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Towards a Ludic Ecology: Popular Participatory Peripatetic Performance

Wilson, Robbie Zachariah (2018) Towards a Ludic Ecology: Popular Participatory Peripatetic Performance. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (KAR id:69349)

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Abstract

This practice-as-research project investigates the interrelations between performance, playfulness, and ecology, highlighting these as constituting an important nexus of study in the current ecological context. I explore ways of performatively facilitating ludic interactions between people and their environments, investigate what benefits might accrue from doing so, examine the structure and significance of these interactions, and consider the role of performance training in their facilitation. Conducting practice-as-research ‘in the wild’ (cf. Hutchins, 1995) provides a unique and valuable perspective from which to interrogate current and historical thinking regarding play. The rigorous supporting rationale provided suggests potential areas of impact and value for the practice beyond the performances themselves. The qualitative evidence presented supports my argument that ludic (playful) performance can positively recalibrate participants’ environmental attitudes and relations.

In order to conduct this practical inquiry, I reflexively develop an original methodology: Popular Participatory Peripatetic Performance, or 4P for short. I fully integrate playfulness into three replicable models of practice, derived from 4P, each employing a different modality of peripatetic performance. They are: Perplexpedition – an intervention in public space; Wandercast – an audio-walk podcast; and Spinstallation – a performance workshop. Each of these forms a dynamic and responsive live artwork, enacted and documented in numerous iterations, which allows for reflexive development of the models themselves as well as the overarching 4P methodology; each constitutes research process and outcome. My aim in devising this tripartite approach has been to achieve significant comprehensiveness and also to render the project accessible and attractive to as wide a variety of participants as possible, thereby maximising its validity and the generalisability of its findings.

Ecology is formulated here in line with Gregory Bateson’s “ecology of mind” ([1972] 2000: xxiii), which seeks a holistic understanding of living systems through the recognition of far-reaching patterns and formal regularities. This project builds upon Bateson’s notion that play constitutes one such pattern to develop the conceptual framework and practical approach that I term ludic ecology. I also employ James J. Gibson’s (1979) concept of affordance and draw on Baz Kershaw’s (2007) ecological approach to performance studies, using them interdependently to structure and support this project from both practical and theoretical perspectives.

This project contributes primarily to three fields: ecological performance, through an original methodology and modes of practice; practice-as-research, through a novel theoretical stance and documentation techniques; and play-studies, by refining a distinction between play and playfulness and elucidating their philosophical status. This writing aims to clarify these contributions and thus position the project as “praxis” not only as “theory imbricated within practice” (Nelson, 2013: 5), but also practice imbricated within theory.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Shaughnessy, Nicola
Thesis advisor: Vass-Rhee, Freya
Thesis advisor: May, Shaun
Uncontrolled keywords: Play Playfulness Play Theory Participatory Performance Ludic Ecology Popular Performance Live Art Participation Participatory Art Walking Art Audio Podcast Podcasts Ludicrous Humour Creativity Affordance Ludic Affordances Philosophy Eco-Philosophy Ecological Philosophy Ludic-Ecological Philosophy Ontology Epistemology Context Metacommunication System Systems Thinking Exemplification Exemplar Enaction Enactivism Intersubjectivity Intrasubjectivity Documentation Paradox Paradoxicality Logic Extra-Logical Sacred Environment LudicrousPilgrim Perplexpedition Wandercast Spinstallation PaR Practice as Research Practice based Research Practice Research Ludic Pedagogy Ecology of Mind Bateson Gibson Kershaw Huizinga Burghardt Bogost
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Arts
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2018 09:11 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2021 11:19 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/69349 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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