Self & Thing (Object Theatre)


the thing as itself

the thing as stand-in for another thing

the thing as stand-in for self or another

the familiar thing

the unrecognizable, strange thing

the voice(s) of the thing

Performing with objects as stand-in for self, other and the divine (energized by Jungian psychotherapist Marion Woodman’s phrase, “the numinous muffin”), explores performative relationship with inanimate objects. Readymades, natural and self-created things are used to investigate transformation, manipulation, transgression, puppetry and the culture of things. Notions of 'the real', identity and of theatrical convention are probed.

Objects including fake food, male and female figures, words, inanimate animals, objects from or representing the natural world, and other little things are provided to lubricate access to the creative unconscious. 

Related to Self & Thing is the field of Sandtray Therapy, a form developed by Dora Kalff in the mid-twentieth century, with exquisite parallels to Object Theatre. She writes: “The client (read: ‘artist’) is given the possibility, by means of figures and the arrangement of the sand in the area bounded by the sandbox (read: ‘performance area’, ‘horizontal proscenium’, or ‘stage’), to set up a world corresponding to his or her inner state. In this manner, through free, creative play, unconscious processes are made visible in a three-dimensional form and a pictorial world comparable to the dream experience.

In The Nature of Things: The Secret Life of Inanimate Objects, the biologist Lyall Watson discusses both the innate and absorbed energies of objects: “...’Things’, even those that are totally inorganic and undeniably inanimate, sometimes behave as though they were alive, on occasion even sentient.”