The street show of the Seiltänzer, the rope-dancer, in Thus Spoke Zarathustra is performed by two performer-types moving between two towers, embodying Nietzsche’s metaphorical rhetoric – the tamed rope-dancer and the transgressive, creative trickster. About a century later, in De Certeau’s urban theory, the agency of the rope-dancer is present in the distinction made between the point of view from the World Trade Center, and the “walking rhetorics” in the city’s maze. The elevated position is also the one that – physically or symbolically – characterizes areas of increased sovereignty. Among them, border zones charged with differences, flooded with power by means of urban planning. Having taken place in these areas, did the performances that will be discussed create an alternative to this super-imposition? Is Philippe Petit’s walk above the abyss between West and East Jerusalem in 1987 equivalent to the trespassing of his 1974 walk between the WTC towers in New York? How do contemporary on-site performances taking place in Israel transgress heightened sovereignty, or rather place themselves between the heightened gaze and the unsettled maze?
Daphna Ben-Shaul is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Theatre Arts, Tel Aviv University. She heads the Multidisciplinary and the Interdisciplinary Programs in the Arts at the Faculty of the Arts, TAU, as well as the Actor-Creator-Researcher MFA Track, and teaches at the School of Visual Theatre (SVT). Her theatre and performance research addresses civic and political issues, reflexive performance, performative voiding, creative collectives, and spatial thought and practices. She has published an extensive book on the collective Zik Group, and articles in major periodicals. Her research of contemporary site-specific performances in Israel was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (ISF).