Fellow 2010/11, 2012/13
Peter Eckersall is Associate Professor of Theatre Studies at the School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne. His research interests include contemporary Japanese theatre, culture, experimental performance and dramaturgy. His recent book publications include Theorising the Angura Space: avant-garde performance and politics in Japan 1960-2000 (Brill Academic, 2006) and Kawamura Takeshi’s Nippon Wars and Other Plays (Seagull Books 2011). He is co-author of the forthcoming Theatre in the Asia-Pacific: Regional Cultures in a Modern Global Context with Denise Varney, Barbara Hatley and Chris Hudson (London and NY: Palgrave, 2013). Peter is dramaturge for Not Yet It’s Difficult, a performance and media arts group based in Melbourne. He is co-convenor of the dramaturgy and performance studies working group for Performance Studies international.
The interweaving of ‘new dramaturgy’ (Kerkhoven) and new media has changed practices and ideas in performance and lies at the centre of an emergent new paradigm that we call new media dramaturgy or NMD. NMD calls for a different, interwoven approach to understanding composition and representation in performance and in the ways that these performances engage with aspects of politics, society, culture and ideas of belonging, of place and time as well as with the reality of intercultural, imbricated forms of globality.This project aims to examine the influence of new media technologies on contemporary performance and to explore how the synthesis of new dramaturgy and new media has changed the experience of live arts for the spectator. Building on work previously undertaken in my three-month residency at the centre in 2011, I aim to develop two components of this project: a study of the Japanese performance group Dumb Type, who are important to the development of aesthetic and political aspects of NMD, and a study of the pioneering new media performance works by Kris Verdonck and Marianne Van Kerkhoven (Belgium). With support from the centre, I will host an international symposium on Dumb Type, bringing artists and critics into a conversation about the legacy of the group, leading to a publication. I will also investigate NMD in contemporary practice in Japan and Europe.