Joe Kelleher

Title: We do not move in one direction

Abstract: For the symposium I have adapted a piece of writing I produced very recently for a new editorial project Mont Analog, a web- and publication-project on “relations between performance and theoretical thinking” produced by young artists and scholars from Bulgaria and Italy. The first issue of Mont Analog is dedicated to the theme of futurity. My own contribution is a short piece of writing in three parts. The main part reflects on a recent philosophical work, Quentin Meillassoux’s After Finitude: an Essay on the Necessity of Contingency (Continuum 2008), reading this text not so much as philosophy perhaps but as critical theory that provokes the imagining of a ‘theatre of thinking’ that refuses a certain neo-Kantian logic of relationality, whose mise-en-scene is characterised by a worldly indifference – in Meillassoux’s words – ‘to everything in it that corresponds to the concrete, organic connection that we forge with it.’ This reading is supplemented by other materials: found texts from the published diraries of film-maker Andrey Tarkovsky; a scenario from a recent text by historian Marie-José Mondzain that posits the historical birth of the spectator from an image-making gesture in a pre-historic French cave; and a reading of a self-portrait sketch by the painter Pontormo. This eclectic set of texts and images are gathered together as the raw materials for a meditative dramaturgy that reflects on the scene of theatre’s thinking as a site of (missed) encounter between image-makers and spectators, where acts of ‘participation’ in another’s work are variously – if fleetingly – figured as imaginary projection, wilful intervention, and attempts at ethical care.

Bio: Joe Kelleher is Professor of Theatre and Performance. He is currently also Head of Subject for Drama, Theatre and Performance. His research interests are in contemporary theatre and performance, with a key interest in the forms of critical practice that might speak to particular performance rhetorics. A central theme of his work has been a concern with structures of theatrical persuasion, both within and beyond the professional theatre. His focus over the last few years has largely been on European performance, with a special attachment to work being produced over the last decade or so in northern Italy. His recent publications include: The Theatre of Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio (Routledge, 2007) with Nicholas Ridout and the core members of SRS: Chiara Guidi, Claudia Castellucci, and director Romeo Castellucci, and Contemporary Theatres in Europe: A Critical Companion (Routledge, 2006) co-edited with Nicholas Ridout. 

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