Bursting Bodies of Thought: Artaud and Hijikata

Michael Hornblow


When you have given him a body without organs… Then you will teach him again to dance inside out as in the delirium of our accordion dance halls. (Antonin Artaud 1992: 329)

I once became a wicker trunk, which became a bellows that drove each and every one of my organs outside, then played.
(Hijikata Tatsumi 2000e: 75)

Artaud’s pronouncement at the end of To Have Done With The Judgment of God called for a new kind of body, one in which the pain of life would “BURST OUT” (Artaud, 1992: 324), to recreate both theatre and society with the force of an exorcism. The echo of Artaud’s scream in 1948 has been heard ever since, his influence setting the stage for avant-garde performance practice and theory through to the present day.

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