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Anattā: The Nutcracker


The Self's a tough nut to crack.


(Pali: अनत्ता) or Anātman (Sanskrit: अनात्मन्)

The Buddhist doctrine of "non-self" – that no intrinsic, unchanging, permanent Self or essence can be found in any phenomenon.



The Nutcracker is an investigation into the ways of approaching the experience of (non-)Self through movement and sound in different contexts and traditions. Some futile and not so futile, some skilful and unskilful, ritual actions include inducing trance states through repetitive actions, chanting and vocalisations, and even more extreme methods such as ritualised violence and mortification of the flesh.


On a metacognitive level, this performance also explores the dynamics of depersonalisation or absorption of the self in the very state of performativity. The differences in attitude in one's relationship with the self express themselves in the broad spectrum of method - some of denial and dissassociation, some of surrender and sacrifice, some of repression and submission, some of devotion, absorption and union, and sometimes all of the above at once.


Modalities, methods and attitudes explored include:

  • Devotion

  • Penance

  • Performativity

  • Objectification

  • Depersonalisation

  • Dissassociation

  • Destruction

  • Absorption

  • Trance

  • Flow

  • Submission

  • Sacrifice

  • Surrender

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