International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media 19.1, doi: 10.1080/14794713.2023.2172523 – (FREE EPRINT)
The suspension of operations during lockdowns facilitated a new perspective on performance: the absent came to appear as a determining factor of not only the pandemic, but became evident as constitutive of late modern theater cultures. Based on a description of the lockdown performance A Room of Our Own (2021) by the feminist collective Swoosh Lieu, it is shown how contemporary practice is relocating performance within its entanglement with the social spaces of reproduction. Emphasizing the realities of exclusion that the performing arts rest upon, the paper argues against a theory of performance as an enclosed event of participation based on an idealized idea of the social as a homogeneous microcosm. It calls instead for an empirics of assembly, and more generally to question a thinking of performance along the lines of interaction and communication. Adopting Karen Barad’s concept of posthuman performativity to Theater Studies, it foregrounds the mediating function of performance in its articulation of the world and proposes to reconceptualize theater as an epistemological apparatus to invigorate a strong program of theater studies that refocuses on the socio-political real of theatricality.
Theater Research International (TRI) 48.1, S. 24-37, doi: 10.1017/S0307883322000384 (OPEN ACCESS)
All became data during the pandemic. Lockdowns made manifest what had developed for some time: that theatre has become inextricably entangled with digital cultures, the performing arts being increasingly encountered as a growing stock of multimodal fragments, textual discourses and networked communications. And, it is argued, it is precisely this appearance of theatre as (big) data that might prove to be the game-changer post-pandemic, and that this game-changer might be solely an epistemological one: what is known about theatre, how that knowledge is organized, and who is involved in organizing this knowledge, are rapidly changing. Based on an exemplary analysis of the discourses of legitimation that compensated for the loss of presence in German theatres, and the associated imperative to innovate production, this article estimates the epistemological consequences of theatre returns as data to advocate for a reconceptualization of theatre beyond performance.
The concept of intervention calls for a transgression of art by art itself. This is accompanied not only by the promise of a specific effectiveness, but also by a practice of negotiating aesthetic and political spheres. In theater, talk of intervention seems particularly incisive when the complex interactions of the public sphere, society, and media reality are addressed beyond the scene. This volume, which emerges from a conference at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, brings together contributions that cast critical perspectives on theater projects and theatrical actions that work with different strategies of intervention. In the process, the plurality of interventionist aesthetics and their theorizing is revealed.