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The Precision of Meaning

Conference paper
Authors Cecilia Lagerström
Published in Transversality in Performance: Undiscovering processes from what the body knows. Doctoral Symposium, Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts, University of Gothenburg.
Publication year 2017
Published at Academy of Music and Drama
Language en
Keywords Complexity, ambiguity, performing arts research, acting, physical theatre
Subject categories Performing Arts


In our era of diagnoses and medications, suffering is rarely regarded as a natural part of life. Yet, we suffer. Distress and vulnerability permeate our everyday lives, in both a local and a global perspective. At the same time images of human suffering are spread daily. Other people’s distress has become commonplace in the contemporary global media flow. The images are often taken from a distance and lack the sufferer’s own voice. The performance Suffering, which we created this Spring, explored suffering and the imagery of suffering in our time. An important part of the process came to affect how we in the performance could reach beyond these images, and not just reproduce them. This has brought us further into issues related to polarization versus complexity. We have just started a process of deconstructing the performance, in order to look into these issues. What happens when we attempt to create complex images and ambiguous compositions on stage? How far can we take into account life’s multitude of nuances and paradoxes? Can we still make sense and communicate, have a stance? In this presentation we are looking closer at how we can engage in the world at a micro level, through the individual performer’s action. What happens to meaning creation when we do not bring forward a predetermined statement? Instead, the actor is moving from one readiness-for-action to another, where actions are constantly formed and transformed in close relation with the environment. The presentation was performed in collaboration with Michael Norlind, actor, director and movement pedagogue.

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