Beyond postmodernity and under the effects of globalisation, performance practices and their mechanisms have diversified. If, decades ago, there was talk about combining conferences with dance, recitals with rock, or comedy with opera, nowadays the temptation to produce hybrids is also shot through with the new developments in hypermedia and virtual reality. As a consequence, aesthetic experience has been pluralised. Today we speak of ‘theatre in the expanded field’. Looking out on all the possibilities of visual culture – including practices such as the living arts, which up to now have been marginalised in the institutional and academic field – is not only a sine qua non for genuine erudition, but also an incentive to the versatility of creative artists and the search for their own voice. Moreover, the module involves the presence of a variety of invited artists and academics who will interact with the students so as to establish shared, participative experiences, in order to transmit the foundations of their poetics and help students to discover their own.
Theoretical and conceptual foundations of contemporary artistic investigation (4.5 ECTS)
This class expands the channels of enquiry into the contemporary stage, going beyond traditional analyses and facilitating understanding of complex phenomena (plays, processes of creation and reception). In order to do this, some of the latest theories and conceptual systems will be analysed, and the student will become familiar with useful perspectives for undertaking research projects.
Simone TRECCA (SAPIENZA)
Introduction: From semiology to the return of poetics
The seminar proposes a journey through the main currents of theatrical research from the 20th century to the present day, from the rise of semiology to the return of poetics. We will look at semiological studies that –applied to theatre – investigated the differences between literary text and dramatic text, in search of the systems of verbal and nonverbal signs that are the backbone of dramatic communication, and we will analyse recent contributions to the study of modern theatrical poetics by Jean Pierre Sarrazac (The Drama in Becoming: Contemporary Dramatic Writings, Intimate Theatres, The Theater Critic, The Disenchantment Utopia, Poetics of Modern Drama, etc), among other authors.
Pierre PIRET (Université Catholique de Louvain [UCL])
Theatrical studies and Freudian-Lacanian psychoanalysis
Aesthetic experience (on stage in particular) appeals to our representations, beliefs and knowledge; our perceptive, emotive and intellectual faculties. How can we transmit this complex experience without reducing or diminishing it? How can we develop a discourse that can explain not only what the work means, but how it affects each and every one of those involved in the creative project? There is no creation without discourse or theorising. Freudian-Lacanian psychoanalysis takes note of this essential postulate and proposes a whole series of valid concepts to account for our aesthetic experiences. To initiate ourselves in this theoretical orientation, we will put forward rich and complex material such as La Musica Deuxième by Marguerite Duras, a text that, on the one hand, opposes discourse and, on the other, multiplies it. Combining analysis, theory and practice, we will try to activate this text, using the propositions of Jacques Lacan as a guide.
Claudio Castro Filho
Form and concept in creative processes
The dialogue between formal structures and poetic approaches constitutes the axis of creative processes and, in particular, of creative performance. The contradiction lies in the fact that artistic thought is not governed by a Cartesian methodology, but opens up indeterminate ways of structuring and conceptualising. This seminar aims to investigate the problem of form and concept in creative processes by inquiring into the relationship between art and epistemology. Taking the propositions of Umberto Eco (The Open Work: Form and Indeterminacy in Contemporary Art) and Gaston Bachelard (The Poetics of Reverie) as a starting-point, we will explore the presence of accidental processes in creative practice.
Poetics of the body (4.5 ECTS)
The thinking and practice associated with corporeality are the starting point for a module that examines different forms of language and poetics, focusing on their constituent elements: breathing, time, space and composition. Likewise, it addresses specific milestones of choreographic creation and dance which have had a broad impact on diverse areas of study such as philosophy. This encourages students to listen to choreography, and urges them to use the body as an active interpretative platform.
Roberto FRATINI (INSTITUT DEL TEATRE)
Introduction: The Dramaturgy of Movement
This seminar offers an articulate definition of the concept of the dramaturgy of dance (and, in general, ‘silent dramaturgy’) with abundant references to the analogies between the paradigms of meaning of said dramaturgy and the most timeless of mythopoeic paradigms. It addresses the historical reasons for the emergence of this dramaturgical typology; the poetic enclaves in which it was conceived, especially since the 1980s (with reference to Tanztheater in particular); its different formats (including Agamben’s apparatus*); and the possible discussion of the dialectical tension between the dramaturgical and the performative.
Jaime CONDE SALAZAR
The Performativity of Incarnation
Under this heading, we approach the question of the performativity of incarnation – that is, the presentation of the flesh. What kind of reality is produced by the body exposed as flesh/carnality? The representation of the body of Christ within Baroque culture will be taken both as a case study and as the starting-point from which we will approach skin, touch and gaze as a consequence of the desire of the skin. Going beyond the idea of ‘naturalism’ appropriate to the story of the history of art, ideas will be put forward to reflect on the dramatic opportunity that the exhibition of skin gives rise to. In the National Museum of Sculpture (Valladolid), we will take as examples the works of Berruguete, Juni and Gregorio Fernández, in addition to other key works relating to the representation of the flesh.
Perception, Emotion and Thought in Action
This seminar proposes an investigation of the corporeal reality of the participants themselves. We will investigate the relationship of the body with the development of our perception of reality, our sensitive positioning within it and its influence on our thinking and creative task. The seminar will be developed within a conceptual framework related to the phenomenology of perception expressed by the philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and to Thomas Hanna’s somatic reading of the central aspects of his work. Within this context, priority will be given to first-person experience, in which the object of exploration – the terra incognita of our bodies – and the subject of the exploration coincide.
Textual surfaces (4.5 ECTS)
'Textual surfaces' deals with the practices of writing and playwriting that lie beyond central poetics. The text is considered as an interwoven fabric or latticework. How can such density of signs and symbols in a score, a device, a theatrical text or a show be arranged? We are invited to think about language as a territory of what is possible and thinkable, without losing sight of the materiality of words (their possibilities and aesthetic uses) and verbal occurrences.
María VELASCO (ESADCyL)
Introduction: Contemporary Stage Writings
Thanks to the path undertaken from the end of the nineteenth century through to post-dramatic theatre, the overcoming of text-centrism on the stage has not demotivated the dramatist, or even the author of the text. As the scholar Eduardo Pérez Rasilla affirms, the word – freed from its functional tasks relating to dramatic action – has regained its material visibility and has gained new possibilities and aesthetic uses on stage. Based on the theoretical framework supported by – among others – Lyotard, Sarrazac and Lehmann, and taking examples of new dramaturgy as a starting-point, the student will start to explore experimental textual practices.
Jonathan CHÂTEL (UCL)
Dramaturgy from non-theatrical text materials
Taking as a reference non-theatrical textual materials (novels, poems, film scripts, documentary materials) this seminar will aim to introduce thinking into the practice of contemporary theatrical writing, in which adaptation, rewriting and research hold a prominent position. We will begin by studying, for example, Krystian Lupa’s adaptation of Kafka, the work of Guy Cassiers on the contemporary novel, the poetic breach of Anja Hilling’s dramaturgy, and Milo Rau’s documentaries. Exercises will be set on the relationship between the page and the stage, between text and the elements of the theatrical language.
Borja ORTIZ DE GONDRA
Self-fiction as a dramaturgical tool
In post-dramatic theatre, there has been a proliferation of non-fiction on stage, and stage creators have lost their inhibitions when it comes to speaking in the first person from their deepest self. But that ‘I’ that we put on the stage: is it the same ‘I’ that makes confessions in our diaries? Is the extra element of truth in autobiographical materials enough to interest the spectator? Given that our goal should always be to communicate, how can we avoid falling into narcissism and exhibitionism? In this seminar we will work on the generation of stage materials using stories, objects, memories and dreams of our own, focusing on the fine line between the real and the fictional, and exploring how to make something intimate into something collective and transmissable so that it has artistic value.
Living arts (4.5 ECTS)
‘Living arts’ explores the contemporary forms of artistic expression that have emerged on the margins of theatricality and that constitute hybrid languages, resistant in their heterogeneity to any typification or canonical analysis. Artistic explorations (installations, soirees, actions, performances, site-specific events …) that, renouncing convention, blur the limits between art and life – favouring playfulness, rituality or activism – will be analysed and documented.
Introduction: Living arts, past and present
The living arts recover the spirit of the avant-garde; theatre as an event in which body and space are the main drivers. This movement has its origin in the artistic experiences of the sixties, and today is at the very centre of experimental creation. In this seminar we will trace an itinerary from the origins of these manifestations to the present day. We will also investigate the representation and materialisation of the thought of the creators in situations that break with established theatrical convention, thus placing themselves on the front line of the genre.
Community and possible worlds in the living arts
This seminar offers a research space on the basis of the dialogue between discursive and social practices, based on two seminal texts: Jean Baudrillard’s Seduction (1990) and A nuestros amigos (2015) by Comité Invisible. Taking these texts as our starting-point, we will work on the subjective and critical dimension of the participants, each considering himself/herself as a being susceptible to aesthetic information, a thinking body and body-archive. The exploration will place special emphasis on the relationship between word and body (transverse dramaturgical works) and automatic writing through physical exercises. Using this practice as a basis, the political and ethical dimension of the body and its relationship/confrontation with the body of the other will be analysed.
Antonio OLAIO (UC)
Marcel Duchamp: Aesthetic experience and expanded reflection of the concept of the individual
Taking Duchamp's works as a starting-point and considering the relationship between the everyday and its decontextualisation (readymades), this seminar will explore the conceptual games in operation through performance, understanding the latter as a singular act that gives visibility to gestures that – in other media – would lack relevance. In the seminar we will look at commentary on Duchamp’s images and examples of performances, with the aim of fostering new artistic projects that the students will be able to try out in their speculative dimension, independently of their effective realisation.
The staging of unstable elements
The purpose of this seminar is both to reflect on the evolution of the treatment of everyday objects and other elements on the contemporary stage, and to self-observe and investigate how some of these forms may have an impact on the practice of each participant. We will start by looking at some of the propositions that prompted the appearance of the so-called ‘theatre of objects’ in the 1980s. We will then go on to explore various creative premises concerning ‘object-centrism’ and its poetics in order to draw up a roadmap of terminology, tactics and referents concerning the inanimate: contemporary bio-objects, stage micrologies, live film animation, documentary objects, etc.
Musical and sonic territories (4.5 ECTS)
This class looks at the changes in music from the 20th century to the present day, drawing on research and experimentation based on all the parameters to which it is subject (harmonic, rhythmic, tonal, melodic, acoustic) and on the modifications that have affected its production, diffusion and reception in the digital age. What are the premises and challenges of new forms of musical composition? Who are they aimed at? How do they interrelate with other arts?
Maite FERRER (VIU)
Introduction: For a contemporary look at music
Musical thought underwent a radical change in the 20th century thanks to the epistemological contributions of Carl Dahlhaus. His hermeneutic vision of the history of music generates the concept of ‘musical fact’ comprehended as the understanding of the context in which music performed a function. This understanding implies a complementary view of the subject, which would be the view ‘from within’, and that of the object, which would be the view ‘from without’. In this way, the concept of ‘musical work’ – the object on which the history of music had hitherto been constructed – is diluted in the musical ‘meaning’ derived from the intention of the composer, the idea of the historian and the source. The Dahlhaus conception proposes the understanding of the work of art from its own creative process, thus aligning itself with the postulates of contemporary artistic forms.
Antonio NOTARIO (Universidad de Salamanca [USAL])
We do it unconsciously and all the time: we inhabit the interior of sound. A sound that only exists in listening, like its reverse: silence. Listening, silence and sound are interwoven in music. We are – or at least we can be – in that network of invisibilities that, nevertheless, affect us at the core of our intimacy, in our deepest self. Bach, Cage, Haydn, Mozart, Schoenberg, Stravisnky, Strozzi, von Bingen and Weill knew it, as did Berceo, Bachmann, García Lorca, Gil Albert, Gil de Biedma, González, Hierro, Szymborska and Whitman. With them, and also with Adorno, Hegel, Nietzsche; with the sound landscapes of Schafer and, above all, with the potentialities and experiences of each participant on the course, new possibilities will be sought to inhabit sound, to activate listening, to identify music and to relish silence.
Jordi PONS (Valencian International University [VIU])
From the project of the total work of art to the criticism of languages: Arnold Schoenberg
The theatre is the privileged space for the convergence and interaction of diverse artistic expressions. The composer Arnold Schönberg, like his friend the painter Vassily Kandinsky, is by no means alien to the romantic and Wagnerian project of the Gesamtkunstwerk. But neither is he to that which implicitly questions it: the philosophical inquiry into the limits of the scope of language, a question which, in the case of Schoenberg – of Jewish origin – ends up being raised in the aesthetic-theological sphere.