The pain was severe now. He had to get peace and rest. He had fallen in the bathroom that morning. Now things were going fast. They could not move on him. He would die soon. When is soon?

He had to have a peaceful death.

“I am not going to cry,” I said.

He will have peace and rest without me standing over him and covering him with my tears. After all, it is not about my tears.

11th of May 2016 Daniel died.

In this blog post I present the first Podcast performance or audio story in the project:

Mimesis in crisis – the storyteller in representation and presentation – research from the inside

The project intends to create, in the first instance, 3 storytelling performances for the Podcast medium, where the aim is to look at the aesthetic tools needed to create a holistic artistic experience when the listener is not present in time and space.

According to “det store norske leksikon», podcasts are:

edited audio programs distributed on the Internet. Podcasting is characterized by the listener, through subscription services, downloading the programs to the smartphone, tablet or the like to listen to them when appropriate. Podcasting technology also includes video file distribution, but podcasts are used almost exclusively for audio. (Fjellro, 2019)

The meaning of the word comes from:

«English podcasting. The word is composed by pod (which originated from Apple’s music player iPod, where pod means portable on demand), and broadcast. (Fjellro, 2019) »

Oral storytelling is a living, contextualized and situational event influenced by those present (Lwin, 2010). Soe Marlar Lwin calls it “formal storytelling” to distinguish it from other oral activities (Lwin S. M., 2020). Formal storytelling is performed by an educated or professional storyteller for an audience who knows they are coming to a storytelling performance (Lwin S. M., 2020). The storyteller’s artistic identity is strongly linked to this present event (Sobol, 1999). Hans Ulrich Gumbrect emphasizes the importance of presence at a time when knowledge is interpretative (Gumbrecht, 2004). Gumbrecht operates with the concept of “presence” in the sense of having a spatial relationship with the world and its objects. This presence creates intense moments that correspond to Maurice Merleau – Ponty’s concept of “the flesh” which can be understood as the living body, as opposed to the objective, that is, the body that looks, feels, tastes and the like (Merleau – Ponty, 1968, p. 54 ). In the face of an aesthetic experience, a tension arises, a fluctuation between presence and meaning (Gumbrecht, 2004, p. 110) and this presence is regarded as a new philosophical paradigm (Kleinberg, 2013, p. 11). Furthermore, storytellers in Europe today have created a livelihood through international tours and festivals (Carmelo, Dahlsveen, Gerard, Mørch, & Patrix, 2018). With the corona crisis, a paradigm shift is assumed, which may lead to a redefinition of the storyteller’s artistic identity as a traveling and “situated” artist. This leads to the question:

What challenges, concerns, and tools require the presence of mimesis when transporting oral storytelling to digital platforms?

In oral storytelling, a distinction between diegesis and mimesis is made (Carmelo, 2016), simplified one can say that diegesis is the content of the story, while mimesis is the approach one uses to enliven the content. Transportation refers to Richard Schechner’s concepts transformed and transported (Schechner, 1981), where it is about moving listeners from one landscape to another and back again.

This is an artistic research in which the process from planning to implementation is developed and explored through a method-developing practice aimed at a digital medium. Ten performances will be planned and implemented, organized and disseminated through Podcast where the storyteller’s aesthetic tools are re-articulated and tested through a medium that does not take place here and now, and which does not become a “radio theater” or a “talk podcast”.

The concept is also based on “paper performance” and “performance lecture”, a genre that dates back to the 1960s with roots in performing and conceptual art. The hybrid form extends beyond the arts and academia where you convey on multiple levels by juxtaposing and contrasting the material “to explore the relationship between consensus and facts. Today, the form has often been given the slang word “anti – TED talk”.

In this project there will be traditional and autobiographical stories in combination with theory. The two main theory work will be Frances Yates – Ars Memoria and Paul Ricoeur – On time and narrative – Volume 1.

The analysis tool is an overview of aesthetic instruments, among other things shaped by Lwin (Lwin S. M., 2020). Initially, this is divided into three main categories: the verbal, the vocal, and the gesture, these again being divided into subcategories – where there is a distinction between diegesis and mimesis.

Each performance has a length of approx. twenty to thirty minutes and a specific theme that is elucidated through traditional material, theory, autobiographical material and contemporary issues. Aesthetic instruments such as rhythm, alliteration, repetition (and other frequencies), speed, perspective and the like, as well as various forms of communicative functions like comments and direct inquiries will be tried out. It will also be tested how the physical gesture can be replaced by sounds and words. The dramaturgical composition will vary depending on the material, but some of the premises are violations towards the linear structure to create a transport between different spaces and landscapes (such as the storytelling landscape and the space in which you actually are) and the concept of Rasa / Bhava.

When each performance is complete, ten dedicated listeners will listen through and provide feedback in the form of a questionnaire in which listeners respond anonymously. This indicates how the project can be further developed. Two versions of each performance are created – one in English and one in Norwegian.

Each performance is contextualized through a blog post describing methods and tools, as well as outlining of the basic traditional material (can be found here: https://www.fortellerkunstner.no).

The documentation will consist of field diary, pictures and screenshot. The number of listeners is logged and comments are anonymized and transcribed. This forms the data material for the textual reflection / article afterwards, in addition to a teaching practice.

In this project I cooperate with British dramaturg and researcher Paula Crutchlow

Sources:

Carmelo, L. C. (2016). Narração oral: uma arte performativa (Unpublished Phd Dissertation). Faro: Universidade do Algarve.

Carmelo, L. C., Dahlsveen, M., Gerard, V., Mørch, R. A., & Patrix, A. (2018). Survey: Storytelling in Europe Today. Alden Biesen: Federation for European Storytelling.

Fjellro, R. (2019, Mars 14). Podkast. Retrieved from Store Norske Leksikon: https://snl.no/podkast

Gumbrecht, H. U. (2004). Production of presence What meaning cannot convey. California: Standford University Press.

Kleinberg, E. (2013). Presence in Absentia . In R. Ghosh, & E. Kleinberg, Presence : Philosophy, History, and Cultural Theory for the Twenty-First Century. Cornell University Press .

Lwin, S. M. (2010). Capturing the dynamics of narrative development in an oral storytelling performance A multimodal perspective. A multimodal perspective, « Language and Literature », 19. 4, pp. 357-377.

Lwin, S. M. (2020). A multimoal perspective on applied storyelling performances Narrativity in Context. London og New York: Routledge.

Merleau – Ponty, M. (1968). The Visible and the Invisible FOLLOWED BY WORKING NOTES. N o r t h w e s t e r n U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s.

Schechner, R. (1981). Performers and spectators transported and transformed. Kenyon Review; Fall81, Vol. 3 Issue 4.

Sobol, J. (1999). The storytellers’ Journey: an American Revivial. Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

Supported Federation for European Storytelling

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