The Marionette: Intermedial Presence and B-Boy Culture in South Korea

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In this essay, I argue that human performers and technological media can work together as equal partners rather than as rivals competing for the audience's attention. Understanding presence in the 'strong' sense of the word - namely the actor's ability to draw the spectators' undivided attention as opposed to the 'weak' sense of simply being present - I substantiate this claim with a model of intermedial presence in The Marionette, a popular Korean b-boy show that combines live dancing with video and black light. The show's central motif of puppetry puts the live dancers and the media elements in a highly integrated relationship while their distinct ontological identities are maintained. Understanding the show's intermedial dynamics in terms of collaboration and hypermediacy challenges the conventional binary between the live and the mediatized, as well as the assimilationist position that regards the two as fused in intermedial performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-145
Number of pages14
JournalTheatre Research International
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2017


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