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Touch, containment and consolation in This is For You

Macdonald, A (2018) Touch, containment and consolation in This is For You. Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices, 9 (2). pp. 255-268. ISSN 1757-1871

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Abstract

This article brings together somatic, geographic and psychoanalytic discourse in order to explore the consoling effect of touch within a site-specific performance, made by the author called This is For You.1 The particular quality of the touch in this work is identified, with reference to somatic practices such as Alexander technique and Contact Improvisation, as touching with empty hands. Drawing on Amanda Bingley’s assertion that touch experienced in one moment can connect us to founda- tional experiences of touch in another, this particular quality of touch is explored in terms of its resonance with the psychoanalytic concept of maternal containment. The article explores the role that the ability of touch to contain (what is touched) plays in its capacity to assuage feelings of loss prompted by the transience of the city in which the work took place. It concludes by pointing to the potential importance of the ability of touch to both hold and accentuate the indeterminacies of the body in its capacity to console.

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