. These tools shall facilitate a non-centric manner of analyzing global, transcultural performance phenomena.

Bericht über das FWF-Projekt "Körperbilder in den Performativen Künsten im Zeitalter der Globalisierung" von Mag. Dr. Daniela Pillgrab. (Quelle: uni:view Magazin, 16. Jänner 2014.)