Blue Sky Body

Blue Sky Body:
Thresholds for Embodied Research

Ben Spatz
© 2020
306 pages

Available from Routledge Press

Blue Sky Body: Thresholds for Embodied Research is the follow-up to Ben Spatz’s 2015 book What a Body Can Do, charting a course through more than twenty years of embodied, artistic, and scholarly research.

Emerging from the confluence of theory and practice, this book combines full-length critical essays with a kaleidoscopic selection of fragments from journal entries, performance texts, and other unpublished materials to offer a series of entry points organized by seven keywords: city, song, movement, theater, sex, document, politics. Brimming with thoughtful and sometimes provocative takes on embodiment, technology, decoloniality, the university, and the politics of knowledge, the work shared here models the integration of artistic and embodied research with critical thought, opening new avenues for transformative action and experimentation.

Invaluable to scholars and practitioners working through and beyond performance, Blue Sky Body is both an unconventional introduction to embodied research and a methodological intervention at the edges of contemporary theory.

“Spatz’s first book, What A Body Can Do, was immensely helpful to me as an ethnographer in providing a vocabulary and conceptual framework to name and honor the hidden abodes of clandestine knowledges and the resistant performatives of local embodied practices. This book will be no less influential as an example of performative writing, offering another level in the discovery of “what a body can do” as first affordance, as well as showing how pedagogy can instigate threshold crossings, all in service of ethics and politics.”

—From the Foreword by D. Soyini Madison

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Foreword by D. Soyini Madison

Preface: Blue Sky Body

Acknowledgments

THRESHOLDS

1. CITY
Sky Gold (1995)
The Electronic Heart (2001)
Vermilion’s Text (2001-2003)
Another City (2009)
Embodiment as First Affordance (2017)

2. SONG
Sweat (2003)
Vessels (2008)
Burning Up (2009)
Topology of Song (2015)
Colors Like Knives (2017)

3. MOVEMENT
First Showing (2000)
The Door is Open (2004)
Letters to an Empty Room (2008)
Irregular Rhythms (2014)
Choreography as Research (2017)

4. THEATER
Wild Spirit (1999)
Acts Without Organs (2008)
Beckett’s Non-Theater (2011)
PLAYWAR (2012)
A Thousand Tiny Viewpoints (2020)

5. SEX
the desert (2003)
Pornography and Trauma (2009)
Is Grotowski Queer? (2013)
soft butch (2018)
This Extraordinary Power (2010)

6. DOCUMENT
Citing Musicality (2013)
Ethics of the Scribble (2016)
What Do We Document? (2017)
Criteria for Assessment (2017)
The Video Way of Thinking (2018)

7. POLITICS
neverland (2002)
A Charismatic Moment (2009)
Touching Landscape (2016)
Duration and Kinship (2018)
Notes for Decolonizing Embodiment (2019)

APPENDIX
Interview: Iben Nagel Rasmussen (2018)
Interview: Tim Ingold (2019)
Performance Text: Rite of the Butcher (2013)