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Sunday March 17 | Session 13:15 - 14:45 (20 min)
De Brakke Grond | Rode Zaal

Paul Geary is a visiting lecturer at the University of Birmingham, De Montfort University and the University of Wolverhampton, following a four-year teaching fellowship in the Department of Drama and Theatre Arts at the University of Birmingham. His work focuses on the senses in performance, food and the restaurant, performance documentation and the intersections of performance and philosophy, especially the work of Martin Heidegger and Slavoj Žižek. He is a member of the project team for ‘Incubate- Propagate’, an AHRC-funded research network exploring alternative models for artist development in theatre and performance: https://incubate-propagate.com
In Michel Serres’ The Five Senses, he proposes a philosophy of confluence and intersection rather than abstraction, considering the knowledges of the senses and the body’s knowledge of itself. His discussion ranges across various sensory modes, including an interrogation of taste, sapience and knowledge and philosophical reflections on wine and drinking. He establishes the ground for a tension between aesthetics and anaesthesia and considers this in relation to wine drinking. In this paper, I begin with that tension and consider the aesthetic/anaesthetic in intoxication: the simultaneous confluence of enlivening and dulling the senses and the kind of knowledge that has the potential to produce. I focus on the knowledges of taste (sapidity) and the intersection of knowledges and experiences in confusion (‘To confuse means, first of all, to pour together, to conjoin several streams into one.’).

Serres asks why we commemorate the Last Supper yet only study Plato’s Symposium. Following this, I ground the discussion of the performances of knowledge, the senses and the body in Zuppa Theatre’s Pop-up Love Party: an immersive dining experience rendering of the Symposium.

Pop-up Love Party is used as a means of considering the mixture of various intoxications - of wine, food and philosophy - in performance; how it produces a kind of embodied knowledge by means of heady inebriation.

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