Diana Damian Martin and Wendy Hubbard, 21 November 2013Posted: 15 November 2013
London Theatre Seminar
Postgraduate panel, Autumn 2013
Thursday, 21 November, 6.30-8.30pm
Court Room, 1st floor, University of London Senate House
This paper explores criticism as a meeting point between critical theory and political philosophy. Drawing on the work of Jacques Rancière (particularly his conceptualisation of politics as dissensus and a strategy for the re-distribution of the ‘sensible’), I suggest an approach that might posit criticism as a political process in and of itself. I will engage in a brief examination of notions of interpretation, judgment and action inherent in this situatedness. I will then extend my identification of criticism as political event by considering how further notions of policing, resistance and appearance might offer an insight into the politics of contemporary judgment. After some methodological consideration of the wider framework of my study, I will close by addressing the question of critical practice in light of this new theoretical orientation. Criticism will thus be contextualised as a process at the meeting point between the legislated, the public and the visible.
Diana Damian Martin is a London-based performance critic, curator and dramaturg. She is currently a funded PhD candidate at Royal Holloway, University of London, examining contemporary performance criticism through the lens of political philosophy. She writes about theatre and performance for a range of publications, is Managing Editor of Royal Holloway’s first practice based research publication, Guest Editor for postgraduate journal Platform and Performance Editor for Exeunt Magazine. She is a Visiting Lecturer at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and co-founder of WritingShop, a long-term collaborative project examining the processes and politics of contemporary critical practice. dianadamian.com
This paper comes out of research into what I consider a burgeoning trend: works of theatre and performance that explicitly foreground the relationships between performers. In this paper I consider this trend by focusing in on two productions by Salford based theatre company Quarantine. Susan and Darren (2007) is performed by a mother and son. Entitled (2011) draws attention to long-term friendships amongst a company of professional theatre makers. Relational art has specialized in making meaning out of fleeting encounters between strangers. In contrast, these performances frame intimate relationships that sustain. Can such performances point to fault-lines in the dominant political and philosophical paradigms around property and subject-hood? What (work) is love doing on the contemporary stage? I argue that Quarantine’s work brings into focus our radical dependence on others for meaning and for company and that these performances are unusually able to expose what Jean-Luc Nancy calls ‘exposure’: re-raising questions about the political implications of an existential interdependence.
Wendy is a PhD researcher in the Drama Department at Queen Mary, University of London, where she holds an AHRC studentship. She is a practising director and dramaturg. Her research interests include the politics of authorship and amateurism, and philosophies of language and nonsense. Her article ‘Falling Faint: On Syncopated Spectatorship and The Author’ appears in the issue of Performance Research ‘On Falling’.