antecedents to the recent ds€ in participatory arts prncrices, Bishop

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antecedents to the recent ds€ in participatory arts prncrices, Bishop
antecedentsto the recent ds€ in participatory arts prncrices,Bishop resoundingty
reframesth€ current trend asa /rtl1rn, Iathei than a turn, io the sociat.
The entlralling journey the producl of sevenyeari research- is rnadeall the
more convincingby Bishopt indiscriminationbetweencanonicalmd obscure€xamples
ofpafiicipatoryarts,and her naintenance
of a 'Lacanian
fidelityto the singutarity
of
eachLartisticlproject'(p. 26).In eachcase,whetherit bethe wel hown s?rafe
of the
Italianluturists,whichsoughtto cuate a slmphonyolpoetry,paintingandsculpture
for someofthefirstnassaudiences,
or theactionsof MilanKniitk andAlexMtlniriik
in the1960s
andr97osinPragueandBratislava,
respectively,
whichpresent€d
avitalvoice
ofdissentagainsta violentauthoritarian
regime,Bishopdgles her piercinggazewith
precisionandinsight.dissecting
eachwork andc{pouding rhehistoricalandcultural
forcesthatledto its cr€ation.
Bishopendsby focusingher attentionon the growinginsrrumenralization
of
participatory arts in contemporary UK settings, which has typicaly focilqed on
disenfranchised
pafticipants.
or socialy'excluded'
Hercritiquehereistypicallyrigorous
andvaried,questioning
everyaspectofparricipatory
practice,
ftom its sef-deternined
and insularpnnmetersofiuccess' (which rejectcomparisonwith traditional art on the
onehandmd traditioDal
socialwork on the oiher)ro its dubiousgoalswhichdesire,
at
worst,that participants
simplynake a 'transitionacrossthe boundaryfrom excluded
to induded, lallowing them] to nccessthe holy grail of self-sufficientconsumerism'
(p. r3). Ultinately, Bishopprovidesuswith a rarething: an essentialcounrerreadingofa
contemporarytrand that renains reasoned,eloquentand siriking, resisringrhe urgero
slipinto therealrnof thepolemic.
TheareRe*rf.h jnl4ndionallo.r
by detailed
oudook),o
shouldadd
ptaying Ado
Eichinger\ l
foloved b!
work ofthis
ladenaffecti
doi rc.Dr7/soroi33:rr1ooo636
Der AIfekttueSchaapieler: Die bwgetik desPosttuamatischenTheatets.By
WoH-Di€terErnst. Berlin: Theaterder Zeit, 2or2.Pp.253+ 3']ilus. €22Pb.
Rel,ienedby CtuistapheColbra, FreeUnile\ity ol b ssek,[email protected]
With 'energy'asits primary leitmotiv, Wolf Dieter Ernsr'sstudy on the affectiveactor
takesno hostages
in thefomulation ofits centralclann,andit is rherefore
a rh€more
litting that the bookt mah conceitis entirely encapsulared
in its tide. To the authon
post &amatic theatreat heartbeatsto the pulseof the energyit exudesvia its one
vital constituent the actor.The openingchapter,entided'Der affekriveSchauspieler
als
"Theateftier"'(TheAffective
Actoras'Theatre
Animal'),stikesa conparable
dicursive
- drivedoubledby the bestialmotif it develops.
tnde€d,to Ernst,the aff€crive that is,
fiery,energetic,non-calculating
actoremrodiesnolessthan
oneofthemostchallenging
problensin contemporary
epistemological
theatrestudieson behalfoftheresistance
ro
conceptual
encapsrnadon
s/herepresents.
Structura[y, though, the books energystdrs ro lag ar quarter distance,after the
tust thematic ciuster of theoretically oriented chapters.This is not to say that the
four folioving parts are uninterestingor lessoriginal in theii own right, but simply
that readinger?eriencesmay veer Fon rhe action,packedinrellectuatrigour of the
Desift
Cambr
Pb.
ofthe piaysi
detailedcrit
Mdlowe's T
"history ne
aforeneDtioDediDtroductori/ section,over two similarly innovariveand corceptually
taut chapterson'Trialand liaining', to a rather sLl|prningsenseof imba]ancegenerated
by d€tailedyet primarily desc.iptivecasestudies.Another (rclatiye)point of cdticism
i{ouldconcernthcscarciry agair!withthedceptionofthefiIstthreechapre$ ot'.ross
ref€rencingbetweenthe book\ various s€ctions,just as the absenceofan overarching
condusion. On the whole, this is regrertablebecauseit unjustly din nishesthe bookt
heuristicreach.lustso,the concludingchapter,'Nachwot undAusblick' (Afteruordand
Outlook), offersyet anoth€rdescriptiv€analysisbefore abruprly trldng its leave.Mak€
no mistake,though, ih€ individual exanples of aiTectiveacring in - high-prolile, one
should add - post-dranatic productions are particularlvwell chosen.On top of rhat,
the decisioDto break up the book into two distinct pa.ts was an admitredlyconscious
one, rvherebyEmst urgesus to bear in mind the distinction betweeDthe afective actor
as concept and as concrete,biographicallyrooted €xterDalizationof artistic practjce
(p.23). Ac.ordingly, chapter,+tacklesthe technicaland moral challengesinherenr to
playing AdolfHitler by focusiDgin particular on Bruno Ganz'spcdomance in Bernd
Eicbjnget's Det Unkrsans (:oo+) before moving on to the countless Youlube spoofs ir
has spawned.Next up is Thomas Tieme'sinpersonation of the Dirty Rich charncterin
Luk Perceval's
highly subversiveShakespeare
adaptation/conflation?e11
OorloglG997),
followed by an analysisof the embodiedproblen of scenicinagination by the acrorin
Jan LauwerstrmasarofArfe.tr'? (2oo2).ChapterT,in tum, tacklesthc (re)preseDtation
of affectvia a critical takeon capitalismin KatjaBrirklet scencoffury in Ren€Pollescht
Liebeist Kalter aLsdas Kaptt"l (2ooz),beforethe 'Nachsort und Ausblick'rerurnsto the
work of this German director to state itr linal clajm: in post .lraDratic theatre, energy
ladenaffectiveperformancesexpressthe (verbally)inevressible,and soenablea dialogue
thattraDscendsrational considerations(p.2rl)- a bit like this book, then.
TheareRs.rrht
jdiorrt10,
dot:rororTisoroT3srnrolo6e3
Desire and Dramatic Forn in Ea f Modetn Ensla"d. By ludith Hab€r.
Ca bddge: CambridgeUniversityPress,2oo9.Pp. xi + 2r2.!49/g9o Hb, tr5l$45
Pb.
Reyieli,edby Bridn Schneider,Uni,/ersify of Manchener,
br i d n.schfl ei der @n anchen er.ac.uk
Haber is a superb dose readerand her book consistentiyresistsconventionalreadings
ofthe playssheexamines,manyofwhich are non ShakespeareaD
and haveonlyenjo)€d
detailedcritical attention in more recentdecades.Her early chapterson Christopher
Matlo\res Tanberlaine and Edward arc patti.ll]:arly impressive in this regard, iyhile
her keen eye consistentlynotes the telling d€tail or the repcateduse of a word or
phrasewhosecumxlativeeffectbolst€rsthe argumentsheis making. The bookt overall
thrust seemsto b€ torvardsqueeing and feminizing Renaissance
dramaticformi Haber
clains in her introduction that 'one of the impLicationsof ltbjs] reork is that narrarive
"history" necessailypartal{esofthe sameculturally createdconnectionsto patriarchal,
heteroeroticDrascuhnityar all narratives,and needsto be radically reconceivedif it