Abstract: Neither In The Body Nor In The Landscape - Anna Tzakou

Whereto: Anna Tzakou

Neither In The Body Nor In The Landscape: Walking As Contemplative Practice To Perform Narratives Of The Land
Anna Tzakou
PhD Candidate in Performance Practice/ Drama Department / University of Exeter

I am interested in the somatic stories inherently held by the land; nurturing the 'living myths' (Halprin, 1995) of self and other, home and belongingness. As a performance practitioner I have been investigating the landscape through the moving body to uncover its 'dream of presence' (Rose, 2006). As a theatre deviser I have been developing performance scores to create participatory experiences of the body-landscape togetherness. Walking is a practice which moves through the landscape and at the same time invites us to be moved by it. It formulates a suspended existential space which enables us to re-consider our experience, (or is it our agency) in situ.

Walking is as a threefold operation of the body-landscape interrelationship practice. According to the First Foundation of Mindfulness as taught by the Buddha in the Satipatthana Sutta, the practice of walking constitutes a contemplation of the body. By closely attending to the moving body, walking becomes a tool to examine the ways the 'I' formulates its experience while it crosses the space. Opening the instructed meditation, walking creates a physical container rooted in the body and a platform where the perceptual process onsite is amplified, suspended and enriched. Feelings, associations, images, memories and stories become present and available to be psychophysically explored and knit into a structured performance narrative. In this way walking is evolved into a dramaturgical device for the landscape's performance event.

This presentation is based on the experiential outcomes of the Geopoetics Project, a body-landscape performance research residency taken place on the Greek island of Nisyros (spring 2013). This work constitutes the main body of a doctoral research in performance practice. It affiliates cultural geography with Mahayanian Buddhism and practices the body-landscape interrelationship through movement and theatre disciplines with an interest to examine issues of identity, home and belongingness in contemporary Greece.

Anna Tzakou is a theater deviser, performer, and practitioner from Athens, Greece. She is interested in investigating the dynamics between space and body in and out of the urban environment, examining ways of non verbal communication and redefining the spiritual in the post-modern culture. Over the past 7 years she has participated and worked in site-specific performances, ensemble projects and festivals (Greek Festival, Onassis Cultural Center, Ancient Drama Festival of Athens, and Athens Biennale 3). For the past four year she has been devising landscape performances and facilitating workshops in rural environments in Greece. Anna received her MFA in Contemporary Performance from Naropa University. She is a Fulbright and Onassis scholar.

For more information: http://eprofile.exeter.ac.uk/annatzakou/