Ghosts and Machines

Since the Efficiency post I have read a lot and written a fair chunk too. No, I haven’t read quite in the manner I said I would, but I have found that starting at one of the three points has naturally lead me into the others as I try to make sense of it all.

Yesterday I was distracted by a few theorists talking about ghosts. It started with Jane Goodall, which reminded me of Larissa (and in turn, my own writing) and pushed me into Christian Licoppe before landing on the “Ghost in the Machine” refutation of “I think therefore I am”.

This train of thought pushed my etymological buttons and I found a clever way to “prove” that there is no distinction between a theatre, a ghost and a machine. Isn’t the English language wonderful?

Regardless, that little exercise might seem pointless to many of you, but for me it was incredibly fruitful. It took me on a meander through not just how I work, but why I work – and where I might go from here.

I am a performing artist and a scholar, and neither of those “hats” need be exclusive, or even parallel. Artists create new things all the time just as scholars seeks the novel. The thing that really struck me is my why – I like doing new things. The how for me is by being as cheeky as I can be without being downright offensive, or if I must offend in the moment to illicit a response overall, it becomes about leaving my audience with a question (or several) to mull over when they’re done experiencing my output. Ideally, this results in some sort of ongoing dialogue that prompts me to ask further questions of my own – and the cycle continues.

So theatre/performance is my machine and I am the ghost within, popping up unexpectedly or hovering around feeding on the responses generated within the machine. Alternately, I am the machine, haunted by the ghosts of performance past and churning out material that might fuel further developments and experience.

Or both. The reality of it is that the two are one – and this particular ghost will be forever be haunting a machine near you…


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