Social performing groups and the building of community : Odin Teatret, Gardzienice, and Song of the Goat TheatrePorubcansky, Anna January 2011 (has links)
This is a dedicated study of three performing groups with a particular social understanding of performance. Odin Teatret, Gardzienice, and Song of the Goat Theatre have developed unique theatre practices that investigate art as an integrated component of everyday life. The actors’ daily lives incorporate both artistic activities such as training, research, devising, and performance, and social projects such as cultural barters, expeditions, and pedagogical programmes in a conscious attempt to engage with the wider social world. The Odin, Gardzienice, and Song of the Goat’s work therefore extends beyond theatre and into the lives, traditions, and cultural practices of diverse communities around the world. This approach to performance continues a legacy of art that has emerged specifically from Poland as a result of nationalistic and Romantic trends during the nineteenth century. In the eighteenth century, Poland’s borders were erased by the Austrian, Prussian, and Russian Empires. Dividing the country for well over a century, these partitions introduced cultural, linguistic, religious, and political suppression, creating an atmosphere of defiant cultural preservation as the Polish population struggled to assert itself against their oppressors. Artist such as Romantic poets Adam Mickiewicz and Juliusz Słowacki, neo-Romantic dramatist, poet, and painter Stanisław Wyspiański, and, in the twentieth century, directors such as Juliusz Osterwa and Jerzy Grotowski, contributed to a legacy of art that sought to examine and strengthen cultural identity, belonging, and community. Drawing on the theories of Norbert Elias, Pierre Bourdieu, Mikhail Bakhtin, Emile Durkheim, and Ferdinand Tönnies, this study proposes that the Odin, Gardzienice, and Song of the Goat can be considered not only as performing groups but as social groups. Bound together through artistic principles that both define them as unique groups and shape the way in which they interact with the world, these social performing groups represent three unique performance practices devoted to exploring the social connections that connect people in mutual respect and understanding.
This thesis addresses and analyses the ‘virtual,’ unsighted potentials of the artistic and critical practice of performance through abstraction, deconstruction and remediation of its ‘body.’ It argues that the ontological distinction between material and immaterial representation can be dislodged by the proposition of an ontogenesis of emergence of the dynamic dimension of affect. Such self-organising, recursive system of forces and energies elicits change and transformation expanding the sensual and aesthetic practice of performance as alive art. These arguments connect concepts from affect and political theory with philosophical ideas of virtual multiplicity, relationality, counter/intuition and (dis)individuation passing via the work of Brian Massumi, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Judith Butler, Jacques Ranciére, Jean-Luc Nancy and Emmanuel Levinas, as well as other theorists. The thesis also intersects methodologies and epistemologies from philosophy, science and art with the radical contingencies implicit in performance (art) as a ‘technology of existence’ (in)formed by tendencies of distribution of affective intensities and temporal (re)modulation of shared perception. The point of reference for exploring the parameters of affective distribution and emergent aesthetics is the epistemological gap opened by the ‘wounded body’ as it figures in the folds of representation. Regarding the wound as a state of ‘emergency’ of an ungraspable reality, and as a sensitised and sensitising condition of being-with and doing-without, I pay attention to the demands this figure makes on the timely dimension of (in)human being. This disruptive and interruptive presence expresses the singularity of the experience of openness in the ways that life comes into being exposed to the plurality of its (im)possibilities. Exercising a kind of pressure on the body, this critical point ruptures temporality itself in the way that the (in)human becomes effective/affective beyond its finality. Key works such as Trio A and MURDER and murder by Yvonne Rainer, Self Unfinished by 3 Xavier Le Roy, and the performance series Resonate/Obliterate by Julie Tolentino and Ron Athey will be parsed as singularities revelatory of the intuitive type of creative experience that transduces the lived experience of the synesthetic dimension of affect, and the parameters of processual and emergent aesthetics. Ultimately, I propose to imagine these instances of performance as a vital archive of (perceptive) experience that enables a bodily state of intensity and emergency to flesh out an experiential, visceral field of affective modes of becoming and becoming-other in related mo(ve)ments of aliveness traversed by the ungrasped pulse of a past yet to be/come.
This thesis examines the claim that women write differently from men, and employs a methodology which compares a range of film adaptations with the books from which they are taken. The thesis explores the agency and voice of four novels and their film adaptations, 1 using techniques derived from narrative analysis where "the implied author" is the agency responsible for the overall relationship of narration (story telling) to narrative (story) and is also the "voice" - the rhetoric of the text. Psychoanalysis forms a conceptual framework for exploring the performance of sexual difference in these works authored by women, but directed by men, and for investigating psychological thrillers, where issues of sexuality and desire are dramatised, particularly in relationship to death and the fear of obliteration. The thesis considers the 'gendering' of the texts - how they construe sexual difference, through fantasy and through desire. Lacan's discourse analysis enables a further investigation of the possibilities of hysterical agency driving the narrative; anxiety and uncertainty over gender and sexual difference driving the needs of the characters and the narration, and therefore, by implication, the real author or authors. It also discusses whether this hysteria is performed differently by men and women, due to their different subject positions, and thereby creates a potential link between the implied author of the text, and the gender of the real author(s). The real author, the agent of the text, cannot, in this formulation, be regarded as either sovereign or unified. Rather, I theorise, following Althusser and the performative theory of Judith Butler, that authorial voice is an interpellation. That is, they are called up and placed into a network of norms and parameters where they assume the agency of authorship. Agency is therefore contingent and traumatic, and a text which creates a less causal and individualistic performance of narrative agency might also be able to explore the relationship of gender and sexual difference to agency without slipping into the Freudian flaw of making anatomy destiny. I consider Mrs. Dalloway, as a poetic, non-linear form, a multi-voiced and multi-determined narrative, which creates a very rich female portrait of its central protagonist and a selfconsciously female narrative voice. In addressing the traumas and hysterias of sexual difference, and relating them to the analogous traumas created through the abuse of power in other realms of life, Mrs. Dalloway provides an alternative way of thinking about sexual difference, gender and agency, one that privileges creativity, reparation and the need to come to terms with trauma, whether one is male or female.
This thesis examines the cinema of David Mamet with particular reference to the five films he made between 1987 and 1997. Its objectives are: to explore Mamet's distinct approach to filmmaking; to analyse the ways in which this approach shaped the formal organisation of his films; and to account for the specific aesthetic effects produced. The central argument advanced is that Mamet's filmmaking practice, which has, to a large extent, been influenced by practices he adopted during his long standing service to American theatre, is markedly different from dominant models of filmmaking in contemporary US cinema. As a result, his films have consistently demonstrated evidence of an idiosyncratic visual style, which has attracted considerable - mostly negative - criticism. This thesis also considers a number of institutional parameters that have impacted on Mamet's cinema. Particular emphasis has been placed on the role of independent distributors such as Orion Pictures and The Samuel Goldwyn Company who allowed the filmmaker to maintain his distinct aesthetic vision, despite his lack of success at the US box-office. Mamet's close association with the institutional apparatus of American Independent Cinema is examined throughout the thesis. My approach to Mamet's cinema takes place within a number of critical contexts that Film Studies uses to discuss both individual films and the work of a filmmaker as a whole. These contexts include: the classical/post-classical Hollywood cinema debate; auteur criticism; performance studies; film adaptation studies; and genre criticism. I use these frameworks to examine particular aspects of Mamet's cinema and also to establish fresh critical perspectives which will enhance our understanding of some of his films. One such perspective involves the proposal that Mamet utilises the generic form of the 'con-artist film,' a film genre previously unexplored within genre studies. This thesis challenges some of the established critical assumptions about David Mamet's cinema and bestows upon it the attention it deserves.
The backdrop of this thesis is the emerging phenomenon of the sustainable festival. Namely, an increasing number of performing arts festival organisers, worldwide, are currently claiming that they can recognise and, essentially, address some of the perceived inherently negative externalities of their events. In trying to remedy the unfavourable impacts of their events they incorporate the notion of sustainability into the strategic mission and practical management of these festivals. By calling attention to their sustainability credentials and exercising particular interpretations of the concept, they either label their festivals as sustainable or emphatically promote the events’ contribution to sustainability. In doing so, they seem to become part of a coalition of actors that are committed to confronting some of the major global challenges facing contemporary society. Nevertheless, the discourse over sustainability has been bound to the power effects and processes of establishment appropriation and institutionalisation, which have led to particular understandings and practical translations of its concept. Such processes, along with the policy tools that these convey, have reportedly been responsible for a systematic delimitation of the once plastic, diverse, and open-ended visions of sustainability, defining what counts as sustainability and what does not. As this thesis will argue, these effects have significantly restricted the possibility for alternative understandings of sustainability to emerge from the lower layers of social organisation. The conceptualisation of sustainability as a template for absolute, top-down policy action, however, may be anathema to an institution such as the festival, which is assumed to have a “transformative, transgressive and even revolutionary role” (Bianchini and Maughan, 2015, p.243) in society. Sustainable performing arts festivals have been mushrooming in number and genres, yet the topic of sustainability has rarely been discussed in a conceptual framework within the relevant bodies of literature. This thesis aims to problematise current sustainability understandings and practice, as well as offer provocations to think afresh about its concept in the particular context of the festival. It will provide conceptual coverage to a developing academic field and also add a unique, critical voice to a discipline dominated by studies that tend to rest upon largely managerialist approaches to sustainability. Rather than relying on powerful constructs of sustainability, this thesis will try to gain access to and articulate festival participants’ perceptions and experiences of processes and praxes that provide the possibilities for flourishing festival contexts. The main research question asks: What does it mean for the performing arts festival to contribute to the achievement of a desired future for the festival and its surrounding social context, that is to say, for it to be a sustainable festival?
This thesis examines the filmic representation of teenage identity in East German films which were produced in the late eighties and early nineties. Questions of 'identity' assumed a prominent position within the political and cultural discourses at the time of the Wende when the structures within East German society changed dramatically. Academic and public interest in the attitudes, values and the state of mind of the young generation in East Germany was immense because the analysis of the position of the young generation always reveals important facts about relations of power, ideological formations, and belief systems. This thesis looks at 10 films (many of which have not been the subject of academic study before) which have teenage protagonists at the centre of their narratives. It explores ways in which these films represented the young generation of the former GDR and, as cultural products, contributed to the construct of 'East German youth' within the public discourse. To provide the contextual framework for the analysis, the discourses on East German youth, DEFA, and GDR identity, are reviewed and developments within DEF A with regard to the production of films for a young audience are discussed. The close textual study analyses the representation of identification processes which are typical for teenagers, identifies and discusses salient motifs, themes, narrative devices, and stylistic choices. Common features, in particular the metonymic use of the concept of 'family', narrative perspective with regard to the target audience, and the film texts' interpretation of contemporary social developments are explored in detail and discussed within the context of the competing discourses at the time of the films' release. The analysis shows that the films captured key elements of the social and political transition in East Germany. It helps to trace shifts in the cultural discourse at an important juncture in recent German history and to put myths and simplifications about this period into context.
This thesis examines largely British and American approaches to Shakespeare on film from the silent era to 1996, while also referring to Japanese and European productions. By analysing key films where Shakespeare is used in an altered or unacknowledged way, Shakespeare's cultural position in cinema can be identified and assessed. The British cinematic approach tends to rely upon nostalgia and taps into a longstanding theatrical tradition of Shakespearean performance while, in the US, Shakespeare is usually subordinated to cinema by being redefined through cinematic genre. There is much overlap between these culturally defined approaches to Shakespeare on film. Above all, Shakespeare is employed as a key intertextual device within each film, providing narrative structure and a frame of reference which highlights or brings into question a sense of cultural identity. In addition to cultural ramifications, the evolution of Shakespeare on film is charted to demonstrate how the treatment of the playwright and his work changed to suit the development of film as an artform capable of sustaining its own dramatic lexicon. Ten case study films from the mid to late twentieth century are analysed from a cultural standpoint and to map the interplay between Shakespearean and cinema. Broadly speaking, Shakespeare may be manipulated in two main ways, so that plots or themes from the plays may be evident in an altered way in a film, or scenes or dialogue may be included in an otherwise contemporary cinematic setting. It is at the nexus of this interplay that the two elements coalesce, realigning Shakespeare from a cinematic perspective on one hand, while providing filmmakers with highly adaptable source material for their own productions on the other. By focusing on films which position Shakespeare outside of conventional or mainstream cinematic adaptation, this thesis advances prevailing critical interest, locating the playwright as a figure open to numerous and innovative cultural and cinematic reinterpretations. The thesis makes a significant contribution to Shakespeare on film studies as it serves to develop an understanding of the shifting relationship between Shakespeare and cinema in Britain and America during the twentieth century.
'Yesterday once more' : an investigation of the relationship between popular music, audience, and authorial intention in Dennis Potter's 'Pennies from heaven', 'The singing detective', and 'Lipstick on your collar'Brie, Stephen Michael January 2001 (has links)
Critical interpretations of Dennis Potter's television drama serials have tended to take a writer-centred perspective, focusing on establishing links between the dramatist's life and work. In analysing the popular music content of these texts, critics have consistently postulated the existence of Brechtian distanciation effects on an implied viewer. Although, in order to contextualise Potter's relationship with popular music, authorial intention is discussed, this study shifts the focus towards empirical interpretations of the musical sequences in Pennies from Heaven, The Singing Detective and Lipstick on Your Col/ar, and, in doing so, problematises the application of Brechtian theory to those texts. Utilising theoretical framings drawn from television studies, film studies, literary studies, communication studies, and musicology, the thesis offers interpretation and analysis of empirical material generated in response to both quantitative and qualitative exercises, and sets out to identify, and investigate, the narratological, musicological, and psychological factors which come into play when actual viewers encounter the narratively foregrounded, lip-synched musical sequences in Potter's serials. The influence of respondent age and gender, of implied author discourse, and of genre expectation on emprirical readings are also investigated. The thesis identifies, and attempts to account for, a predisposition on the part of Potter's musically-infused period dramas to stimulate susceptible viewers to drift away from the performance, and into nostalgic memory excursions, or fabricated imaginings, experiences which often result in narrative amnesia, an inability to subsequently recall and/or recollect elements of narrative detail.
Verses in the celluloid : poetry in film from 1910-2002, with special attention to the development of the film-poemSperanza, Robert Scott January 2002 (has links)
Poetry is not a new phenomenon in film and television. It is consistently treated as such because its presence is not common; poetry is repeatedly viewed as a 'special element' in a production. However, visual poetry is becoming less and less of an oddity in modern-day films. This thesis, which surveys multiple intersections of poetry and cinema, places particular emphasis on the most specific and direct use of poetry within film: 'film-poems'. Numerous poets and filmmakers today have made film-poems, particularly poet Tony Harrison. These works are important because they are revolutionary in their combination and application of the two media: a film-poem is a simultaneous collaboration of writing, shooting and cutting, which makes for extraordinary, sense-inundating viewing. Their qualities, not to mention their evolution, have escaped formal study for the most part, and fully deserve critical exploration. The Harrisonian film-poem heavily involves both filmmaker and poet in most aspects of production. Yet there are discrepancies that emerge when using the term 'film poem'. Other classifications link the words to the arena of avant-garde cinema. Avant-garde films might contain some verse, but mainly they depict a theme or story through a cinematically metaphorical means, using images as those metaphors, using cinematic devices as poetic devices. A study of the avant-garde and a language of cinema that is called 'poetry'itself (by some)is another focus of this thesis. I also concentrate on the cinematic placement of poetry in feature films. When films cite poetry, they immediately take on a new dimension, a significant deeper layer to their own story lines. Similarly, the poem also gains a significance that will link it with a scene and theme in the film, and the film's specific images. I begin this thesis with a study of this kind of citation, discussing the prospect of poetic presence in film, and proceed to discuss the development of film and poetry, which inevitably leads to its most significant intersection: the film-poem.
This thesis argues for incorporating a radically increased awareness and understanding of the experiences and opinions of people who actually watch films into any film theory or criticism genuinely concerned to analyse, evaluate or otherwise interpret films and/or those who watch them. In particular, it suggests there is a need to re-think the status of film experiencers as informants who are participant in rather than objects of study, and that an ethnographic approach should be taken to narrow the gap between film studies and film experiencers. Initially, I investigate ways in which film "viewers" and "audiences" have been and continue to be theorized, analyzed and represented, with emphases both on how film theory and criticism have treated film experiencers, and on the impact of the recent "ethnographic turn" in film and cultural studies. I then investigate pertinent ethnographic theories and methods in the context of recent debates about knowledge production and reflexivity, looking particularly at postmodern and anti-patriarchal critiques. I also consider the relationship between ethnography and cultural studies, and how both these areas impact on the study of film experiencers. Ultimately I suggest particular ways in which ethnographic theories and methods might be used in film studies to inform investigations, understandings and therefore representations of film experiencers. I outline and consider how my case study uses such approaches before setting out the case study itself. The case study sets out what sixty-seven participant-informants had to say and write about martial arts action films, and is in large part intended to "give voice" to film experiencers. But while the emphasis is on citing participant-informants' own words, I recognize that there is no description without interpretation and reflect on this in the conclusions I draw from the case study "data" and my theoretical work.
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