Katherine Profeta does not exactly define the word fragment in her book Dramaturgy in Motion: At Work on Dance and Movement Performance, but instead, she mentions what a role of a fragment is and how does it exist within the process of research. According to Cambridge Dictionary, a fragment is “a small piece or a part, especially when broken from something whole”. One could assume that this definition is very rudimentary and known to a general audience, hence the author perhaps did not find the need to define it.

Profeta includes Tim Etchells’ view of the fragment within the topic of research, as it wonderfully completes the idea of an inviting research. Once a dramaturg has already done the research, the rest of the creative team can just digest that information. Instead, they should be invited to collaborate and here is where the idea of the fragment becomes important. A fragment is “in motion”, which means that the art-makers actively work with that fragment as they try to imagine the past or the future of a whole that the fragment indicates. By not being presented with the complete image, the people involved in the creative process, are being invited to collaborate and hence the process is more dynamic and can lead to various solutions. The idea of the fragment could be linked with another idea about reenactment in dance choreography mentioned at the beginning of the chapter on research. In dance, the bodies are performing reenactments of past choreographies and it is almost impossible to do it exactly the same, therefore it often tends to be generative, even if that is not the intent. The fragments of research can hence lead the artistic work in an even more generative fashion, compared to already being given the result of a completed research. To summarize, the power of a fragment in research is that it moves research from being compiling to being creative.

I chose to write about the word fragment because it seemed quite undetermined and abstract at the first glance. I wanted to gain an understanding of that word in the context that Profeta used it. After rereading the passage on the word fragment, I could see the implications of the general idea from everyday life. One example could be the one of a classroom, where there are a variety of different professors with different teaching styles. A professor can choose to only communicate the information to the students without involving them, while another professor might build a discussion around a topic where everyone contributes a fragment of knowledge or a new idea. In the former case, one does not feel as curious and explorative regarding the topic, hence one does not participate in the rewarding process of seeing how combining different ideas can result in an innovative and creative answer. I perceive this example to be similar to what Profeta was discussing in her book, hence I would agree that often one needs a fragment to spark the curiosity and exploration.


(note: I had problems with in-text citations using Chicago citations style. I paraphrased the second paragraph, but couldn’t do the correct citation)

Works Cited

Cambridge Dictionary "Fragment." Accessed 6 Jan 2018. Profeta, Katherine. "Research and Audience" Dramaturgy in Motion. 61-138. USA: Library of Congress, 2015.