Interconnection, Synchronicity and Consciousness in Improvised Performance Art Practices

Blacker, Denys (2018) Interconnection, Synchronicity and Consciousness in Improvised Performance Art Practices. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

Text (Doctoral thesis)
DENYS BLACKER thesis FINAL CORRECTIONS.pdf - Submitted Version

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This thesis focuses on a hitherto under-investigated area of performance art practice in which improvisation is explored as an intuitive, visceral form of knowing. The research brings to light the work of a selected group of artists who experience in their practices, the deep connections between the psychic and the physical realms of reality. They have recurrently described their inner performative experiences as intersensual, proprioceptive, telepathic, embodied and apprehensive, likening the body to an antenna or radar and as a transmitter and receiver of information. An innovative connection is drawn relating these artists to female spiritualists from the fin de siècle and to early research into parapsychology.

This intuitive and integral inquiry follows a hermeneutic approach, incorporating selfreflective and intuitive ways of knowing. This is underpinned by a trans-disciplinary theoretical discussion, linking ideas from new materialism with parapsychology, science, ecology and Buddhist and Daoist thought, in order to examine ways of knowing that lie below the cognitive threshold of consciousness. The research has also been primarily contextualised within a feminist framework that engages with the writings of Karen Barad, Lisa Blackman and Donna Haraway to articulate aspects of the political and ethical implications of evaluating sensed interconnectivity.

The central themes were explored in a series of interviews, workshops and residencies with the selected artists, and ensuing processes of critical reflection, that engaged with their work, my own solo performance art works, and those made with the research group Ocells al Cap. A training methodology, drawing on Eastern practices of self-transformation such as taijiquan and meditation, was developed parallel to the practice.

The findings of this investigation provide evidence that during improvisation performance artists frequently experience complex intercommunication abilities. I have termed this experiential perception ‘vincular mind’, describing that which joins or links, as a metaphor for the psychic bonds that make it possible to communicate beyond the limits of the cognitive senses. These findings suggest that individual consciousness and intention can be mobilized in ways that avoid hierarchical relationships of power, and in so doing, foster an ethics of response-ability. This research will be of value in the field of performance art as well as to other disciplines which might benefit from an improved relationship to instinctive and intuitive forms of knowing. It is my intention to contribute to emerging and vital discussions on interdependent world views that uphold reciprocity and cooperation as essential tools for confronting the unpredictability and violence of these times.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Telepathy, Con-sent, Vincular Mind, Mutual Dependency / Dependent Co-Arising, Wu-wei and not knowing
Subjects: W100 Fine Art
W600 Cinematics and Photography
W800 Imaginative Writing
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Arts
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2019 13:46
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2022 10:01

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