Chapter: Aesthetics of Connection in the Performance of Lived Experience

I am delighted to have published a chapter in the edited volume Imagining Windmills: Trust, Truth and the Unknown in the Arts Therapies published by Routledge (2022).

The chapter investigates the capacity of aesthetics in the performance of lived experience to create an ontological connection between the performer and the witnessing spectator. It suggests that aesthetics in performance contributes to the emergence of alternative knowing spaces whereby we are able to understand ourselves in relation to others as performers or witnessing spectators. It explores aesthetics as a relational process that enables access to unknown truths and the unveiling of unsuspected imaginaries.

This investigation of aesthetics in the performance of lived experience is based on the findings of a performance-as-research study that had as its object the production of meaning in autobiographical performance in dramatherapy. This research adopted a relational paradigm through which meaning in performance emerges from the dialogical and embodied relationship between the performer and the witnessing spectator. The findings of the research revealed how aesthetics operates as a regulating mechanism between different lived experiences to create possibilities for renewed awareness, knowledge and change. The paper offers a discussion of this particular aspect of aesthetics in the performance of lived experience by referring to audio-visual excerpts of the research.

Author: J. F. Jacques

expressive arts therapist, clinical supervisor, consultant, theatre director, performance maker, trainer