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The Fictitious Self & The Real Other: A Manual for Benign Liars

Maya Nitzan


The Fictitious Self & The Real Other is practice-based research centered on the embodiment of the other through the act of imitation. It sets out to rethink an approach to mimesis that maintains contact with revised considerations on its classical lineage while remaining critically responsive to the current cultural landscape.

My dissertation project, "A Day in the Life of Mila Harper Blum," was a durational, site-specific multi-media performance that focused on the embodiment of the aging body. Its making process involved mutual interactions with elderly people in nursing homes across the Netherlands as well as studio practice for altering the performer's body. By constructing a fictional character through imitation and situating this act within a pseudo-reality setup, the research seeks to immerse the performer's body into another. In this process of transformative becoming, the research questions how mimetic representation can move beyond a mere slavish reproduction of the world to become a performative act that not only describes reality but does something different to our perception of it.

Supervisor: Dr. Mariella Greil External mentor: Guy Biran

Keywords: Mimesis, imitation, representation, embodiment, becoming, empathy, self-other, fiction-reality.

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