The body, its spatio-temporal dis/continuity, and the perception of presence, void, and reality have been the focus of contemporary performance art discourse (Derrida, 1994; Greiner, 2005 and 2010; Gomez-Peña, 2015; Kunst, 2011 and 2015; Lepecki, 2006, 2012 and 2016; Sampaio & Simão, 2018; Miranda, 2020). It is essential to highlight how aesthetics are commonly defined through a Euro-American perspective when bridging to performing arts. It is constantly (re)normalized concerning time (based on the Euro-American present) and space (imposed on non-Western countries), and it shapes the notions of the body (Bakare-Yusuf, 2003; Butler, 1988; Haraway, 1988; Harding, 1995 & 2004; Grosfoguel, 2012; Mignolo & Vazquez, 2013; Miranda, 2020; Ribeiro, 2019; Barad, 2020). The problem starts when this imposed model is considered neutral, marginalizing/eliminating other identities and forms of expression. (Oyèyewúmi, 1997; Mignolo, 2003; Spivak, 1988 and 2012, Garcia-Olp, 2018). Hence, I conducted this research through a reading in which performance and the body are understood as phenomena.

Karen Barad recognizes that distinct entities, agencies, and events emerge from/through their intra-actions. Moreover, she suggests that the responsibility to unfix the line between ‘self’ and ‘other,’ ‘past,’ ‘present’ and ‘future,’ ‘here’ and ‘now,’ and ‘cause’ and ‘effect’ is taken by not seeing them as the intertwining of separate entities but instead put them in relation to each other.[1] This relationality is based on what Donna J. Haraway once called ‘situated knowledge’. Within Feminist standpoint theories, Haraway recognizes the importance of acknowledging different contexts and political-epistemological-ethical implications, highlighting the multiplicities - the so-called pluriversality - in our existence.[2]

Following this understanding, neither a model nor a universalized definition of the body is possible. According to Quantum Field Theory, matter (body) is understood in its infinite layers of im/possibilities and in/determined dynamics of nothingness, in which nothingness is the dynamism of in/determinacy of time-being, non/presence, non/existence.[3] The notion of intra-actions consists of “[an] infinite set of possibilities or infinite sum of histories.” Moreover, it “entails a particle touching itself, and then that touch touching itself, and transforming, and touching other particles that make up the vacuum, and so on, ad infinitum.”[4]  

The looping in which matter touches itself, transforms, and touches other particles, is what Eduardo Miranda illustrates as a body in constant change of skin.[5]  He proposes a reading in which one can only be defined by its own experiences, marked by time, space, and memory. What Miranda will address as 'body-territory' is the reaffirmation of socio-historical constructions, cultural baggage, and experiences concerning time and space. The body acts simultaneously in several spatialities, affected by different forces within what he calls the  ‘territory of passage.’[6]

The constant change of skin and the infinite territories of the body is what Barad establishes as the moment of ‘returning’ - a touch of the self and the touch of others, which troubles the ruling conceptions of space-time, matter, causality, and nothingness.[7] It counterpoints Newtonian physics, a formative and enabling part of American-European modernity that pursues the ‘renormalization’ of matter to subtract all infinite possibilities, pre-supposing a ‘common neutral essence’ of existence.[8] All these scholars teach us that an infinite number of possibilities exist, and the moment of self-intra-actions represents the encounter with the infinite alterity of the self. Thus, contesting the 'renormalization' and the neutralization of an aesthetic model, imposed by American Eurocentrism and its contemporaneity, is fundamental to perceiving body and performance as phenomena.

 [1] (Barad 2010, pp. 264-6)

 [2] (Haraway 1988)

[3] Karen Barad once explained her use of ‘/’ (as an example of im/possibilities), by which she means more than just both (possibilities and impossibilities) but rather that a superposition represents an indeterminacy between the two. In this paper, I will use it similarly, differentiating from her terms using quotation marks.

[4] (Barad 2010, 2017 and 2020)

[5]This expression is a reference to the Afro-Brazilian orixá Oxumaré. (Miranda 2020)

[6] (Miranda 2020)

[7] (Barad 2017, p. 81)

[8] (Barad 2019 and 2020)