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Spectatorship as Embodied Practice

  • Toby Malone
  • Chris Jackman
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter applies Varela’s theory of enactive cognition as a means of describing the intuitive processes underlying our implicit awareness of the world. This theory suggests that the act of perception is always action mediated, and that the world is disclosed in terms of our ability to engage with it. Spectatorship is thus an emodied process, where one’s conceptual understanding of the play is recognised as an emergent property of immediate sense-making practices. This implicates artists and audiences alike in the adaptive process of “making fit”; conventional theatre-going may be understood as a process by which performers responsively orient the audience towards a domain of shared significance.

Keywords

Enactive cognition Perception Mirror neurons Sense-making Social interaction 

References

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  4. McConachie, Bruce. Engaging Audiences: A Cognitive Approach to Spectating in the Theatre. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.Google Scholar
  5. Millar, Mervyn. Personal Interview (Jackman and Malone via Skype). 2 July 2015 (2015b).Google Scholar
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  7. Piepenburg, Erik. “Show Must Go On, but Will the Phones Ever Turn Off?” The New York Times, 11 July 2015, C1.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Toby Malone
    • 1
  • Chris Jackman
    • 2
  1. 1.University of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  2. 2.Centennial CollegeTorontoCanada

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