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date: 10 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter argues that artists’ self-abnegation was central to the compositional core of Loïe Fuller’s Serpentine Dance performances, and that it also extended to her life. Fuller’s performances belong to the tradition of artists at the turn of last century, who began to challenge the authority of artist/author over the artwork and its intended meaning, giving over this process to the audience/readers. Fuller’s dances in part recapitulated Arthur Rimbaud’s statement “J’est un autre”, embodying a transformation through electrotechnics shared by her viewers. This chapter contends that the emphasis on participation is inherent in electric technology, as is the repudiation of individual perspective and the loss of individualism. It concludes with the claim that Fuller’s hybrid-media approach in her performances, part of the excitement about then futuristic electric technology at the 1900 Expo in Paris, also anticipated twenty-first-century new media performances and new media installations, and share with these works an aesthetic originating in artistic self-abnegation.

Keywords: Self-abnegation, electrotechnics, new media installations, hybrid-media, Loïe Fuller, Serpentine Dance, Arthur Rimbaud, 1900 Expo in Paris

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