Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Visual Arts


Patrick Mahon


Proceeding from Giorgio Agamben’s observation that gesture rather than image is the cinematic element, this paper attempts to outline the various ways gesture can operate in art. In particular, this paper examines the role of gesture in mime and cinema with respect to the writings of Bertolt Brecht, Etienne Décroux, Eugenio Barba and Jerzy Grotowski in relation to various interpretations of the role, in art, of Charles Saunders Peirce’s concept of the index, especially those of Rosalind Krauss, Michael Fried, Roland Barthes and Gilles Deleuze. From this exploration, a three-tiered approach to the use of gesture in the arts is developed. This paper then argues that the manipulation of these levels of gesture is a form of montage and, using masked performance as an example, shows how this montage of gestures can give rise to the varieties of movement-image observed by Gilles Deleuze.



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