This essay draws upon the author’s performance script Fall and Walter Benjamin’s The Arcades Project as a provocation for considering the ways performance texts provide a threshold for somatic inquiry, and for recognizing the limits of scholarly analysis that does not take up performance-as-inquiry. Set at the Empire State Building, this essay embodies the connections and missed possibilities between strangers and intimates in the context of urban modern life. Fall’s protagonist is positioned within a landscape of capitalist exchange, but defies this matrix to offer instead a gift at the threshold of life/death, virtual/real, and love/loss. Through somatic inquiry and witnessing as threshold experiences, the protagonist (as Benjamin’s flaneur) moves through urban space and time, proving that both scholarship and performance remain irrevocably embodied, and as such invariably tethered to the visceral, the stranger, risk, and death.
Virtual Embodiment as/and the Threshold of Love
Anne Harris is Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education at Monash University, Australia, and works primarily in the areas of creativity, culture, diversity, and media. She is a native New Yorker and has worked professionally as a playwright, teaching artist, and journalist in the United States and Australia. She has published over 40 articles and three books in this area, and her latest book is The Creative Turn: Toward a New Aesthetic Imaginary (Sense, 2014). She is an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow in 2014–2016. Correspondence to: Anne Harris, Faculty of Education, Monash University, Building 902, 1st Floor, Clyde Road, Berwick, Victoria 3806 Australia. Email: email@example.com.
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Anne Harris; Virtual Embodiment as/and the Threshold of Love. Departures in Critical Qualitative Research 1 June 2014; 3 (2): 97–109. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/dcqr.2014.3.2.97
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