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Technologies of Failure: Disembodied Performance in Transwar Japan

March 31, 2023 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm


Contemporary Japanese theater has challenged the conventional definition of performance as a co-present event between performers and audience. Through the use of technologies such as VR and motion capture, recent performances have disrupted the primacy of co-presence in theater. This talk revisits performances from the mid-Showa Period (1925-1989) in Japan by influential figures in Modern Japanese theater including Senda Koreya, Murayama Tomoyoshi, and Terayama Shuji. Nearly a century ago, these productions foreshadowed contemporary technological advancements and provide a historical context for our current moment’s techno-optimism. They utilized film, radio, and other technologies to create performances that wrestled with the mediating function of technology and the centrality of the body in performance. By examining these productions, this talk proposes a way beyond the dichotomy of liveness and mediation, leading to a deeper understanding of the relationship between technology and performance in contemporary theater.

Presented by UWM professor of Japanese Aragorn Quinn.



March 31, 2023
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
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