ArticlesNo. 103, Fall 2018

Through the Fabric of My Own: Louise Alenius and Embodied Interrelationality

Since 2014, Danish composer Louise Alenius has engaged in a series of performances characterized by extraordinary circumstances entitled Porøset. Eminently site-specific, Porøset has been mounted within the disheveled attic spaces and compact dressing rooms of the Royal Danish Theater in Copenhagen. Alenius, the sole recurring participant in each performance, meticulously structures these performances utilizing three striking parameters. Each performance (exhibiting different combinations of singing, dancing, acting, and speaking) lasts just fifteen minutes, and is staged within a location of the Royal Danish Theater disclosed to the audience member only just prior to the performance’s commencement. Most crucially, each performance is presented for a single audience member at a time, a setting provoking intense intimacy and vulnerability between its audience member and performers.

 

With information obtained through interviews with Alenius herself, I engage Porøset with phenomenological models formulated by Emmanuel Levinas and Maurice Merleau-Ponty to assess and illuminate the intersubjectivity that emerges between the performers and audience member within these esoteric encounters. By conducting such an investigation, I strive to accentuate the experiential significance of this contemporary composer’s oeuvre, one boldly traversing the boundaries between music, theater, and performance art to achieve a timely holistic aspiration: the delicate formation of trust between strangers.