The paper explores performance and part-sculptural objects that result from performance via the histories and practices of sympathetic magic. Revealing the manners in which various rituals act to animate objects, I focus on notions of mimesis, similitude and contagion. British anthropologist Stanley J. Tambiah’s thinking on persuasive analogy in ritual performance draws a crucial link between J. L. Austin’s performative utterance and James George Frazer’s notion of sympathetic magic. Applied to contemporary debates on performance and ‘objects out of action’, these part objects act as partial ‘subjects’ that are unlocatable as trace (substitution) and contagious contact (liveness). What is lacking in the operations of sympathetic mimesis is precisely what ‘draws out’ the body/s of the audience. Put another way, redundancy is viewed as necessary to an efficacious or ethical practice. This paper will include my own recent performative/video and sound installations as well as exploring some Euro-American genealogies of performance/body art in relationship to contemporary art practices in New Zealand.
|Keywords:||Performance Art, Performance Documents, Sympathetic Magic, Action at a Distance, Persuasive Analogy, Linguistics|
Associate Professor, School of Art & Design, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand
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