Phenom

Phenomenology for Dummies

I am sitting with Oscar. My hand is in his back. My hand is cold. I flex my fingers and change my grasp. It is still cold. I ask him how it feels. He says it tickles but I know he is just joking.

His limbs are skewed: his feet turned outwards, his arms slack by his sides. Sometimes I guide his arms with my other hand and sometimes we duet in this way on a gesture to emphasise a point or draw attention to something external. My assistance in this motion is never disguised – there is no sleight of hand, no masking – it is never a convincingly autonomous action on Oscar’s part. Unlike the voice.

In this silence, I think about our voices. Oscar, mute, has an unsettling effect. Oscar’s voice is uniquely his and yet it is also mine. It comes from me. It belongs to him.

Oscar exists through me and because of me. The doll exists independent of me. Voiceless, it both is and isn’t Oscar.

I mediate how Oscar “feels”. My hand is cold but Oscar’s plastic hands are "warm". He is comfortable, perched on my knee. My bottom is beginning to ache from sitting in this position on this hard chair for so long. But Oscar also responds to environmental stimuli and reacts to input from the other performers. He is afraid of mice. He has a sense of justice.