theoria

Although the word theoria, from which the word ‘theory’ is derived, means ‘image’ or ‘contemplation’ in ancient Greek, it also means ‘journey’. As American classicist Andrea Wilson Nightinghale (2001) explains, theoria was a journey to a ‘destination away from one’s own city undertaken for the purpose of seeing as an eye-witness certain events and spectacles’ (20). Theoros was an envoy sent on a mission to gather and exchange information: to witness a religious festival, to represent one Greek city to another, or to broaden the traveller’s horizons. Regardless of whether their journey had a predominantly religious, political or personal function, the theoroi were required to report back on what they witnessed and experienced. This implies both performance and communication, and does not limit the practice of theorising to a passive reception of static images or their passive contemplation. Thinking in performance is thus simultaneously a communicational method and a way of making direct propositions. Instead of debating the possibility of eating or walking differently, performance substitutes action for debate. It presents a different way of eating or walking. In do doing, it makes the new way of eating or walking a temporary reality, which is to say that it re-structures, re-codes – or re-formats – the exiting reality.

– Natasha Lushetich, 2016. Interdisciplinary Performance. London: Palgrave, p.6

natashalushetich

Natasha’s website: natashalushetich.com

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