Attention in Performance: Acting Lessons in Sensory Anthropology (Anthropological Studies of Creativity and Perception) (Paperback)
This book elucidates how learning from actors enables an intense education of attention for anthropologists. Actors perform the perception of sunshine, the sensation of pain, affects such as shock and emotions such as happiness; they act quarrels, erotic attraction, leadership and submission on stage. In order to achieve that, they undergo an education of attention, allowing them to develop skills that are also useful for anthropologists, particularly when doing research on phenomena that often elude academic procedures.
Drawing on her own acting experiences and ongoing research with actors from Africa and Europe, Cassis Kilian takes up Tim Ingold's manifold proposals to reconfigure anthropological research. She introduces approaches actors use to explore the complexity of human life and its bodily, sensual and emotional dimensions, which can be difficult for academics to grasp when examining topics such as everyday practices, traumatic experiences and power relations.
Though the book discerns pitfalls in anthropological research and suggests artistic approaches to overcome them, it values anthropology as a discipline whose radical self-reflexive approach allows for such experiments. Including exercises and practical approaches, this is valuable reading for scholars interested in anthropological methods, sensory anthropology, perception and materiality, and theatre anthropology.