chapter  6
12 Pages

Ecstasy and visceral flesh in motion

I watch aerialists with attention that jumps and flickers, but which shatters and splinters in the attempt to describe them. How to describe the physical action of aerialists – their reception by spectators? The question is not new or easily answered. For example, a response to Madame Sanyeah’s act decides ‘Sight is the only sense by which it can be realized, description not being within the bounds of language.’1 The approach used in Chapters 1 to 5 is to undertake acts of translation between spectators’ and performers’ descriptions and images. In this process, the embodied reception of aerial performance is ever-present and, at times, even explicit.