In my scientific productions (publications, papers, research projects, lessons, events/conferences I organised), which prevailing address marginal bodies, I suggest alternative modes of approaching corporealities, thereby dealing with problems that involve critical issues of academic investigation and methodology.
Over the past three years, I have deepened and developed studies on
- the rapport between explicit and implicit political expression in
- social protest, performativity and movement/stillness
- transcorporealities in performance
- bodies in dance, theatre, literature, photography and film
- bodies in live performance and in new media art
- the ailing bodies in butō dance during the era of pandemics
- the shift from bodies onstage to bodies onscreen (digitalised bodies) during the era of pandemics
Part of the trajectories traced in accomplished and ongoing research works are illustrated below:
1) Mishima Yukio e l’atto performativo: drammaturgie di un artista
A research on Mishima Yukio’s dramaturgical and artistic productions, his collaborations with the 1960s avant-garde including dance, theatre, photography and film
This project is curated in collaboration with Giovanni Azzaroni and Matteo Casari and consists of
a) the online conference “Preludio a Mishima Yukio e l’atto performativo: drammaturgie di un artista” (2020);
b) the International Symposium Mishima Yukio e l’atto performativo: drammaturgie di un artista (2021);
c) publication of the book Mishima Yukio e l’atto performativo: drammaturgie di un artista (Bologna: CLUEB 2022);
d) the performance, workshop and lecture demonstration Requiem Opera Omnia by Kasai Akira (postponed).
The aim is to place Mishima in one of his favorite areas, which is that of performance and corporeality. The goal of the project is to highlight the way Mishima conceives writing itself as a performative act, and the way his literary production is based on the awareness that his words precede his body.
2) Placing Protest and Corporeality in the 1960s
A study on corporeality, place, act (kōi) and protest in Japan’s 1960s avant-garde
The aim of this project is to highlight the alternative and influential thinking offered by Hijikata Tatsumi (founder of butō dance) in this revolutionary context and the incisive role played by the art of dance in framing the perception of corporeality, place and protest during the 1960s.
The political discourse underpinning Japan’s countercultural production in the field of visual and performing arts throughout the 1960s was intimately bound to corporeality, and more specifically, to the corporeality of the carnal body, the nikutai. Art practices unfolded in their transversal and intermedial facets and were configured as acts (kōi), while being more or less concentric to political actions of remonstration. In such a context, where art, dissent and corporeality interlace, a prevailing trope is that of place (basho). A reflection on protest defined in respect to corporeality and place, this study focuses on Hijikata Tatsumi’s butō within the performance practices that developed as a response to the socio-political crisis established by the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty. In particular, in this study reference is made to the still-unexplored debate articulated during the symposium Geijutsu no jōkyō (Situation of the arts) convened in November 1960.
3) Challenging Fe/male Bodies
This research project aims at investigating gender issues in ground-breaking modes of performance by focusing on the history of butō dance. Since its emergence in the late ’50s, butō has critically questioned heteronormativity through corporeal experimentations highlighting male homosexuality, androgyny and dislocated cross-dressing. At the same time, butō achieved a drastic challenge to notions of the body itself by resisting systems of knowledge. While queering forms of monolithic identity it erased the performer’s (human) identity, age, gender, nationality and social status, thereby pulverising residues of subjectivity. Nevertheless, female butō dancers began appearing onstage in the second half of the 1960s. One of the purposes of this project is to understand why only recently female artists, who reside and are active in Japan, do explicitly voice the urge to emancipate from a male-centred system, although their art has been challenging and denouncing since the beginning. Moreover, the project aims at observing, in a transcultural perspective, artistic practices of female performers, who reside outside Japan, as Kaseki Yūko, and whose works present readable dramaturgies entailing a counter-discourse in relation to their sexuality and their position occupied in society.
(Kaseki Yūko will perform at Teatro Ca’Foscari on March 24th and hold a workshop at CTR on March 25th 2022)
4) Corporealities Shifting from the 1960s to the 1970s
This investigation addresses the aesthetics and performance strategies developed during the 1960s, compared to the aesthetics developed during the 1970s, a transformation I define as the “shift from the nikutai-centred culture to the shintai-centred culture”.
It is based on primary sources from private collections (collection of literature, audio-visual material, books, pamphlets and notes regarding experimentations crossing dance, theatre, music and visual arts) that have not yet been acknowledged by official narrative, and on interviews, in order to give voice to silent aspects of the avant-garde and to its protagonists who are potentially relegated to oblivion.
5) Bodies in Japanese Language
This research offers an overview of the kaleidoscopic landscape and broad array of terminologies and signs defining the word “body” in Japanese language. The survey focuses in particular on the etymological and semantic explanations provided in selected monolingual dictionaries to display discrepancies among the same vocabularies seen as a reflection of the ambiguity and hybridity that affect corporeality itself. The aim of this study is to highlight the complex lexical system and its multi-layered readings, in which corporeality is embedded, a phenomenon that I interpret as an inverted tip of the iceberg that shows the centrality of corporeality in cultural production.
6) A research concerning modes of translation (from Japanese to foreign languages and vice versa) of synonyms that define the word “body” and of technical terms related to performance.