This book examines how new performance practices from the 1990s to the present day have been driven by questions of the real and the ensuing political implications of the concept's rapidly disintegrating authority. The first part of the book addresses the existing poststructuralist narrative of radicalism that currently dominates contemporary performance theory, and seeks to deconstruct its conclusions. It first traces the artistic and philosophical developments that laid the ground for the sustained twentieth-century interrogations of theatrical representations of the real. It examines the emergence of the discursive act which aligned the narrative of radicalism exclusively with such interrogations. The book also examines how key strands of Derrida's poststructuralist critique have been applied to performance practice to strengthen the ideological binary opposition between 'dramatic' representations of the real and 'postdramatic' deconstructions of representational practice. The second part of the book embarks on an ideological examination of a wide spectrum of performance models that share an engagement with the problematics of representation and the real. It directs this investigation specifically towards an analysis of the representations of 'real' people in performances which adopt verbatim methodologies drawn from the documentary theatre tradition. The book continues to explore performance environments that break down the dichotomy of performer/spectator and seeks to replace mediated representations with experiential realities.
performance practice in the twenty-first century.
Acts of discourse and apparitions of the real
In part one of this study, ‘The Discursive Act’, I will address the existing
poststructuralist narrative of radicalism that currently dominates contemporary performance theory, and seek to deconstruct its conclusions.
In Chapter 1, which acts as an extended introduction to this study, I will
trace the artistic and philosophicaldevelopments that laid the ground for
the sustained twentieth-century interrogations of theatrical representations of the real, and examine the emergence
depend ‘on any material
thing’, he claims: ‘this ‘I’, that is to
say, the soul through which I am what I am, is entirely distinct from
the body … and even if there were no body at all, it would not
cease to be all that it is’. 10 Observing such philosophicaldevelopments,
alongside the rise of mechanical philosophy and a new emphasis on
anatomical dissection, critics have suggested that this was an era
that of the individual artist/genius figure, the latter
being a central notion in the definition of art as a tool of self-expression.
The philosophicaldevelopments that altered the meaning of the subjective
have also problematised our current understanding of the idea of objectivity.
That the artistic choices made by Gaines (here as a model for all other
Conceptual artists) were cerebral did not necessarily make them objective,
or the opposite of subjective.
Poststructuralism has offered us modes of understanding subjectivity and
identity in ways that did not
mainland Europe had been
in decline since the turn of the nineteenth century. In the post-war period, political,
social and philosophicaldevelopments led to a questioning of traditional Catholic
theology and a sense that it was not responsive to the kind of challenges posed by
a rapidly changing world. In many more secularised countries, reforms in liturgical practice and new initiatives in church architecture were undertaken to address
Revisiting the faith of our fathers
these changes. For the most part, the Irish Church saw little necessity to engage
containing these kinds of messages were Lutheran
preachers.11 They preached about God’s signs of wrath not only from the
pulpit, but also via the text-picture medium sold at markets throughout the
Protestant states. The technique was taken up by publishers in Frankfurt,
Strasburg, Leipzig and Augsburg.12 As these Lutheran theories about miracle
signs began to dissipate towards the end of the seventeenth century, and the
educated belief in miracles diminished due to new scientific and philosophicaldevelopments, the reports of miracle signs began to lose their religious
overturned. What could be a greater
indication of the potential of eco-art than the realisation that any item
in the world, no matter how seemingly insignificant, can be the ground
for artistic, ecological enquiry? While this presents existential crisis as
a positive philosophicaldevelopment, it still leaves us in the dark as to
how an eco-art project might proceed. The existentialist answer is to
recognise that Da-sein is a being-there, a being surrounded by conditions that are always, already active and under way. The problem is not
mine alone, where ‘mine’ is taken to
Grene registers one version of a
classical objection to Descartes’ position, particularly with reference to later
Most philosophers have abandoned the traditional God as the guarantor of knowledge, yet
they retain the notion of the ‘real distinction’ to which only God’s veracity could give
metaphysical or even solid epistemological support and fails to recognise the richer bodily
being of mental life that marks, not an abstract and outworn vision of the world, but the
texture of experience as we live it both before philosophy begins and
The changing view of Germany in Anglo-American geopolitics
its ideas. 40 Yet, Whittlesey was no environmental determinist. The environment was merely permissive. For Strausz-Hupé, on the other hand, the origins lay in a mass psychological pathology. For him, the deep roots were to be found in ‘a morbid German craving for world power’. 41 This psychological pathology argument that Strausz-Hupé used to understand German geopolitics would later also form the core of his anti-communist writings during the Cold War. In both cases, the German philosophicaldevelopment that these causes had set in motion led to a geopolitical
philosophy, with attendant limitations on what counts as real for social science , Feenberg retains from earlier critical theorists the notion of a wider reality that exceeds contemporary science and even plays an important role in social and historical change.
In all these ways, Feenberg is a traditional critical theorist who refuses the Habermasian update. At the same time, he introduces innovations of his own to Marcusean critical theory, also based on subsequent philosophicaldevelopments. In particular, Feenberg does not accept the consignment of technology to a