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Bastard or Playmate?

Bastard or Playmate?: Adapting Theatre, Mutating Media and Contemporary Performing Arts

Robrecht Vanderbeeken
Christel Stalpaert
David Depestel
Boris Debackere
Series: Theater Topics
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 264
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  • Book Info
    Bastard or Playmate?
    Book Description:

    This fascinating volume explores the theme of mutating and adapting media in its relation to theatre and performance. Bringing together international scholars and artists, the editors offer a comprehensive overview of the changing nature of theater, focusing on interactivity, corporeality, liveness, surveillance, spectacle, performativity, and theatricality.Bastard or Playmate?shows how dismantling the medium of theater has led to a fertile ground for new art. This wide-ranging and vibrant book provides an excellent guide for readers unfamiliar with the field of intermediality, as well as researchers and experienced theater artists.

    eISBN: 978-90-485-1317-8
    Subjects: Sociology, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-8)
  3. Introduction Perhaps the Medium-Specificity of the Contemporary Performing Arts is Mutation?
    (pp. 9-16)
    Robrecht Vanderbeeken, Christel Stalpaert, Boris Debackere and David Depestel

    Artistic media seem to be – more than ever – in a permanent condition of mutation. Mutation is a term borrowed from molecular biology and genetic science referring to the permanent change in the DNA sequence of a gene. Mutations in a gene’s DNA structure not only alter the connectivity within the DNA sequence but might also change a protein produced by a gene. In much the same way, we inhabit an ever-mutating media landscape where once separate media levels are interconnecting in novel configurations and where different media devices and forms shape-shift in a most surprising way. Take the...

  4. Theatre Between Performance and Installation Three Contemporary Belgian Examples
    (pp. 17-30)
    Christophe Van Gerrewey

    In the age of mechanical and especially digital reproduction, the factual and material presence of the artwork is very relative. It is no longer truly necessary to be close to the real work in order to study it, interpret it or aesthetically appreciate it. Every act of theatre seems to form an exception to this instance. Of course, the theatrical performance can be reproduced in film (or in words or images), but everyone will agree that watching these documents will never be a true match to the experience of sitting in the theatre. Exactly this architectural domain of the theatre...

  5. The Fourth Wall, or the Rift Between Citizen and Government Another Attempt at a Conceptual Synthesis of Theatre and Politics
    (pp. 31-42)
    Klaas Tindemans

    Denis Diderot, the eighteenth-century French philosopher who also took a special interest in theatre, gave the following instruction to stage actors: ‘Don’t think about the spectator anymore, act as if he doesn’t even exist. Imagine there is a big wall at the edge of the stage separating you from the parterre. Act as if the curtain was never raised’ (1970: 453). In all the theatre theory that was to follow, this imaginary wall was known as the ‘fourth wall’. Diderot writes this at a time when both the theory and practice of theatre and drama in France – and elsewhere...

  6. Using Recorded Images for Political Purposes
    (pp. 43-56)
    Nancy Delhalle

    Today, more than ever before, the availability of recorded images and the interactive opportunities they provide have made it possible for theatre professionals to focus on form and aesthetic approach. Such artistic work with recorded images still essentially relies on the use of digital, video or film images on stage. Theatre stages are full of screens and offer countless visual experiences that may be fascinating or even aggravating. Among members of the artistic team, there are now a number of comparatively new functions such as ‘video artists’ or ‘image directors’.

    This might lead us to the hasty conclusion that form...

  7. A Campsite for the Avant-Garde and a Church in Cyberspace Christoph Schlingensiefʹs Dialogue with Avant-Gardism
    (pp. 57-76)
    Anna Teresa Scheer

    In [19]68 I was eight years old, but I demand that here and now, in 2001, I am allowed to try things out.

    Christoph Schlingensief (quoted in Heineke & Umathum 2002: 33)

    Berlin, January 2003: Christoph Schlingensief’s theatre performanceAtta-Atta: Art has Broken Out!premieres in the Volksbühne. A motley group of ‘artists’, including Schlingensief, record themselves on video as they make an impassioned appeal for the Oberhausen short film festival committee to accept their submission. The scene, which references Schlingensief’s beginnings in experimental film, appears to parody the beliefs its protagonists hold with regard to the radical potential of their...

  8. Echoes from the Animist Past Abattoir Ferméʹs Dark Backward and Abysm of Time
    (pp. 77-89)
    Evelien Jonckheere

    Children like to play. They animate lifeless objects, often with grotesque gestures. When they get bruised by bumping into a table, the table is to blame: it’s a ‘bad table’. A childish environment seems to be filled with demons, both good and bad. It was Jean Piaget, the cognitive psychologist, who in 1929 considered ‘animism’ a typical feature of the development of children (Looft & Bartz 1969: 1). Already in 1906, Ernst Jentsch had made a similar observation in his essay ‘On the Psychology of the Uncanny’.

    The most ‘uncanny’ theatre spectacles in Flanders by far are made by Abattoir Fermé,...

  9. Folding Mutants or Crumbling Hybrids? Of Looking Baroque in Contemporary Theatre and Performance
    (pp. 90-101)
    Jeroen Coppens

    In recent years, due mainly to technological and digital advancement, there has been a revolution in representational practices that is pushing towards the merging of different media into one another. Nowadays, one can watch TV shows on the internet, enact movie characters in 3D game environments and even enjoy an opera performance from another continent in the movie theatre via live internet streaming technology.

    The introduction of new media in the theatre is in itself nothing new – it happened during the historical avant-garde (e.g. Erwin Piscator’s experiments with documentary footage or the futurist multimedia happenings), in the 1960s with...

  10. Making UNMAKEABLELOVE The Relocation of Theatre
    (pp. 102-120)
    Sarah Kenderdine and Jeffrey Shaw

    We need machines that suffer from the burden of their memory.

    Jean-François Lyotard (1991: 22)

    This paper addresses the histories of liveness and performance and the life of machines by articulating theoretical positions on Samuel Beckett’s prose workThe Lost Onesin relation to a recent new media workUNMAKEABLELOVE(Kenderdine & Shaw 2008).UNMAKEABLELOVEis a revisioning of Beckett’s initial investigation, which focuses and makes interactively tangible a state of confrontation and interpolation between ourselves and another society that is operating in a severe state of physical and psychological entropy. This interactive theatre advances the practices of algorithmic agency, artificial...

  11. Witness Protection? Surveillance Technologies in Theatrical Performance
    (pp. 121-143)
    Elise Morrison

    In the spring of 2008, the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre in London summoned audiences for the Shunt Collective’sContains Violencewith a peculiar request: arrive at dusk, wear gloves, and get ready for an evening of rooftop espionage. Upon arrival, audience members were ushered onto the rooftop terrace of the Lyric Hammersmith, seated under the darkening sky on the edge of the balcony, and outfitted with a set of in-ear microphones and high-power binoculars. A uniform-clad officer brusquely ordered audience members to use their individually issued surveillance equipment to follow a drama that would take place several hundred yards away, across...

  12. The Work of Art in the Age of Its Intermedial Reproduction Rimini Protokollʹs Mnemopark
    (pp. 144-152)
    Katia Arfara

    Based upon an actual railway model – on a scale of 1:87 – Rimini Protokoll’sMnemoparkstages reality through an installation of mini-cameras manipulated by four modelists, retirees who are passionate model railway buffs. Max Kurrus was seven when he got his first small-scale locomotive and has since bought 12 engines and 35 cars. His railway landscapes are inspired by the Swiss Graubünden canton. Hermann Löhle received his first locomotive 50 years ago and has since acquired 53 locomotives and 290 cars. His landscapes reproduce Baden-Württemberg. René Mühlethaler bought his first locomotive with his first salary. With 40 locomotives and...

  13. Rimini Protokollʹs Theatricalization of Reality
    (pp. 153-160)
    Frederik Le Roy

    In 2000, Daniel Wetzel, Helgard Haug and Stefan Kaegi collaborated for the first time under the label Rimini Protokoll.Kreuzworträtsel Boxenstopp(‘Crossword Pit Stop’), a stage production on old age and Formula 1 racing, initiated a string of acclaimed stage productions that have made Rimini Protokoll one of Europe’s most prominent theatre groups. Rimini Protokoll is no tight-knit collective. For the founding members, the production of differences is more important than speaking with a unified voice. This model of productive dissent, of questioning and discussion, is also reflected in their work: their collaborations (often in different constellations or with ‘outsiders’)...

  14. Digital Landscapes The Meta-Picturesque Qualities of Kurt dʹHaeseleerʹs Audiovisual Sceneries
    (pp. 161-177)
    Nele Wynants

    Theatre that incorporates other media into its performance space is as old as Greek tragedy. The integration of word, music, image and gesture in one frame presupposes theatre as the intermedial art practice par excellence. That is at least the basic argument of the Theatre and Intermediality Research Working Group, substantiated in their first publication (Chapple & Kattenbelt 2006).¹ Theatre, in Kattenbelt’s formulation, has a distinctive capacity to be a ‘hypermedium’ that is able to ‘stage’ other mediums (ibid. 37). As the ‘stage of intermediality’, theatre mutates media into mixed forms that both thematize and question the role of media in...

  15. The Productivity of the Prototype On Julien Maireʹs ʹCinema of Contraptionsʹ
    (pp. 178-195)
    Edwin Carels

    In his artworks and performances, Julien Maire (b. 1969, France) systematically re-invents the technology of visual media.¹ His research is a manifest hybrid between mediaarchaeology and the production of new media constellations. His output consists of prototypes that perform exactly what their etymology promises (from ‘protos’, ‘first’ and ‘typos’, ‘impression’ or ‘model’): proposing unique technological configurations that produce a new, specific image quality. As industrial prototypes, these original creations – no matter how technically clever and refined – are rather useless: they are too complex, too delicate and too clunky to ever be considered for mass production. As artistic statements,...

  16. The Theatre of Recorded Sound and Film Vacating Performance in Michael Curranʹs Look What They Done To My Song
    (pp. 196-220)
    Marco Pustianaz

    The ontology and location of theatre have undergone many strange mutations over time. Its cultural status has also waxed and waned. On the one hand, notions such as theatricality or spectacle, whether intended positively or negatively, have tended to expand theatre beyond the strict confines of the performing arts and have turned it into a globalizing medium, occupying the whole of the social scene. On the other hand, ever since the rise of cinema, television and now digital media, theatre has often been depicted as an increasingly residual form, under siege from newer technologies of representation, as though theatre were,...

  17. Doubled Bodies and Live Loops On Ragnar Kjartanssonʹs Mediatized Performances
    (pp. 221-237)
    Eva Heisler

    Me and My Mother(2000, 2005, 2010) is a series of videos by the Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson (b. 1976), to which he intends to add an instalment every five years. The first three videos have already been made and show Kjartansson and his mother, the prominent Icelandic actress Gudrún Ásmundsdóttir, standing in front of the family bookshelf as the artist’s mother repeatedly spits on him.

    The series is an unsettling disruption of the relationship between actor and character: the spitting character is a professional actress following directionanda mother who is debasing her son. In the context of...

  18. Between Solitaire and a Basketball Game Dramaturgical Strategies in the Work of Antonia Baehr
    (pp. 238-248)
    Tom Engels

    Antonia Baehr is a Berlin-based choreographer, performer and filmmaker. She has created numerous performances with other choreographers and performers like William Wheeler, Valérie Castan and Lindy Annis. Characteristic is her non-disciplinary work and her way of collaborating with different people, using a game structure with switching roles: each person is alternately host and guest.

    Antonia Baehr’s work does not offer simple narratives. As a choreographer, she focuses on and isolates the seemingly mundane: an everyday movement or action. Like a surgeon, she dissects not only these acts but also the potential that is hidden within them. At a second level...

  19. Index of Subjects
    (pp. 249-255)
  20. Index of Names
    (pp. 256-264)
  21. Back Matter
    (pp. 265-265)