Date of Award

5-1-2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Speech Communication

First Advisor

Gingrich-Philbrook, Craig

Abstract

In this dissertation I explore the phenomenon that Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht calls "presence effects" as it is illuminated through encounters with performance art. In Chapter One I describe what is meant by materialities of communication and outline three heuristic features of materiality. In Chapter Two I define performance generally as a mode of action and performance art as a mode of encounter. Chapters Three, Four, and Five utilize the theoretical foundations established in Chapters One and Two to examine the work of three performance artists: Carey Young, Tim Miller and my own performance persona, Reddy the Robot. Finally, in Chapter Six I concretize the potential utility this dissertation may hold for readers interested in materiality, presence, and performance art. Ultimately I argue that tuning into presence effects (as present in performance art and otherwise) can help underscore the value of presence, rethink what limits mean, and highlight the irreducibility of the body.

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