This volume brings together dynamic perspectives on the concept of liveness in the performing arts, engaging with the live through the particular analytical focus of audiences and experience. The status and significance of the live in performance has become contested: perceived as variously as a marker of ontological difference, a promotional slogan, or a mystical evocation of cultural value. Moving beyond debates about the relationship between the live and the mediated, this collection considers what we can know and say about liveness in terms of processes of experiencing and processes of making. Drawing together contributions from theatre, music, dance, and performance art, it takes an interdisciplinary approach in asking not what liveness is, but how it matters and to whom.
The book invites readers to consider how liveness is produced through processes of audiencing - as spectators bring qualities of (a)liveness into being through the nature of their attention - and how it becomes materialized in acts of performance, acts of making, acts of archiving, and acts of remembering. Theoretical chapters and practice-based reflections explore liveness, eventness and nowness as key concepts in a range of topics such as affect, documentation, embodiment, fandom, and temporality, showing how the relationship between audience and event is rarely singular and more often malleable and multiple. With its focus on experiencing liveness, this collection will be of interest to disciplines including performance, audience and cultural studies, visual arts, cinema, and sound technologies.