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Author Zack, William J
Title Non-representational performance and spectating consciousness: The play of Dis-plays (Gutai artists, Japan, Living Theatre, Elizabeth Streb, Leslie Scalapino)
book jacket
Descript 374 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 66-11, Section: A, page: 3868
Adviser: Jean-Marie Apostlides
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Stanford University, 2006
This dissertation examines action-based art and theatrical performances that utilize artistic strategies of abstraction and the assertion of actuality in order to circumvent portrayal. Proposing a Weberian ideal concept of Dis-play, which opposes the conventional Play form that haunts most studies of theatrical performance, I argue throughout that it is possible to sidestep mimetic representation and effect a socially valuable non-Aristotelian catharsis of perceptual disruption
In the opening chapters I examine the threats posed to critical thinking by the legacy of theatrical naturalism and by the increase in technologies of simulation, arguing that action-based art such as performance must arrest and confront spectators with phenomenological actuality rather than distract them via aesthetic fantasy. These chapters critique the aesthetic theories of mimesis as put forth by Aristotle and Plato by examining the teleology of catharsis as it relates to the modes of both representational drama and non-representational poetry. I follow this theoretical framework with an overview of twentieth-century attempts to overthrow the strangehold of mimetically representational performance, focusing on the critical reception of American Modern Dance and various European artists such as the Symbolists, Pirandello, Brecht, and the Absurdists
In the remaining chapters, I analyze in detail how specific artists have employed strategies of abstract treatment and the assertion of actuality as well as the perceptually disruptive consequences their artworks effect in spectators. I first explore the work of the Gutai artists working in Japan in the 1950s, positing that their works disrupt spectators' notions of time by creating traces of action reduced to forms. My next exploration considers four productions of the Living Theatre, whose pursuit of a sincere form of acting began with poetic texts, moved on to realistic portrayals and ended with a complete rejection of mimetic representation. The next chapter analyzes the impact of Elizabeth Streb's Pop Action choreographic structures on spectators' sensations of time, identity and authority. My final chapter, an examination of the insufficient poetic texts of Leslie Scalapino, considers whether it is possible to transform writing into action through non-representational performance
School code: 0212
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 66-11A
Subject Theater
Art History
Alt Author Stanford University
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