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Expanded theatricalities

Gestural models and dissident repertoires

Course 2013

Over the past thirty years, the social sciences have highlighted some aspects of contemporary social life that appear to be incompatible with traditional forms of representation and theatricality: nomadism, liquidity, ongoing identity construction, virtual communication, hyperexhibition, etc. The replacement of a theatre paradigm by a performative paradigm can be understood as a sign of transformation and liberation.

The course examines, on the one hand, the persistence of the theatricality category and how theatricality is inscribed in Hispanic culture; and, on the other hand, it uses theatricality as a practical tool in the construction of discourse. Just as we can think of numerous social relations that are conditioned by and that condition our ways of acting and representing, we should also consider using acting and representing to explore transformations in social relationships in the areas marked by theatricality. Although as we do so we must not forget that there are antagonistic manifestations of theatricality: structures and practices of invisibility. In some cases, invisibility comes from traditions and routines that serve to cancel out or conceal traumas and conflicts, while in others it comes from actions and policies of erasure, in order to wield power and impose conciliation and order. In other cases, invisibility can become a practice of individual and collective resistance.

How does the theatrical act as an instrument of subjection, modelling or social replication, and, on the other hand, when can it be used as a tool of resistance, reconfiguration and dissidence? This program explores how these two functions of theatricality are related to and reflected in contemporary culture, paying special attention to industrial production (television-leisure) and artistic production (theatre-film). The idea is not to propose an alternative version of sociology, but rather to look at the social with the tools provided by artistic practice. If sociology is understood, as suggested by Latour, to be “the science of living together” and its method is understood to be the “tracing of associations”, the proposal would be to develop “practices of living together” not just through the tracing of existing associations, but also through the proposal of associations that are artificial (“artistic”) yet also productive, in that they are generators of knowledge and discourse.

 Objective of the course

The course objective is to do specific practical-theoretical projects based on analysis and/or intervention in today's forms of social theatricality. The program focuses on the transformation of the traditional modes of social theatricality (which defined stable fields of representation) and the appearance of new models of performance and relations, which in appearance are antagonistic to the theatrical sphere. Expanded theatricality is understood to mean not just the use of the theatrical format (action/acting/observation/participation in real time) in physical and institutional spaces not usually considered theatrical, but also the varied forms of social theatricality that regulate gestualities, behaviours and appearances: following them or breaking with them. The idea is to work in the crossroads between artistic or discursive theatricality (whether practiced by artists or non-artists) and social theatricalities (whether hegemonic or dissident).

 Course calendar

The course Expanded theatricalities takes place between January and June of 2013. When the sessions begin in January, a practical lab and a reading group also begin. Both the practical lab and the reading groups are the framework for the different research projects to be carried out by the participants. After this experience, the course continues with a workshop in February and an international seminar in April. In addition, group sessions will be held to discuss the research process in which the participants are engaged, to orient and accompany them in the experience.

 The course thus comprises four stages, which in turn are defined by four lines of action:

  • Laboratory and workshop involving creation/research

    Laboratory with Héctor Bourges
    January 10th to 27th

    Workshop with Los Torreznos
    February 23rd and 24th
  • Reading group
    January through April
  • International public seminar
    April 12th and 13th
  • Orientation/accompaniment in the processes
    A second meeting with Héctor Bourges on 9, 10, 11 April and periodic gatherings of the working groups between April and June.

Final presentation of the research projects: June 27 and 28

The course as a whole entails 150 hours of coursework (68 dedicated to lab and workshop, 36 to reading and working groups, 8 to the seminar and 38 to accompaniment in the processes underway). As for the times of the events and meetings, preference will be given to weekends. All sessions will take place at Museo Reina Sofía. Any changes regarding time or place will be made known to participants in advance. Students who complete the course will receive a certificate issued by Museo Reina Sofía, as an official Research Centre, in recognition of the 150 hours of coursework.

 Students and admission

This course is aimed at persons with experience or training in theatre, dance, action art, visual art, music, architecture, art history, humanities, University researchers and activists. The course is part of the Program for Advanced Studies in Critical Practices offered by Museo Reina Sofía and also the Master in Performing Arts Practices and Visual Culture directed by Artea and offered by the Universidad de Alcalá de Henares. The course will accept 20 students: 14 persons enrolled in the Master in Performing Arts Practices and Visual Culture and 6 other persons interested in the subject.

Number of students: 6
Application deadline: On or before 24 December
Application method: Download and complete the following application (solicitud), including a draft of the project to be carried out as part of the course), and send it to: centrodeestudios@museoreinasofia.es (you will receive an email acknowledging receipt of the application).
The list of applicants admitted will be posted on the Museum's web page on January 2nd.
Applications made by interested persons will be assessed based on the proposal for the project to be carried out in the course. This program requires regular attendance (please check calendar) and also a theoretical-practical research project.

Programa del Centro de Estudios patrocinado por  Fundación Banco Santander.

Activity´s details

Study center
More information:

Directed by: Artea. Práctica e Investigación
Teaching team: Héctor Bourges, José Antonio Sánchez, Fernando Quesada, Victoria Pérez Royo, Óscar Cornago, Esther Belvis, Los Torreznos (Jaime Vallaure and Rafael Lamata), Isabel de Naverán and others.

See all activities in: Live Arts

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