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Rethinking the Spectator. Theory and Critique in Performance Practices

9 de diciembre de 2010 - 31 de marzo de 2011 - 7:30 p.m. /
Nouvel Building, Auditorium 200
Repensar el espectador. Teoría y crítica de las prácticas performativas
Repensar el espectador. Teoría y crítica de las prácticas performativas

In the fields of sociology and anthropology it has often been pointed out that the aestheticization of the real has turned everyday life into a kind of theatre and individuals in contemporary society into spectators of themselves. How is it possible to identify the particularity of performing arts spectators in this context? What is the specificity of the performing arts?

In contemporary theatre substantial changes have occurred: on the one hand, the condition of spectator has become auto-reflexive, with the very act of looking constituting the main theme of a series of projects in the performing arts. The audience has become aware of itself and also of its action and responsibility with regard to the work, especially as a result of the influence of conceptual art and the incorporation of certain aspects of post-structuralism into the realm of performative creation. And on the other hand, with the more performative direction taken by art, with notions such as "open work," the piece (not just the performing arts piece) ceases to be a product and becomes an event in which the spectator is involved both in the creation of meaning and in all the factors that the creation of community entails. The work, to put it briefly, becomes something that occurs between creators and spectators.

Subsequent developments in these tendencies have given shape to notions such as relational aesthetics, the active spectator, the emancipated spectator, the importance of communicability over interpretation and, in general, in the creation of experimental forms of sociability. This has generated a series of questions regarding the political dimension of reception: how is the audience, as a collective, conceived today? Is it a social grouping comprised of supposedly free individuals who make judgements according to rational criteria or rather a mass, made up of multiple, receptive and integrated subjects thanks to links that go beyond aesthetic categories, such as the normative, the psychological and the political?

This notion and other associated ones make it necessary to take a new look at the contemporary condition of the spectator, reviewing the parallels that have often been drawn between audiences and society, and also reflecting on forms of participation that have short-circuited the simplistic dichotomies of identification and critical distance.


Ana Vujanović. Performance as (mis)communicational community

Date: December 9th
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Place: Nouvel Building, Auditorium 200

Reinaldo Laddaga. The descent to the studio. Strategies of the arts at the present

Date: January 28th
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Place: Nouvel Building, Auditorium 200 

Bojana Kunst. Looking at something which is not there. On various forms of laborious spectatorship 

Date: February 10th
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Place: Nouvel Building, Auditorium 200 

Ric Allsopp. Opening the Audience

Date: March 17th
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Place: Nouvel Building, Auditorium 200 

Erika Fischer-Lichte. The bodily copresence of actors and spectators

Date: March 24th
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Place: Nouvel Building, Auditorium 200

Mårten Spångberg. Blank Production - All or Nothing At The Same Time: Homeopathic capitalism and Non-relational aesthetics 

Date: March 31st
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Place: Nouvel Building, Auditorium 200


Ric Allsopp is cofounder and coeditor of the journal Performance Research. He is a guest professor of choreography in the master's programme of HZT (Inter-University Centre for Dance Berlin) / University of the Arts Berlin and at ArtEZ, in Arnhem. 

Erika Fischer-Lichte is a professor of theatre research and director of the Institute of Advanced Studies at the Free University of Berlin. Her publications include The Semiotics of Theatre (1992), History of European Drama and Theatre (2002), Global Ibsen. Performing Multiple Modernities (2010). 

Bojana Kunst is guest professor of performance studies at the University of Hamburg. Her publications include Impossible Body(Liubliana 1999), Dangerous Connections: Body, Philosophy and Relation to the Artificial (Liubliana, 2004).

Reinaldo Laddaga is a writer and professor in the Department of Romance Languages of the University of Pennsylvania. His most recent books are Estética de la emergencia. La formación de otra cultura de las artes (2006), Espectáculos de realidad. Ensayo sobre la literatura latinoamericana de las últimas dos décadas(2007) and Estética de laboratorio. Estrategias de las artes del presente (2010).

Ana Vujanović has a Ph.D in theatre studies and is a theorist, producer, dramatist, and professor in the field of performing arts and culture. A member of the group TkH, a platform for performing arts theory and practice in Belgrade (, she is also the editor-in-chief of TkH, Journal for Performing Arts Theory. 

Mårten Spångberg is an essayist, critic, playwright and choreographer. He is also a guest professor at the University of Giessen and associate professor of drama at P.A.R.T.S (Performing Arts Research and Training Studios), in Brussels. As a performer he has collaborated with Fame Internationale, Xavier Le Roy, Bak-truppen and Alice Chauchat, and his performances have been seen in many countries.

Créditos: Convalidación de 1 crédito de libre configuración en Universidad Carlos III (Crédito Humanidades), Universidad de Alcalá de Henares y Universidad Complutense, 2 créditos de libre configuración en la Universidad Rey Juan Carlos I. Nota: De la Uni

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