Every Situation has its Rhythm: Acoustic Mimesis and Sonic Exoticism in Tambours Sur La Digue.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article
This article examines the soundscapes of Ariane Mnouchkine’s Tambours Sur La Digue and explores the concept of acoustic mimesis located in the performance as a dramaturgical strategy to create, aurally, an imagined Far East. In Tambours, mimesis is the performative principle exemplified by the presentation of the mise en scène, and most distinctly Mnouckine’s decision to adapt the Japanese performance tradition of Bunraku through a process of 'reversed' mimicry (in which human bodies simulate the wooden marionettes of the Japanese style). Mimesis pervades the acoustemologies of the performance as it is heard in the extracted sounds, styles, and rhythms of Asian musical modes and movements that consequently become dislocated from context; the sounds become imitated, iconicised and exoticised as sonic signatures as they reify the Orientalist spectacle. The 'oriental' soundscape, reverberating with exotic overtones, becomes the means by which the production creates an imaginary Orient – one in which the Orient Other is silenced, and is resounded only through the musical sensibilities of the Occidental Self.