Dance with a Stranger: Torque Show’s Intimacy (2014) and the Experience of Vulnerability in Performance and Spectatorship
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This chapter investigates the meaning of vulnerability in relation to performance. It argues that performance as vulnerability/vulnerability as performance is a shifting dynamic rather than a simple binary. Utilising a single case study—the physical theatre work Intimacy by Michelle Ryan and Torqueshow—this chapter argues that performance itself can critique of such binaries because it asks the spectator to engage in the intimate sphere, always an intersubjective realm, not an either/or one of fixed identity positions. Extending the implications of both critical disability studies and care ethics, this chapter is a call for a poetics of vulnerability. It argues that vulnerability is an interruptive value, both socially (because it upsets the myth of the autonomous self) and aesthetically (since it opens up the closed aesthetic artefact); that it invites spectators’ complicity; that vulnerability reavows structural support; and that it places both fixed identity and fixed judgement in doubt.
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