Performer, theatre director and researcher on Ethnography of Performance.
The Performative Flow: A new approach to Ritual and Contemporary Arts
What is a a performative act and how is it distinguished from other modes of action? In order to understand its specificity, a strict definition must be used: an extraordinary action, fully structured and motivated, which seeks a reaction from the performer himself or from others present in the same space-time. It is often characterized by the occurrence of flow (Csikszentmihalyi 1975) and limiarity (Van Gennep 1909; Turner 1969) and occurs rarely in everyday life, sometimes in aesthetic genres or sports, and often in the magic-religious ritual.
Grotowski identified in the ritual "objective" elements that exerted equal influence in different individuals, independently of their culture, and that provided the condition of flow and liminality.
The ethnography of the performance of the ritual of Teyyams (Kerala, South India) should allow to identify the existence of these "objective elements" in the processes of the "transformation" of the performers, as well as to draw conclusions that can be applied to a general theory of performance.