Ecologies of Media, Ecologies of Mind: Authoring Embodiment through Mediaturgy

Christophe Collard

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingMeeting abstract (Book)


Despite being often heavily indebted to electronic mediation, the dramatic situation depicted in contemporary so-called ‘mediaturgical’ theatre productions is still, to a certain degree at the very least, performed ‘live’ on stage. If we additionally take into account its relatively stable requirements of an audience and a set duration, we could argue that the theatrical medium represents a heuristic platform to study associative thinking on behalf, precisely, of the stage functioning as interface facilitating co-presence across physical, technical, and referential boundaries.

Contemporary critical discourses, similarly, tend to consider the ‘live’ body in performance as a cultural and biological biotope – a construction site, as it were, for the assemblage of identity and consisting of multiple foundational layers of what Wolf-Dieter Ernst has termed ‘anthropological ballast’ (2012). From this perspective, in turn, the theatre can play an additional role as pivotal platform of signification due to the invitation it extends from performer to spectator to connect via conscious participation in a ‘live’ event. For, if accepted, the cognitive communion that ensues will remind all participants for the event’s entire duration of its disruptive constructedness (see also Rayner, 2002).

Furthermore, as recently demonstrated by N. Katherine Hayles, the kind of embodied cognition activated by ‘live’ performers in an intermedial setting “provides the basis for dynamic interactions with the tools it helps to bring into being” (2012). This paper will accordingly refer to dramaturge/director John Jesurun’s so-called “pieces in spaces” (1987) – i.e. stage plays where the live, the fictionalized, as well as the processes of mediation and authorship themselves all become blurred in an orgy of analogies across media, genres, and other types of referential frameworks – to highlight what anthropologist Bradd Shore calls our mind’s ecological inclination to fuse a boundless range of ostensibly unrelated impulses (1996).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication'Literature and Media Innovation'
Subtitle of host publicationA Twin Conference on Intermediality
PublisherVrije Universiteit Brussel, CLIC
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2016


  • ecology
  • performance
  • cognition
  • embodiment
  • theatre
  • john jesurun

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