Spectacular Politics, Over-Identification and Monstrosity
Mo. 19.06.23 | 19:00 – 21:00
The theatre director and theorist Ani Vaseva, leading figure of the artistic collective Metheor, will introduce her concept of theatre of disorganisation in the light of the millenary old contest between philosophy and theatre for the privilege over truth.
Vaseva will focus on the contemporary entanglement of the concept of truth and theatrical practice, taking into account the appropriation of theatrical patterns by the new regimes of spectacularity (spectacular politics, media over-identification and production of monstrosity). Thus she will ultimately confront the tension between the contemporary modalities of theatrical representation and the performative regimes of production of truth.
Is Theatre the uncanny Land of the Monsters of Truth?
Vaseva’s lecture will be based on her book Theater and Truth (2021).
“In theatre, the zombie is a dead flesh that can live any life, but in the new media, in the very heart of spectacle, the zombie is an empty image, a dead flesh made to work, that cannot live a life other than the one prescribed by the medium. The first zombie can do anything, the other can only do one thing – be dead, be nothing. The “autonomously moving non-living”, in Debord’s terms, opens a possibility for theatre that is also political as such – the possibility of conceiving reality as an unstable, unfixed, plastic matter that can model itself beyond the limits of the imaginable.
In theatre, identification is an instrument of play, of uncertainty and potentiality. The “autonomously moving non-living“ in the world of the new social (indeed economic) media is a parasitic force that sucks the vitality from both its creators and its consumers, turning it into capital. In this world, (over)identification is a tool not for liberation but for fixation – for attaching market value to what is obstinate and elusive, which is captured and enslaved by being reduced to commodity. This world, of course, is the new world of the society of the spectacle described by Debord in his clairvoyant text.”
(Ani Vaseva, Theatre and Truth, pp. 477-478).
Ani Vaseva (Sofia, 1982) is theatre director and researcher. Co-founder of Metheor. Since her graduation from the National Theatre Academy in Sofia in 2009 she has directed more than twenty theatre productions. Part of her theatre texts have been published in Metheor. Collected Theatre Texts (co-author with Boyan Manchev) in 2018. Vaseva obtained her PhD in Theatre Studies at the Institute for the Arts, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, in 2014. Besides theatre author, Vaseva is also a theatre and dance scholar, academic teacher and translator. She published the books What is Contemporary Dance? (2017), Theatre and Truth (2020) and Metheor. Theatre of the Impossible (2022).