Fabric Philosophy: The “Texture” of Theatricality and Performativity
Keywords:theatricality and performativity, Tim Ingold, Stephen C. Pepper, meshwork and network, metaphor, texture, weaving
As metaphors of human existence, the idioms of theatricality and performativity both fluctuate between values of novelty and normativity: theatricality, between the essence of an art form and a cultural value variously opposed or embraced, performativity, between doing and dissimulation. To revert from drawing too sharp boundaries, either between the two phenomena or between their cognate art forms and everyday life, the article pursues to analyse them in “textural” terms specifically inspired by Tim Ingold’s ecological anthropology and Stephen C. Pepper’s philosophical pragmatism from the 1940s. Where Ingold’s ecology of lines admits to “no insides or outsides,” “trailing loose ends in every direction,” Pepper’s “contextualistic world” of events admits “no top nor bottom” to its strands and textures. After introducing Ingold’s networks of connected objects and meshworks of interwoven lines as shorthand terms for specifically theatrical and performative textures, their various dynamics are considered in terms of absorption and abstraction: on a global scale – I briefly consider the Anthropos(c)ene as theatrum mundi – seeing all the world as a stage indeed depends on something of a theatrical inversion of its lines of becoming. From the tensions of novelty and normativity, noted above, what emerges is a fabric philosophy of weaving and zooming between overlapping textures: if the performative names a dramaturgy of becoming, then the theatrical provides an optic for its analysis.
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