Aesthetics of Absence

Texts on Theatre

Aesthetics of Absence

Aesthetics of Absence presents a significant challenge to the many embedded assumptions and hierarchical structures that have become ‘naturalised’ in western theatre production. This is the first English translation of a new collection of writings and lectures by Heiner Goebbels, the renowned German theatre director, composer and teacher. These writings map Goebbels’ engagement with ‘Aesthetics of Absence’ through his own experience at the forefront of innovative music-theatre and performance making. In this volume, Goebbels reflects on works created over a period of more than 20 years staged throughout the world; introduces some of his key artistic influences, including Robert Wilson and Jean-Luc Godard; discusses the work of his students and ex-students, the collective Rimini Protokoll; and sets out the case for a radical rethinking of theatre and performance education. He gives us a rare insight into the rehearsal process of critically acclaimed works such as Eraritjaritjaka and Stifters Dinge, explaining in meticulous detail the way he weaves an eclectic range of references from fine art, theatre, literature, politics, anthropology, contemporary and classical music, jazz and folk, into his multi-textured music-theatre compositions. As an artist who is prepared to share his research and demystify the processes through which his own works come into being, as a teacher with a coherent pedagogical strategy for educating the next generation of theatre-makers, in this volume, Goebbels brings together practice, research and scholarship.

Performance: pt. 1. Identity and the self

Performance: pt. 1. Identity and the self

This collection reflects not only the multidisciplinary nature of current thinking about performance, but also the complex and contested nature of the concept itself.

Defining Dress

Dress as Object, Meaning, and Identity

Defining Dress

This collection of essays brings together many separate but related issues which form the focus of contemporary research into the history of dress. Historically, in Britain at least, investigations of dress were primarily informed by historical and empirical protocols, although the symbolic meaning of dress was explored by anthroplogists and sociologists, who tended to concentrate on either non-Western cultures or British or Western sub-cultures. In recent years these approaches have moved closer together partly as a result of the impact of feminism.

Tourists of History

Memory, Kitsch, and Consumerism from Oklahoma City to Ground Zero

Tourists of History

DIVStudy of how the memorials created in Oklahoma City and at the World Trade Center site raise questions about the relationship between cultural memory and consumerism./div

The Aesthetics of Desire and Surprise

Phenomenology and Speculation

The Aesthetics of Desire and Surprise

The Aesthetics of Desire and Surprise: Phenomenology and Speculation covers issues central to contemporary continental philosophy (desire, expectations, excess, rupture, transcendence, immanence, surprise). The proposed term desire||surprise captures the phenomenological-speculative character of the pair not yet and no longer. Non-obvious parallels between different thinkers are drawn, and the argumentation is organized around philosophical figures relevant in the sequence desire – excess –pause (rupture, break) – recuperation (surprise). The works of Levinas, Žižek, Bataille, Blanchot, Foucault, and Ricoeur are interpreted and positioned according to the proposed template of desire - excess - pause. The consideration of limit experiences involves authors fascinated by transgression, and the question of whether excess is immanent or transcendent. This discussion considers works by Nietzsche, Deleuze, Žižek, and Foucault. The analysis of surprise and the beginning of recovery after the pause considers works by Fink, Merleau-Ponty, Nancy, Lyotard, Dufrenne, Bachelard, and Seel. The provocative argument elaborated in this work is that surprise starts with indifference. Furthermore, the argument is that surprise begins where the concept reaches its ending, hence that the limit of speculative thinking at its ending is the limit of aesthetics at its beginning. The work of Hegel, Schelling and Jaspers are discussed in order to argue for the beginning of aesthetics there where knowledge ends. Philosophical thematic is contextualized via sections on artists such as Duchamp and Mondrian, and on some films, provoking interest of aestheticians working in art history and cultural studies departments.

Art and Fear

Art and Fear

Traces the twin development of art and science over the twentieth century. In the author's provocative and challenging vision, art and science vie with each other for the destruction of the human form as we know it. It is aimed at those wondering where art has gone and where science is taking us.

The Gendered Object

The Gendered Object

From Barbie and Action Man to guns via bicycles, perfume and trainers, The gendered object is an intriguing collection of new writing on the way in which objects of everyday life are made socially acceptable and 'appropriate' for women or men. What does the Strawberry Shortcake doll tell us about views of the adult female body? When does the necktie become anti-establishment? How does a woman relate to a washing machine? And can a hearing aid really be gendered? These questions are answered and many others raised in this entertaining study of design for men and women.

The Aesthetics of Decay

Nothingness, Nostalgia, and the Absence of Reason

The Aesthetics of Decay

In The Aesthetics of Decay, Dylan Trigg confronts the remnants from the fallout of post-industrialism and postmodernism. Through a considered analysis of memory, place, and nostalgia, Trigg argues that the decline of reason enables a critique of progress to emerge. In this ambitious work, Trigg aims to reassess the direction of progress by situating it in a spatial context. In doing so, he applies his critique of rationality to modern ruins. The derelict factory, abandoned asylum, and urban alleyway all become allies in Trigg's attack on a fixed image of temporality and progress. The Aesthetics of Decay offers a model of post-rational aesthetics in which spatial order is challenged by an affirmative ethics of ruin.