Live Update: Theatricality and Staging
16.00 AB: After Q&A’s to the panel, the talk comes to an end. Pil & Galia sparking the most interest with their post-Fordist ideas of theatricality, and provocative inclusion of an except from Brian de Palma’s Be Black, Baby (1970). Running almost 30mins over time, discussion chair Bridget Crone refers any outstanding queries to refer to the newly released publication The Sensible Stage.
15.28 TME: They are focussing on the ‘dialectical gap’ between the audience and the actors. They relate how Benjamin notes of Brecht’s work how this division is shed light on with the inversion of actor and audience described by Benjamin as being architecturally manifest between the ‘stage and the street’. Galia updates this model by saying that in late capitalism this theatrical role play reversion is inscribed into conditions of labour. They use the example of the phone sex worker. This then makes the whole Benjamin /Brecht debates irrelevant now, so they are asking in their presentation, what to do now?
15.26 AB: A wealth of references here, Brecht, Walter Banjamin, Brian de Palma.
15.23 AB: Final presentation from Pil and Galia Kollectiv, starting by identifying the dialectical problem of theatre, explaining why they think this particular formulation is problematic today, and to suggest a different version of dialectics following Badiou.
15.11 TME: Vanesa Desclaux is now speaking. She talks of her practice as a curator as one defined by a movement between different material platforms: the text, the presentation, representation, the voice. Marguerite Duras and Marc Camille Chaimowicz are important points of theoretical contact. These post-structuralists just repeat the same formula about gaps, borders and encounters that don’t have fixed representational determination (language/image/ format). But, stuck in the gap, as it were, where is there the possibility of agency, and communication with those whose might choose to operate ‘within the text’? It can never be compelling apart from in its poetics of absence.
15.06 AB: For Gibson, theatricality is presented through movement, where movement acts as a distancing device, allowing for “shifts in perception”, to see the world as “more staged”.
14.59 TME: Now describing her film ‘Agatha’ [see link below] in which the protagonist visits a planet where the inhabitants don’t speak but rather communicate via
a language orientated around movement
14.55 AB: Beatrice Gibson, ‘A Neccessary Music’, 2009
14.51 AB: Beatrice Gibson describing her work: film as a social process, script as a collective composition, opposing the idea of a single author. Clips from her work follow…
14.45 TME: Further to that the idea of theatre as produced by a clash between the text and the body.
14.42 AMY BUDD: Bridget Crone quoting from Alain Badiou to underpin her reading of theatricality:
I think that there is a theatre when there is a public exhibition, with or without a stage.
14.38 THOMAS MORGAN EVANS: Introductions. Themes of performance, time and event. Questions: when is the image live? When and how is it connected to the body?
14.00 ISLA LEAVER-YAP: For the first talk in the LUX/ICA Biennial, Theatricality and Staging, Amy Budd and Thomas Morgan Evans report on the unfolding panel discussion from the ICA Theatre, London. Chaired by curator and writer Bridget Crone, the panel features curator Vanessa Desclaux, artist Beatrice Gibson, and Pil and Galia Kollectiv. Here’s what the programme says it’s going to be about:
Recent debates have disrupted and complicated the separation between theatre and performance, but what do these debates mean for the moving image – how does the image itself become live and material in form? A distinguished panel tackles subjects raised in The Sensible Stage: Staging the Moving Image, a new collection of essays edited by Bridget Crone.
We saw the Sensible Stage performances in the theatre last night (presentations by Gail Pickering, Annabel Frearson and Cara Tolmie), we’ve got the book, and now we have a number of questions of our own:
- What role does documentation play in the transition between theatre and the moving image?
- Is there a disavowal of the need for an audience when moving image incorporates theatre?
- If the notion of ‘liveness’ can be seen as something co-constituted by the audience and the work, to what extent is the viewer also complicit in constructing and upholding the hierarchies that exist between different forms of mediation such as the internet / performance / television, regarding their claims to this live quality?