Peter Eckersall, Performativity and Event in 1960s Japan: City, Body, Memory (Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)

Karen Kartomi Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalShort ReviewOtherpeer-review


This book is compelling reading as it forges new pathways to thinking
about the past through contemporary performance and mega-events that
are filmed. The narrative is regularly peppered with fascinating detail
about bodily acts that facilitate remediation and audience immersion
(38–41) with Chapter Two devoted to the engaging topic of sensory
immersion. Through performance-based detail, the author brings to
the fore examples of ‘invisible’ history. Zero Jigen’s group performances,
repetitious and ritualistic in nature, aimed to transform ‘consciousness
through artistic actions rather than ideology’ (17–18). The Osaka Expo
’70, documented in a little-known film, Australian Colour Diary No. 26,
Expo ’70 [1970], portrays the interplay between politics, culture and the
arts as an example of liminal transformation that seeks to transform social
anxiety and unrest into a ‘positivist futurist (utopian) vision’ (121). At the
same time, the film discloses otherwise unseen experiences of physical
pain, alienation, boredom and exhaustion via images and gestures that
most often suggest a ‘sensorial, embodied experience of being in a grand
production line’ (130).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-261
Number of pages4
JournalAustralasian Drama Studies
Issue number66
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015

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