Starting from two art projects (Tanja Ostojic’s o.T and Ibrahim Quraishi/Serdan Yalcin’s Mozart alla Turca) this text argues for the potential of the theater and theatricality to destabilize the binary opposition of self and other that is constitutive of what Kaja Silverman (1992, 30) terms the “dominant fiction” that is our reality. These two art projects, one taking place shortly after the other in Vienna (at that time the cultural capital of Europe) were not planned in tandem. Yet, there appear to be some uncanny points of connection. Both use a restaging of a classic work of European culture to engage with the ways in which we legitimize behavior in global space. Both deal with how culturally specific modes of looking mediate what is considered to be “self” and what is “other.” Both use staging as a means to engage with the here and now of their audience and to destabilize seemingly self-evident modes of looking. Such destabilization, this text argues, results from the ways in which theatricality undermines seemingly self-evident modes of looking by drawing attention to the point of view implied within what otherwise might pass for “just looking” at what is simply “there to be seen.”
Relocating the Body in Contemporary Performing Art
Edited by Maaike Bleeker, Steven De Belder, Kaat Debo, Luk Van den Dries and Kurt Vanhoutte
This book deals with the body in contemporary (performing) arts. The focus is on exploring theoretical avenues and developing new concepts to grasp corporeal images more accurately. This theoretical research is confronted with the voice of artists whose work explicitly deals with the body. In-depth interviews with a.o. Meg Stuart, Wim Vandekeybus, Romeo Castellucci, Jerôme Bel reveal a very broad range of views on the (re)presentation of the body in today’s performing arts. The combination of these two voices –the theoretician’s and the artist’s -shows that research by artists and cultural scientists is perfectly complementary.