The Performative Device


Location: Canterbury


The Performative Device explored the idea of designing a ‘body-extension’ to support certain movement through space for a particular client (performer). Diagrammatic drawings and recordings of dancers and performers shows that, they as individuals expose themselves to the public. They move freely and use as much provided space as they need.


Taking Edward T. Hall’s personal space theory, working in a group of four, we created our device in a form of a sphere, to enclose and restrict the performer’s body movements. The idea of being able to move elements of the device was to provide an opportunity to escape for the performer. The performance showed the dancer trying to escape from his bubble of personal space. The device focused on restricting the upper torso of the body, to limit his arm and shoulder movement, in order to experiment and see how the performer would react to losing his freedom to move. We designed the device with an emotional factor. The performer was briefed to feel comfortable and reassured in his own space however to also express anxiety, whilst trying to escape, as if his personal space was being invaded. 


The final performance was held and recorded at University of Kent, Jarman Building on 17 January 2012, in collaboration with the performers of Showscope and Fisico.


Link to final performance

© 2020 by Samantha Li. All rights reserved.