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Blackness as medium : body in contemporary theatre practice and theory


Sajewska, Dorota; Sosnowska, Dorota (2016). Blackness as medium : body in contemporary theatre practice and theory. Theatralia, 19(2):91-102.

Abstract

Our text presents the theoretical approach to the problems of body and technology in stage performance. The starting point is the status of the categories such as presence, ephemerality, immediacy of the (theatre) performance, radically undermined in the texts of performance studies scholars such as Rebecca Schneider, Amelia Jones or Philip Auslander. Utilizing examples of performances from young Polish theatre: Krzysztof Garbaczewski (b. 1983) and Radosław Rychcik (b. 1981), we juxtapose two functioning models of the body-technology relation on stage. The first – represented by Garbaczewski – is based on an understanding of the body as always mediated. It multiplies (undermines) the body's presence by use of audio-visual means. The second – Rychcik's case – is to push the theatrical presence of the body to the absolute maximum. In this case, the audio-visual layer is used to build a strong opposition to the actor's stage presence. The two examples are used to propose a new theoretical approach. We show that such stage phenomena are not only a sign of a (technological) reality shift, but also, a very important theoretical input in the understanding of theatre. We state that every single body on stage (no matter if consciously, as in Garbaczewski's case, or unconsciously as in the Rychcik's case) is already mediated and the use of technological tools is a way to play with this specific character of theatre corporeality. This broader perspective also incorporates elements of the political dimension of annexing media-mediated and media-manipulated corporeality, for it will follow the apparently transparent and natural dimension of such actions, whereby once again it will turn, as postulated by Jacques Rancière, aesthetic considerations into political considerations.

Abstract

Our text presents the theoretical approach to the problems of body and technology in stage performance. The starting point is the status of the categories such as presence, ephemerality, immediacy of the (theatre) performance, radically undermined in the texts of performance studies scholars such as Rebecca Schneider, Amelia Jones or Philip Auslander. Utilizing examples of performances from young Polish theatre: Krzysztof Garbaczewski (b. 1983) and Radosław Rychcik (b. 1981), we juxtapose two functioning models of the body-technology relation on stage. The first – represented by Garbaczewski – is based on an understanding of the body as always mediated. It multiplies (undermines) the body's presence by use of audio-visual means. The second – Rychcik's case – is to push the theatrical presence of the body to the absolute maximum. In this case, the audio-visual layer is used to build a strong opposition to the actor's stage presence. The two examples are used to propose a new theoretical approach. We show that such stage phenomena are not only a sign of a (technological) reality shift, but also, a very important theoretical input in the understanding of theatre. We state that every single body on stage (no matter if consciously, as in Garbaczewski's case, or unconsciously as in the Rychcik's case) is already mediated and the use of technological tools is a way to play with this specific character of theatre corporeality. This broader perspective also incorporates elements of the political dimension of annexing media-mediated and media-manipulated corporeality, for it will follow the apparently transparent and natural dimension of such actions, whereby once again it will turn, as postulated by Jacques Rancière, aesthetic considerations into political considerations.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, not_refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Slavonic Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:490 Other languages
410 Linguistics
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:16 Feb 2017 08:50
Last Modified:02 Feb 2018 12:21
Publisher:Faculty of Arts, Masaryk University
ISSN:1803-845X
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.5817/TY2016-2-5
Related URLs:http://hdl.handle.net/11222.digilib/135856

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