On Appearance

Richard Gough (Editor), Adrian Kear (Editor)

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial Issuepeer-review


Beginning from the conviction that appearance matters – and matters as the very ‘stuff’ and substance of the kind of things we call performance – this issue examines the materiality of appearance as a key component of theatrical and social events. Exploring the role appearance plays in a range of cultural forms – from body art to live TV, shamanic invocation to video installation, magic show to ‘non-professional’ performance – On Appearance charts the construction, circulation and contestation of some of the imagined possibilities, lived realities, political identifications, and performative opportunities opened up by thinking through the logic of appearance. As well as examining the correlation between modes of appearance and practices of disappearance, and investigating their inscription in the recuperative dynamics of power, On Appearance explicates the ways in which appearance matters in affecting and positively producing the conditions, forms and relations structuring what Jacques Rancière calls ‘the distribution of the sensible’: the political organisation of sense-making activities within the intelligible framework of the visible.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPerformance Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2008


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