Flickering, Quivering, Pulsing, Sharp: A Frontier Fellows Performance Exploring Pain

A group of WID’s Frontier Fellows offered a performance installation exploring the neuroscience and interpretation of physical pain.

Supported by WID and the Department of Theatre and Drama, “flickering, quivering, pulsing, sharp” brought spectators into relation with the invisible and indeterminate qualities of physical pain. As scientists and scholars share their disciplinary ways of looking at what cannot be seen, spectators made their way through tensions among “ways of knowing” via science and art.

The live art event was composed of two distinct but overlapping companion pieces: A video work responding to accumulating neuroscientific research suggesting the meanings we make of pain affect the pain itself as well as a live performance work that fleshed out the relationship between pain and representation. Three simultaneous and looping performance lectures responded to assumptions that pain resists representation. Together, the work of former Frontier Fellows Erin Hood, Julian Motzkin, Amy Cannestra and David Ruhl suggests there’s more than meets the eye.

Video produced by Jason Bahling, Erin Hood and Amy Cannestra