Paper presented to the Scenography Working Group at the International Federation of Theatre Research Annual Conference in Munich July 2010.
The paper is to be published in a book titled Performing Site Specific Theatre, edited by Dr Anna Birch and Professor Joanne Tompkins.
|Type of Research:||Conference, Symposium or Workshop Item (Paper)|
|Additional Information (Publicly available):|
The conference aimed to involve scholars and graduate students of various international universities as well as theatre practitioners.
During the final years of the nineteenth and the first decades of the twentieth century Munich was without doubt one of the most important cities in Europe in terms of artistic innovation. A birthplace of theatrical modernism, theatre historians associate with it Georg Fuchs’ Munich Art Theatre (Münchner Künstlertheater) and the Prinzregententheater, both of which became much admired examples of a new kind of theatrical architecture, and the Munich Kammerspiele which represents one of the most spectacular examples of Art Nouveau intimate theatre. The city also hosted the birth of political cabaret in Germany (Frank Wedekind and the Elf Scharfrichter). The list of modernist artists and writers associated with the city reads like a Who’s Who of Modernism: The Blue Rider School (Der Blaue Reiter), Bertolt Brecht, Ödön von Horvàth, Karl Valentin, Thomas Mann, Lion Feuchtwanger.
It was the principal aim of the conference to take its title – Cultures of Modernity – quite literally and ask how at the beginning of the twenty-first century the premises and promises of modernity and modernism have played out in an international, cross-cultural perspective. Taking the lead from recent books such as Fredric Jameson’s A singular Modernity: Essay on the Ontology of the Present (2002), the conference wished to broaden the focus from a narrow view of aesthetic modernism and explore the impact of the triad modernism – modernity – modernization from the perspective of theatre and performance. Adapting Jameson, the following definitions were taken as a starting point:
Modernism refers to the artistic movement emerging at the end of the nineteenth century and extending, depending on the artistic genre, into the second half of the 20th century; Modernity refers to the intellectual, technological and economic revolution beginning in the eighteenth century that enabled Europe and North America to dominate most of the world by the end of nineteenth century; Modernization refers to a mid-twentieth-century ideology, associated mainly with the postcolonial period, by which ‘underdeveloped’ countries were ‘assisted’ into the industrial age.
Consequently, the notion of ‘multiple modernities (Eisenstadt) refers mainly to the spatialization and de-linearization of modernity, but also leads to its immanent complexities, according to this terminological triad. A confrontation of the three conceptual branches of ‘Modernity’ with each other poses new questions concerning the adequacy of a notion like modernity for different socio-cultural processes, its relation to historical contingency, with different concepts of historiography and of cross-cultural transfer: How is modernism (as a historical phenomenon) linked to the socio-cultural revolution called modernity and to the (still ongoing?) process of modernization as a main subject of twentieth century global politics and political theories?
The conference thus aims to go beyond just discussing the historical and historiographical implications and problems of the term ‘modernity’. The main interest lies in its spatialization, on the impact of (post)colonialism on constructions of modernity/the modern, and on modernist self-fashionings. For the realms of theatre and performance this pluralization has multiple implications that impact on just about every aspect of the medium and its intersections with other social, political, cultural and economic domains.
|Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed:||Performance, scenography, site specific, Duchess of Malfi, John Webster, Jacobean tragedy|
|Your affiliations with UAL:||Colleges > Wimbledon College of Art|
|Event Location:||Munich, Germany|
|Projects or Series:||Research Outputs Review (April 2010 - April 2011)|
|Deposited By:||Prerna Bhatt|
|Deposited On:||10 Feb 2012 13:46|
|Last Modified:||10 Feb 2012 13:46|