On the Border of Participation: Spectatorship and the ‘Interactive Rituals’ of Guillermo Gómez-Peña and La Pocha Nostra
As the popularity of audience participation in contemporary perform- ance continues to rise, this article examines the extraordinary form of spectator- ship found in the work of Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s performance group La Pocha Nostra. The essay draws on the insights I have gained of their practice as both a spectator and collaborator, and how these experiences converge with critical concepts on participation, borderlines, and the emancipated spectator as outlined in Jacques Rancière’s writing. A primary concern is to investigate the way that participation invites a reconsideration of the borders between performer and spectator. This is explored with reference to theories regarding those that do and those that do not participate, and how this establishes a hierarchy amongst spectators, which includes what I call ‘expert participant-spectators’. I also offer an analogy between a participatory performance encounter and a one-night stand social encounter as a way of unravelling the mixed emotions that can follow a participatory experience, while taking into account the paradox of participation – the phenomenology of being both participant and spectator at the same time, and how this complicates reflection. The article determines that, although audience participation may collapse and re-orientate borders, participation yields its own limitations, as fresh borders are drawn up.
Citation : Jordan, K. (2016) On the Border of Participation: Spectatorship and the Interactive Rituals of Guillermo Gómez-Peña and La Pocha Nostra. Journal of Contemporary Drama in English, 4 (1), pp. 104-118
ISSN : 2195-0164
Research Group : Drama Research Group
Research Institute : Institute of Drama, Dance and Performance Studies
Peer Reviewed : Yes
- School of Arts