Providing efficacious and exaggerated examples of life and death since the new millennium.
"To examine the causes of life, we must first have recourse to death."
Performance Thanatology is dedicated to the advancement of a higher histrionics brought on by inevitable finalities. Performance Thanatology was formed in 1999 to challenge the depreciation of Liveness in audiences and their performers alike.*
The work of the Performance Thanatologist is gone about with great fear. Fear of Death and all of its entropically related phenomena motivates the group to present themselves in an exhibition of interdisciplinary hysterics. With great fear we face the phenomenology of our questionable presence and the existentialism in our limited human capabilities.
Action becomes the exercise of Liveness; private isolated actions will not suffice, only actions observed in live performance. Therefore, the study is death, but the exercise is life. It is reminiscent of Bataille: "life is a negation of death. It condemns it and shuts it out."
We believe that existence does not consist merely of alive and dead, but of many levels of Liveness and Deathness. Our definition of Liveness – which differs slightly from the popular concept in theatre studies of the same name – is a provisional tautology: Liveness is the amount of embodied awareness of Liveness; a quality therefore not easily measured and thus far indistinctly defined. The definition of Deathness is similar, but it is ultimately the inversion of Liveness. Deathness is not death, and is more constant than loss. There is Deathness everywhere: when you say goodbye to someone, when you say sweet dreams, w hen you say if I could have only, new haircut, lose your keys, when this number is no longer in service… And when we say Deathness, we of course mean to say Liveness.
Exhibitionism is essential in affirming our existence, and by affirming our existence, we carry the responsibility of overly-conscious animals confused by our own irony, an irony so ironic it is dead serious.
Performance Thanatology is a collective of individuals whose endeavors of creative scholarship in the form of presentations, performances, and conceptual projects, either solo or as an ensemble, adds to a body of research for which there are no logical conclusions. The study of death and dying is truly the most intense study of life and living.
We are confused, we are scared, we are alive. We are all in this together.