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Antonin Artaud's decisive transfusion: from theatre to mathematics

Salazar Sutil, N (2009) Antonin Artaud's decisive transfusion: from theatre to mathematics Performance Research: a journal of the performing arts, 14 (4). pp. 119-124.

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This article explores a notion of the theatre that should make possible, in Antonin Artaud’s words, a ‘decisive transfusion of matter by mind’. I begin by contending that whilst Artaud refused to treat the body and the mind as separated entities, he spoke of a ‘latent disorder’ whereby thought and bodiliness are in continuous conflict. Although the suggestion of an alchemical transfusion that would unify body and mind is an odd and perhaps perplexing one, what is more perplexing still is Artaud’s idea that the empty body would have to be filled by an essence such as mathematics. This paper seeks to understand why Artaud turned to mathematical images to explain the kind of transfusion of matter he had in mind for his alchemical theatre. Much of this paper deals with images Artaud conjures up whereby theatrical experience is analogous with a blood transfusion. My aim is to explain this image as a metaphorical link, or ‘site of passage’, from that which Artaud saw as the corrupted materiality of the body, to the abstract, or trans-corporeal, as part of an alchemical theatre that sought to trans-form and trans-fuse the actor into a coded or reflective bodily mathematics.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Guildford School of Acting
Authors :
Salazar Sutil, N
Date : December 2009
DOI : 10.1080/13528160903553061
Additional Information : This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Performance Research: a journal of the performing arts (2009), copyright Taylor & Francis, available online at:
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 27 Jun 2014 10:26
Last Modified : 05 Mar 2019 10:38

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