- Reviewed by
Performance and Temporalisation: Time Happens is a new addition to Palgrave MacMillan's Performance Philosophy series, edited by Laura Cull, Alice Lagaay, and Freddie Rokem. The series includes monographs and collections of essays that explore the relationship between performance and philosophy, allowing for a wide range of understanding within each of those terms. Its expansion of performative modes and philosophical studies allows the series to address not only the philosophy of performance but also performance-as-philosophy and philosophy-as-performance. This collection of essays is divided into four parts, and in this way, the collection is able to explore comprehensively its central argument: that time is "not a given, natural, objective phenomenon, but a condition and product of processes of human activity" (1). The book takes a necessarily interdisciplinary approach, including writings from not just the expected theatrical artists, dancers, and visual artists but also a variety of performance-makers (broadly construed), including architects, poets, and critics. The collection is intentionally wide in scope, allowing it to become a work of "performance philosophy" that addresses the many iterations of and approaches to both performance and philosophy, plus the many combinations thereof.
Part I: World, Space, Place contains five essays that look at the ability of a physical place to affect the understanding of time. Jeff Malpas kicks the book off [End Page 336] with a deconstruction of the positionality of time and space in "Timing Space-Spacing Time." He breaks the philosophical argument into five major subarguments that peruse the points of layering and differentiation between temporality and spatiality and roots these explorations in philosophy and practical examples. "Situated Structures," by Amanda Yates and Gemma Loving-Hutchins, examines the performativity and temporality of architecture through the presentation of microarchitecture, as well as site- and time-specific pieces of architecture, as examples of how architecture can engage time and space. "Suspended Moments," by John Di Stefano and Dorita Hannah, works from Antonin Artaud's demand that theatre be a space of immediacy to investigate how real-life events can take the theatre from a place of artifice to a liminal space of change for the audience. In Ian Maxwell's "My Big Fat Greek Baptism," the reader is taken on an autoanthropological study of the transcendent quality of ritual in the Greek orthodox tradition, as different rituals lie on top of each other, creating a cultural palimpsest of community and meaning. And finally, "A Shared Meal," by Jeff Stewart, looks at meals as cross-sections of divinity within the everyday mundane.
Part II: Self, Movement, Body includes five essays that evaluate the role of movement and body in the performance of time. "The Crannies of the Present," by Brian Massumi, plumbs the murky depths of the cognitive gap between sensation and action, finding that the potentiality of action is directly tied to time and the subjectivity of experience. Jack Reynolds's "Time Out of Joint" presents the converse argument to Massumi's chapter; Reynolds engages Heidegger's triple layering of the temporal to argue that a poststructuralist understanding of the cognitive gap is an insufficient means of viewing that phenomena. Erin Manning ping-pongs the argument back to the poststructuralist side in "Three Propositions for a Movement of Thought" by proposing that the body is not a subject that moves but a movement in itself: The body begins in movement, is more than itself, and does not depend on an a priori intentional subject. Conversely, Lanei Rodemeyer, in "The Body in Time/Time in the Body," uses non-visual bodily activities to consciously situate and gender bodies in a fundamental structure. Maeva Veerapen's "A Moment of Creation" lives in the "moment of waiting" between two dance partners in an improvised social dance, reflecting that dance reveals the performance of time.
Part III: Image, Performance, Technology presents another five essays but moves more firmly into the realm of performance. Jodie McNeilly constructs her own method of analyzing the temporal in "Temporalising Digital Performance" by considering the limits and potential...