Ongoing projects

The diaspora kino-eye: A multi-methodological research project on diaspora film policies and representations in Flanders (2002-2021) 01/11/2020 - 31/10/2022

Abstract

Over the last decades a major upswing of diaspora cinema in Europe took place. In Flanders, this flux of diaspora filmmaking is specifically relevant as cross-cultural identities have assumed a prominent role in contemporary cinematic narratives. Diaspora cinema is considered to be one of those symbolic sites of struggles within a multicultural society that can help in the deconstruction of Eurocentric and hegemonic modes of thought, eliciting a transnational, intercultural shift. While diaspora cinema studies usually depart from a textual or reception perspective, the media industry and policy contexts in which these diaspora discourses are produced and distributed remain understudied. This project is specifically interested in the complex relationship between Flemish film policy and the question of diasporic, intercultural diversity. This research project scrutinizes the political, industrial and socio-cultural dynamics of diaspora film productions in Flanders. Therefore, this project will (1) map Flemish film policy's institutional frameworks and discourses with regard to diaspora cultures and cinema (2002-2021); (2) critically investigate policy practices on Flemish diaspora film production and distribution; and (3) analyse cinematic representations of diaspora cultures. The main host institution for Alexander De Man's FWO PhD Fellowship is Ghent University (supervisor: Daniel Biltereyst), the University of Antwerp is the partner institution (supervisor: Gertjan Willems).

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

CoDa | Cultures of Dance - Research Network for Dance Studies 01/01/2020 - 31/12/2024

Abstract

This research network wants to provide a vital stimulus for the expansion and anchoring of dance studies in Flanders and Europe. Even though Flanders is internationally known as an important hub for dance, this domain has still not acquired the same institutional embedding and visibility within the Flemish academic context. Research on dance is currently highly fragmented and mainly takes place within university departments that do not focus specifically on dance, but rather on other branches within the humanities, such as (art) history, cultural studies, theater and film studies, philosophy, sociology, or media studies. This interdisciplinary connection with other research domains is characteristic of dance scholarship, but the actual potential of this interdisciplinarity can only be fully exploited through a common network that enables dance scholars to bring their different methodological approaches into dialogue with each other. The national and international research units that are members of "CoDa | Cultures of Dance" bring together at least three fundamental pillars that are still too often treated separately in contemporary dance studies: (i) dance as an aesthetic practice (micro-perspective); (ii) dance as a sociocultural phenomenon (macro-perspective); (iii) dance and embodied knowledge (intra-perspective). Combining these perspectives enables the development of new interdisciplinary methodologies that increase both the scope and depth of dance studies. In addition, the research network allows to bring together the expertise of both national and international partners and to immerse future dance scholars in a top-level research environment through training activities, Spring Schools, or networking opportunities. With these and other initiatives, CoDa will make a significant contribution to expanding both the visibility and existing expertise in dance research at Flemish and other European universities within the international field of dance studies.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Moving with(in) Language: Kinetic Textuality in Contemporary Performing Arts. 01/11/2019 - 31/10/2021

Abstract

Traditionally, text and language have been central elements on the theatre stage. The first and foremost function of these texts was 'mimesis'. 'Mimesis' describes the use of the drama text as referring to, or evoking an external reality. Through the text the actors pronounce, characters of all sorts can emerge. Today, a broad range of theatre, performance, and dance practices do not employ texts for mimesis, but rather for kinesis. These texts do not imitate reality, but generate movement, because they are uttered in a distinctly rhythmic manner, and because the performers' bodies start to move on the rhythm of these texts. This project will offer the first, in-depth study of this recent tendency by examining how contemporary theatre, performance, and dance artists are rethinking the interaction between text and movement in ways that prevailing interpretative frameworks in academic research on the performing arts can hardly account for. The increased interest in what this project calls 'kinetic textuality' necessitates a different perspective on the relation between language and movement, that illuminates its underlying aesthetic strategies and makes the intertwinement between text and motion comprehensible.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Empty Pages. 08/10/2019 - 07/10/2023

Abstract

Today, graphic designers continually diversify their practices by commissioning themselves and taking on other roles. These hybrid designers navigate between functionality (as designers) and autonomy (as commissioners of their own work). Yet hybrid designers do not create hybrid designs. Their practices are autonomous. Their designs are not. Not by definition. The project Empty Pages contrasts the conventional art book, which is functional, represents and discloses art, with the so-called artists' book, which questions its function as a book, presents art and is autonomous as art object. Both the representation as the presentation are realized through design strategies. Can that distinction then also tilt through design? Can the conventional art book stand as a thing between its users, as a shared design tool, as an interface? What is the role of reproductions in this? What are the stylistic and aesthetic possibilities and limitations of reproductions? Can the mechanical reproductions of Walter Benjamin be designed as the digital reproductions of Boris Groys: as original performances of invisible originals? With regard to these questions, the doctoral project proposes a productive and hybrid design practice as research method: the genesis of a publishing house as artistic research into (and an update of) the design of conventional art books. The practice comprises four sections: Papers (catalogue, raisonné), Sheets (catalogue, imaginé), Folds (catalogue, pratiqué) and Pages (catalogue, publié).

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The state of the nation in Belgian cinema. A research project on contemporary cinema and (trans)national identities in Belgium. 01/10/2019 - 30/09/2023

Abstract

In recent years, Belgian cinema has witnessed the revival of a Belgian identity in films and in their surrounding discourses. Still, most Belgian films seem to remain predominantly associated with either the Flemish or the French Community. At the same time, while growing cultural diversity is transforming national identities in Belgian cinema, transnational and cosmopolitan identities are challenging the very notion of national identity. This research project aims at a critical investigation of the complex relationship between cinema and (trans)national identities in Belgium. The state of the nation in Belgian cinema is studied by means of quantitative and qualitative research methods, making use of digital tools and involving textual film analysis, industrial and policy analysis, and reception analysis. The project contributes to a better understanding of contemporary Belgian cinema, while also providing an original empirical contribution to the study of the relationship between media and (trans)national identities in Western Europe.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The Critical Realist Cinema of Wang Bing: A Comparison with the Films of Chantal Akerman and Jia Zhangke 01/10/2019 - 30/09/2021

Abstract

This project aims to position contemporary Chinese filmmaker Wang Bing at the center of the debate on new forms of realism in film. Wang Bing is celebrated worldwide as the most important documentary filmmaker of the past decade, yet his work has still to receive proper academic study in the West. His style is geared towards a detailed and slow-paced documentation of people living in the margins of Chinese post-socialist society. My aim is double: to explore the critical significance of Wang's cinema at the level of his specific aesthetic choices and, second, to elucidate these core properties within the context of a perceived 'new realist' turn in contemporary art cinema and through comparison with two filmmakers, the first European the second Chinese, Belgian cinéaste Chantal Akerman and Wang's contemporary Jia Zhangke. The degree to which these filmmakers put their faith in the real and attach value to materiality and testimony returns us to Marxist philosopher and literary historian Georg Lukács' theorization of the representation of a 'social totality' as found in 19th century realist novels of Tolstoy and Balzac. In order to understand this turn to the real in contemporary film and in Wang's work in particular, I will reconsider the concept of 'critical realism' as it was originally put forward by Lukács, while at the same time weighing his original insights against the recent writings on politics in film and art by the French Post-Marxist philosopher Jacques Rancière.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Material matters: Towards a New Materialist Approach to Contemporary Performance Art. 01/10/2019 - 30/09/2021

Abstract

21st century questions about the ways in which we produce and consume our material environment have given rise to a new focus in contemporary performance art. A growing group of artists are taking the stage to explore the performative entanglement of human beings and material objects, often in order to critically question the interplay of nonhuman actors in everyday life. By doing so, these performances also ask for new modes of performance analysis and interpretation that incorporate an understanding of (nonhuman) materiality as inherently performative. To this day, most performance scholars are still of the belief that the co-presence of human beings is the most fundamental characteristic of performance art, which often results in the reduction of material objects to their decorative status or to their function as documentation of the live performance that is lost for good. This project aims to encounter these present-day performances through the recent insights of new materialism(s). New materialism is a contemporary theory that, simply put, articulates the idea that all matter has the ability to act in this world, and that agency is distributed amongst materialities in space and time. This indicates a remarkable shift: objects are no longer defined as passive things, ruled and interpreted by human subjects, but are valued as vital and unstable entities that can exert an influence on other (human) entities. Subsequently, new materialism also embodies a transversal gesture that experiences the relationship between meaning and matter, culture and nature, and subject and object as non-hierarchical and co-constitutive (Coole and Frost 2010; Dolphijn and van der Tuin 2012). By connecting these concepts of new materialism to traditional key-notions within the debate on the ontological characteristics of performance art and performance experience, this project pursues to establish a mode of analysis that allows for a focus on how human and nonhuman agencies intertwine and generate new meanings within this performative entanglement.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Marcel Broodthaers and cinema. 01/01/2019 - 31/12/2022

Abstract

This project focuses on the multiple relations between Belgian artist Marcel Broodthaers (1924-1976 ) and cinema. Apart from surveying and analyzing his many films and film installations, it investigates the numerous references Broodthaers made to the medium of film, its technology, its history, and prehistory in both his works and writings. In addition, this project situates Broodthaers's films in the context of contemporaneous trends in experimental cinema and in the context of the film medium's migration to the space of the museum – an institution that Broodthaers questioned and deconstructed in many of his works. In so doing, this project will connect, compare, and reconceptualize two paradigms that developed quite parallel throughout the late 1960s and 1970s but which have not been connected previously: the artistic practice of so-called "institutional critique" (of which Broodthaers is one of the protagonists) and the "apparatus theory" in film studies. Furthermore, this project demonstrates how Broodthaers, who combined and conflated different artistic media, made explicit many of the key topics of the recent discipline of "media archaeology" such as a fascination for cinema's origins and prehistory, imagining cinema's alternative developments, histories, and futures.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

CE CULT2018/COOP1 Actes de Création et Dynamiques de Collaborations Croisées - Arts de la Scène. (ARGOS) 01/09/2018 - 15/05/2021

Abstract

The ARGOS project intends to create the conditions for a new sharing of knowledge in the field of performing arts. It is based on an original collaboration between theatrical researchers, artists, students, cultural mediators and spectators. All of these participants will be gathered in communities to observe European creative processes on five fields: Belgium, France, Italy, Greece and Portugal. The mobility of these communities thus formed will make it possible to experience intercultural and inter-professional dialogue and to reinforce the skills and abilities of each participant, the hypothesis being that the experience of otherness and physical and symbolic displacement is a lever for transforming the members of these communities. During the 30 months of the ARGOS project, the academic, artistic and cultural partners are implementing five experiments that each give a place and a different role to these communities. It is a question of witnessing strong and singular artistic gestures on diversified European sites by experiencing the creative processes according to two great modes of relationship: the face-to-face and the digital. Indeed, some members of these communities will attend and participate directly in the creation process, when others will be associated by a streaming and live connection. With these two modes of presence, communities test different forms of observation: integrated observation with Teatro O Bando (Portugal) where the viewers are engaged in the sharing of a place and a time community; the participant observation with Chiara Guidi of the Societas Rafaello Sanzio (Italy and Greece), where the viewers act directly on the creative process; virtual observation with the National Theater of Brittany (France), where the viewers are equipped with virtual reality headphones and live the rehearsals in immersion; the creative observation with Au bout du plongeoir (France), where the viewers seize the materials and documents used by the artistic team to imagine a transmedia story of their experience; intercultural observation with Moussem (Belgium and Lebanon), where viewers are encouraged to experience the diversity of their cultural roots in perceptual practice.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The Magic Lantern and its Cultural Impact as Visual Mass Medium in Belgium (1830-1940) (B-MAGIC). 01/01/2018 - 31/12/2021

Abstract

The B-magic project aims to rediscover the various functions of the lantern performance within the Belgian public sphere, in particular, its use in the transmission and negotiation of knowledge, norms and values by different societal groups. Scientists and entertainers, teachers and priests, political movements and organizations: they all used projected visual narratives to inform, entertain, educate and mobilize audiences of up to more than a thousand people per occasion. The lantern was the first visual mass medium to contest the printed word as a primary mode of information and instruction. All layers of society, both literate and illiterate, received visual information about nature, religion, science, new technologies and foreign countries. Our team therefore consists of researchers from cultural history and history of science, media and communication science, and film and theatre history. Together, we will investigate the role of the magic lantern in the first hundred years of Belgian history.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Trading Dance: Transatlantic Currencies in Belgian Postwar Choreography, 1958-1991 01/10/2017 - 31/08/2021

Abstract

The recent history of Western postwar dance is often construed as a one-way narrative in which the center of artistic innovation moved from the United States of America to Europe from the 1980s onwards. This stereotypical view, however, disregards the transatlantic exchanges that underlie this shift and rather reproduces what has been called the "American Century," a period that roughly started around 1900 and which marks the supposedly sweeping dominance of the United States across the globe. This project will provide a much-needed corrective to the predominant historicization of postwar dance by tracing how transatlantic currencies have been instrumental to the field as it stands now. Taking the dance scene in Belgium as an exemplary test case to investigate the formative influence of the mutual relationships with the USA, the project will illuminate a hitherto understudied part of dance history from a perspective that considers both local and international tendencies. Starting from the 1958 World Exhibition in Brussels, the period under scrutiny will run until 1991, the year when the American choreographer Mark Morris ended his term as Director of Dance at the Brussel's Royal Theatre La Monnaie and was succeeded by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and her company Rosas. Combining dance aesthetics and cultural history with archival research and in-depth interviews, the project will offer the first thorough historical study of transatlantic currencies in postwar choreography.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Culture of spectacle. An interdisciplinary platform for historical research into film, theatre, dans and music performances. 01/01/2016 - 31/12/2020

Abstract

An interdisciplinary platform for historical research on film, theatre, dance and musical performance. Cultures of Spectacles is an international interdisciplinary research community of scholars working on a diversity of spectacles. Our research is generally historic and focusses on the era from the beginning of the belle époque (appr. 1870) to the definitive breakthrough of television. Before performances or spectacles moved to the living room with the advent of television, they were the prerogative of public spaces such as cinema's, theatres, concert halls, circuses, music-halls, variety theatres and multi-functional spaces such as village halls, fairs or squares. Despite variations in their dispositive, what unites these spaces is that they host attractions, or spectacles that were either performed live or projected in front of a living audience. Individual members of these audiences usually belonged to different audience groups as well: people not only went to the theatre, but also the circus or to a music performance. Moreover, very often different forms of spectacle were often consumed in the same space and they were even part of the same show. In the early 19th century for example, films were part of variety programs; circus - and vaudeville acts were performed at fancy fairs alongside musical attractions, film screenings, freak shows, etc… Despite their commonalities, these different forms of spectacle are mostly studied separately, in well-defined academic disciplines (e.g., film -, dance -, performance – and theatre studies, cultural history, heritage studies, music history…). In bringing scholars from these different fields together, we aim to break down the disciplinary boundaries between a wide range of domains focussing on different types of spectacle and open the way for future interdisciplinary research on cultures of spectacle.

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Research team(s)

Past projects

Film, media and nation-building in Flanders. 01/04/2019 - 30/03/2020

Abstract

This research project aims at investigating the relation between media and nation-building in Flanders. The project consists of two parts. First, the project focuses on film and nation-building in Flanders from 1945 until today. Through quantitative and qualitative textual film analyses, the project critically examines the cinematic representation of Flanders and Flemish identities. Second, the project places these findings in their broader media and cultural context. This is done by editing an interdisciplinary volume on media and nation-building in Flanders from the 19th century until today. In this second part, the project offers an original synthesis of the existing research on media and nation-building in Flanders and formulates a research agenda for the future.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Moving Language: An Investigation into Text's Kinetic Potential in Theatre. 01/10/2018 - 31/10/2019

Abstract

The project 'Moving Language: An Investigation into Text's Kinetic Potential in Theatre', will examine the dominating presence of textuality within the work of certain contemporary artists and the way in which it triggers a new form of theatricality. The use of text in the work of, amongst others, Mette Edvardsen, Jan Lauwers and Abke Haring, is deeply influenced by dance aesthetics and therefore very distinct from traditional text theatre. Text is no longer used to produce the words of a certain character (mimetic), neither does it function as mere material presence, within the realm of other performative elements. The aforementioned artists make explicit use of text, in a way that is not conceivable by use of current theoretic paradigms on text. This peculiar status forces scholars to rethink and redefine theory on textuality and to connect it with concepts from performance studies, such as 'embodiment', 'presence' and 'spatiality', concepts that are less likely to be used in dominant theoretic contemplations on textuality. This project departs from this theoretical impetus and will work around the hypothesis that certain contemporary uses of text can be labelled as 'kinetic'. Therefore, the conceptualising of text from a mimetic/semiotic view will be connected with and replaced by a kinetic framework, which will enable performance scholars to study contemporary textual tendencies within the realm of physicality and spatiality. This research project is thus both practical and theoretical: by use of a selected corpus, traditional (theoretical) conceptions will be redefined to frame how textuality in contemporary text theatre 'moves' around the performative dynamic.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Research Council Laureate 2017 - Deleeck Award: Social and Human Sciences 01/12/2017 - 31/12/2018

Abstract

"From New Stagecraft to New Cinema: Silent Film Performs the Avant-Garde" is an intermedial undertaking geared towards redefining the evolution of cinema against developments in the historical avant-garde in performing arts.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The Critical Realist Cinema of Wang Bing: A Comparison with the Films of Chantal Akerman and Jia Zhangke 01/10/2017 - 30/09/2019

Abstract

This project aims to position contemporary Chinese filmmaker Wang Bing at the center of the debate on new forms of realism in film. Wang Bing is celebrated worldwide as the most important documentary filmmaker of the past decade, yet his work has still to receive proper academic study in the West. His style is geared towards a detailed and slow-paced documentation of people living in the margins of Chinese post-socialist society. My aim is double: to explore the critical significance of Wang's cinema at the level of his specific aesthetic choices and, second, to elucidate these core properties within the context of a perceived 'new realist' turn in contemporary art cinema and through comparison with two filmmakers, the first European the second Chinese, Belgian cinéaste Chantal Akerman and Wang's contemporary Jia Zhangke. The degree to which these filmmakers put their faith in the real and attach value to materiality and testimony returns us to Marxist philosopher and literary historian Georg Lukács' theorization of the representation of a 'social totality' as found in 19th century realist novels of Tolstoy and Balzac. In order to understand this turn to the real in contemporary film and in Wang's work in particular, I will reconsider the concept of 'critical realism' as it was originally put forward by Lukács, while at the same time weighing his original insights against the recent writings on politics in film and art by the French Post-Marxist philosopher Jacques Rancière.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Material matters: Towards a New Materialist Approach to Contemporary Performance Art. 01/10/2017 - 30/09/2019

Abstract

21st century questions about the ways in which we produce and consume our material environment have given rise to a new focus in contemporary performance art. A growing group of artists are taking the stage to explore the performative entanglement of human beings and material objects, often in order to critically question the interplay of nonhuman actors in everyday life. By doing so, these performances also ask for new modes of performance analysis and interpretation that incorporate an understanding of (nonhuman) materiality as inherently performative. To this day, most performance scholars are still of the belief that the co-presence of human beings is the most fundamental characteristic of performance art, which often results in the reduction of material objects to their decorative status or to their function as documentation of the live performance that is lost for good. This project aims to encounter these present-day performances through the recent insights of new materialism(s). New materialism is a contemporary theory that, simply put, articulates the idea that all matter has the ability to act in this world, and that agency is distributed amongst materialities in space and time. This indicates a remarkable shift: objects are no longer defined as passive things, ruled and interpreted by human subjects, but are valued as vital and unstable entities that can exert an influence on other (human) entities. Subsequently, new materialism also embodies a transversal gesture that experiences the relationship between meaning and matter, culture and nature, and subject and object as non-hierarchical and co-constitutive (Coole and Frost 2010; Dolphijn and van der Tuin 2012). By connecting these concepts of new materialism to traditional key-notions within the debate on the ontological characteristics of performance art and performance experience, this project pursues to establish a mode of analysis that allows for a focus on how human and nonhuman agencies intertwine and generate new meanings within this performative entanglement.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

KOSMOTEKA. 01/05/2017 - 30/04/2018

Abstract

Soviet science fiction cinema is part of European film heritage, and was a strong influence on Eastern European 20th century science fiction cinema and its visions of the future. Today, Soviet popular culture, including science fiction cinema, dealing with the dawn of the space age, is sometimes categorized within a single archive of "cosmos-themed" Soviet popular culture. The cinematic archive of cosmos-themed films comprises over 45 entries, collected as "films on outer space" in the archives of the Television studio of the Russian Space Agency (Tvroscosmos). The archive has not yet been researched, although it is a collection which is globally exceptional in its thematic focus and genre-diversity. Outer space-related science fiction films account for approximately half of all Soviet science fiction cinematography. The genre of science fiction offered a means of visualizing the anticipated consequences of spaceflight – the so-called beginning of the space age in the 1960s, consolidating images of the (now past) future(s). This project provides research into the dynamics of these past (space) futures, in order to offer a more complex understanding of the memory processes that shape our visions of the past and its future(s). Analysis of cinematic aesthetics is used to investigate how these futures are conceived formally, and whose and which conceptualizations of the future Soviet science fiction cinema thematised, (re)created, and portrayed; to elaborate how films act as mnemonic agents, in shaping different visualizations of the past and its futures for different audiences. These questions are important for the understanding of contemporary (post-)Soviet and post-socialist nostalgia for the Soviet future. This project will examine the aesthetics of post-Sputnik (1957-1990) Soviet space-themed science fiction cinematography as memory practices, using both contextual cultural studies analysis and the methodological toolbox of neoformalist film analysis.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Creative Processes in the Performing Arts: An Integrative Model for Genetic Research in Theatre and Dance Studies. 01/04/2017 - 31/12/2017

Abstract

Preparation of a project that delves into the creative processes of a carefully selected range of leading European theatre and dance artists, scrutinizing the procedures, media, and methods they employ for making work. Through a comprehensive survey of the different stages of artistic creation in theatre and dance, this study will develop the first integrative model for conducting genetic research in these domains. In contrast to literary studies, which has a fairly well established tradition in analyzing the genesis of literary texts (or what is called "genetic criticism"), there is currently no adequate methodological framework that captures both the scope and dynamic nature of creative processes in theatre and dance. As living art forms that typically involve embodied and intangible knowledge, theatre and dance require distinct methods for examining their coming-into-being. The project will build the foundations for genetic research on theatre and dance by opening up ground-breaking avenues for examining the key determinants of creative processes in these domains, including documentation, training, rehearsal, performance, and context. These layers of artistic creation will be assessed by means of an integrative and interdisciplinary framework that sets new frontiers for genetic research on theatre and dance.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

From New Stagecraft to New Cinema: Silent Film Performs the Avant-Garde. 01/10/2016 - 30/09/2019

Abstract

"From New Stagecraft to New Cinema: Silent Film Performs the Avant-Garde" is an intermedial project geared towards redefining the evolution of cinema against developments in the historical avant-garde in performing arts. It examines why there is an apparent historiographical gap between the onset of the historical avant-garde in performing arts - described as "new" or "modern" from the 1880s onwards (Knopf 2001) - and that in cinema, where newer forms categorized as such do not appear in history books until 1919 with German Expressionism, French Impressionism and the Soviet Montage Movement (Hagener 2007). These three are characteristically defined as reflecting the devastating effects of the Great War (Kaes 2009), propelling cinema into modernity. This idea is not only essentially ahistorical, however, it also chooses to ignore the relationships that already existed between new cinematic forms and new performing arts, but have yet to be defined. This archive-driven research project will address and close the historiographical gap by demonstrating these connections in 6 well-defined case studies. It starts from the concept of new theatre forms as a "New Stagecraft," coined by theatre historian Kenneth Macgowan (1921) and built around the significant and popular work of Edward Gordon Craig, Max Reinhardt and Adolphe Appia. The influence of the New Stagecraft on silent cinema (1910-1927) will be defined scenographically and discursively through archival research in New York via Columbia University.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Towards a New Cinematic Realism. The Cinema of Wang Bing. 01/10/2016 - 30/09/2017

Abstract

This project aims to create a central position for the contemporary Chinese filmmaker Wang Bing within the discourse of global and Chinese cinemas and within recent critical discussions on realism in film. Wang Bing is celebrated worldwide as the most important documentary filmmaker of the decade, yet his work has still to receive proper academic study. His style is geared towards detailed documentation of people living in the margins of Chinese post-socialist society. It is characterized by long takes that are at once distanced and immersive. My aim is double: to explore the critical significance of Wang's cinema at the level of his specific aesthetic choices and, second, to shed light on Wang's cinema within the context of a perceived critical-realist turn in contemporary cinema. The degree to which Wang puts his faith in the real returns us to Lukács' theorization of the representation of a totality as found in 19th century realist novelists like Tolstoy and Balzac that counters the bodily and psychological alienation under capitalism. In order to understand the return of the real in contemporary art cinema and in Wang's work in particular, I will re-appropriate the concept of 'mapping totality' as it was originally put forward by Marxist theorists like Lukács and Jameson, while at the same time weighing their insights against concrete contemporary artistic practice.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Wagner in Antwerp (1972-1987), an Inquiry into Opera Staging. 01/01/2016 - 31/12/2017

Abstract

This project measures the impact of the emancipation of the opera director in Antwerp's opera scene between 1972 and 1987. Video footage of productions and archival research in the yet undisclosed archives of the former KVO of Antwerp should enable us to reconstruct dramaturgical concept and mise-en-scène in both traditional readings and the more radical re-interpretations (called Regietheater) of Wagner's works, after which broader evolutions in opera direction become apparent.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The warrior of beauty. How to measure the quality of movement of the performer in the work of Jan Fabre? 01/01/2016 - 31/12/2017

Abstract

The aim of this project is the development of a tool for evaluation of the performers' quality of movement. This tool will be used by artistic experts with a different background and tested on experienced performers from the company Troubleyn and novice performers of the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp. By using as well video's as 3Dreconstruction of video's, the movement's aspect is extracted from the context during a performing act. That way, experts blinded to the identity of the performer, may evaluate whether the quality of movement differences between novice and experiences performers.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Performed Poetry, Exhibited Poetry. 01/10/2015 - 30/09/2016

Abstract

"La poésie ne s'impose plus, elle s'expose". With these words Paul Celan described in 1969 the vulnerability of poetry in modernity. Since the 20th century poetry, according to Celan, is more than ever exposed to the contingency of history. But this "exposition" can also be seen as a path towards the exhibition ("exposition" in French) of poetry, i.e. that this vulnerability of poetry can have an immediate artistic implication: what if poetry is exhibited and performed as art? In the wake of the double profile of its creator, this project aims on the one hand to investigate the history of the redefinition of poetry as an artistic practice since the core-period of the 1960s and on the other hand to propose two future applications of such a vision: a performative poetry practice called Reading Environments (RE) and a poetry-oriented exhibition methodology called Augmented Writing (AW). The RE are performances and installations based on spoken voice digital processing. The AW is a text-processing technique based on the visual superposition of different verbal materials. AW is made to be printed and exhibited. These two projects are also made to interact (e.g. an AW exhibition with a RE soundscape). By the same token and in the wake of the methodology of the whole project, halfway between theory and practice, a theoretical reflection on these applications shall be developed in parallel with a historical perspective.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

A million pictures: magic lantern slide heritage as artefacts in the common European history of learning (EURO-MAGIC-BE). 01/06/2015 - 31/05/2018

Abstract

The magic lantern was the most important visual entertainment and means of instruction across nineteenth-century Europe. However, despite its pervasiveness across multiple scientific, educational and popular contexts, magic lantern slides remain under-researched. Although many libraries and museums across Europe hold tens of thousands of lantern slides in their collections, a lack of standards for documentation and preservation limits the impact of existing initiatives, hinders the recognition of the object's heritage value and potential exploitation. This project addresses the sustainable preservation of this massive, untapped heritage resource.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Digital Humanities Flanders 01/01/2015 - 31/12/2019

Abstract

This is a fundamental research project financed by the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO). The project was subsidized after selection by the FWO-expert panel. This research community deals with Digital Humanities. Its participants examine how computational techniques can enhance and support traditional research in the humanities. This project is an interdisciplinary initiative, focussing on methodological innovation and keen on setting up collaborative initiatives with colleagues and research groups in the sciences. As digital databases become increasingly common in the humanities, it is widely recognized that Digital Humanities have been gaining momentum during the last two decades. However, digital humanities are still being confronted with numerous challenges: digital skills, such as programming, are still absent from most curricula. Moreover, research in the digital humanities is still very much fragmented, as most researchers, while having many methodological interests in common, come from very divergent backgrounds. By organizing all kinds of network activities and training events, this research community will create opportunities for a better exploitation of the available know-how and strengthen Flanders' position within the international DH-community.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Restoring Gestures: Exploring Aby Warburgs Method for Theater Studies 01/10/2014 - 30/09/2016

Abstract

This project will explore the relevance of Aby Warburg's (1866 – 1929) art historical method for theater studies. Warburg sought to uncover the survival of Antiquity in a plethora of images from different origins (examples of 'high art', advertisement, astrological drawings etc.), using the returning gesture as a motif to map this survival. The notion of a survival or return of the image is anti-historicist in nature and calls for a change of the image's status from historical artifact to autonomous presence. This project proposes that gesture as a reembodiment of historical memory produces a tension between representation and presence located in the body and that this marks a parallel between the body in the image – as Warburg analyzes it – and the body on stage.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Research on the theatre work of Jan Fabre 01/10/2014 - 30/09/2015

Abstract

This project represents a research contract awarded by the University of Antwerp. The supervisor provides the Antwerp University research mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions stipulated by the university.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

A a Body of Knowledge. Towards a pedagogy of the guiding lines of Jan Fabre for training performers. 01/03/2014 - 28/02/2015

Abstract

General aim of this project: Throughout the years the Flemish theatre director Jan Fabre has developed a physical training method to prepare his dancers and actors for the stage. The method aims at creating a strong physical presence on stage and at heightening their expressie qualities. Some of the exercises Jan Fabre has developed within this training method have been the object of research in the past. This project aims primordially to disseminate his pedagogy by developing tools to introduce interested participants (actors, teachers, general audience) into his training methodology.These tools will also assure that Fabre's pedagogy remains accessible without his presence. The general aim of this project is therefor to develop pedagogic instruments that can transmit Fabre's training principles and that can help future generations of performers to get in touch with this most original physical training method.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The Didascalic Imagination: Contemporary theatrical notebooks as genetic documents of the artistic process. 01/01/2013 - 31/12/2016

Abstract

The topic of this research project concerns the contemporary versions of the Regiebuch, or the 'director's notes'. In contemporary theatre, the classic theatrical notebook has disappeared together with the classic dramatic source text. A wide range of new forms of theatrical notebooks has filled that void, ranging from conceptual notes and sketches to a rich diversity of formats borrowed from other fields, such as scores, storyboards, sound tracks and video editing.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Research on optimization of the expressive power of actors / dancers on the basis of the method of Biological Acting. 01/01/2013 - 31/12/2014

Abstract

The main objective of this research project is to optimize the expressive power of actors / dancers. This is done on the basis of the training method of the renowned Flemish artist Jan Fabre based on a combination of inner experience and physical stress. This combined form is called 'biological acting' whick calls upon a strong commitment of the physical capabilities of the actors, and is regarded as a form of physical stress. This method is further refined in this project and parameterized on the basis of measuring stress through "Heart rate variability" (HRV), a measure of the amount of reserve that the physiology of the sympathetic / parasympathetic system displays in stress load. Also the expressive powers of the actor/dancer is measured using a neurological measurement of a test audience.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Restoring gestures: exploring Aby Warburg's method for theater studies. 01/10/2012 - 30/09/2014

Abstract

This project will explore the relevance of Aby Warburg's (1866 – 1929) art historical method for theater studies. Warburg sought to uncover the survival of Antiquity in a plethora of images from different origins (examples of 'high art', advertisement, astrological drawings etc.), using the returning gesture as a motif to map this survival. The notion of a survival or return of the image is anti-historicist in nature and calls for a change of the image's status from historical artifact to autonomous presence. This project proposes that gesture as a reembodiment of historical memory produces a tension between representation and presence located in the body and that this marks a parallel between the body in the image – as Warburg analyzes it – and the body on stage.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Building garments: Researching fashion design through architecture. 01/10/2012 - 30/09/2014

Abstract

This project is aimed at a doctorate in the arts, in the field of fashion design. Its outcome will be an innovative experimental collection based on academic research and technological experimentation which - together with a description of the design processes themselves - will be reported on in a doctoral dissertation. The specific orientation of the doctorate is an integration of creative processes at the point of overlap between the practices of architecture and fashion design. The contextual academic research will concentrate on past and present forms of mutual influence and collaboration between these two artistic and technical domains; this will also include depthinterviews with prominent practitioners. Experiments will be conducted with fabrics, colors and shapes, starting from up-to-date technologies which already blur the traditional borders, and contributing to their further development. The collection to be designed and created (from drawing via try-outs to production) will experiment with the tension between innovative aesthetics, rational principles of construction, and wearability; it will make use of architectural principles adapted to clothing, and of advanced technologies, while seeking a balance with traditional materials and techniques.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Construction of a theatre heritage test list within the framework of the Masterpiece Flemish Parliament Act. 13/12/2011 - 01/09/2012

Abstract

This project represents a formal service agreement between UA and on the other hand Kunsten en Erfgoed. UA provides Kunsten en Erfgoed research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Yes we canon! A discursive analysis of canon debates in post-war Flemish theatre (1945-2010). 01/10/2011 - 31/12/2012

Abstract

This project investigates repeated debates over what is to be called a theatre classic in Flanders between 1945 to the present. It does so not only because such debates have never been seriously investigated although they have occurred at regular intervals in post-war Flemish history; but also because such debates are revealing of a broader, fundamental uncertainty of the place and meaning of theatre (subsidies) in society: should theatre strive for social relevance, or should it only be 'art as art'? Similar questions are now on the table in various European countries experiencing an outburst of public discussion on how national identity, shared values and artistic heritage (should) speak to each other. A recent Flemish illustration of this is the 'repertoire debate' that kicked up dust during the last theatre season. Through a discursive analysis of these debates in Flemish history and on the basis of a digital archive of journal articles and cultural policy documents, the present project will attempt to sketch evolving conceptions of theatre classics, their impact on subsidy decisions and theatrical practice, and the ways in which the resulting theatrical canon interacted with the construction of a Flemish identity in Belgium.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Being inside the image. Immersion and narrative on the intersection of theatre of film. 01/10/2010 - 21/10/2012

Abstract

Immersion evokes the sensory experience of being submerged in another world. Although this notion is commonly related to Virtual Reality, immersion is from all times. And from all media. Visual arts developed illusionist image strategies expressing an age-old wish to evoke an immediate or authentic experience beyond the limits of representation. The use of perspective and trompe l'oeil aims mostly at catching and pulling (the attention) of the viewer into the image, stretching the fictional space beyond the rim of the frame. Today this wish for an immediate experience seems to reach again a point of culmination. Digital technologies open new paths to the context of dramatic action. The fast development of immersive technologies and interaction possibilities makes the world beyond the frame accessible for the viewer who is displaced to the inside of the image. The simulated story world coincides with the physical and emotional space of the viewer - here called an immersant. These immersive environments imply new ways of storytelling. Based on a joined methodology of performance and film studies this project mounts explanation how stylistic and formal parameters of narration function in immersive environments and how this changed disposition towards the image relates to the emotional engagement (suspension of disbelief and the sense of presence in a mediated environment).

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Building garments. Researching Fashion Design through Architecture. 01/10/2010 - 30/09/2012

Abstract

This project is aimed at a doctorate in the arts, in the field of fashion design. Its outcome will be an innovative experimental collection based on academic research and technological experimentation which - together with a description of the design processes themselves - will be reported on in a doctoral dissertation. The specific orientation of the doctorate is an integration of creative processes at the point of overlap between the practices of architecture and fashion design. The contextual academic research will concentrate on past and present forms of mutual influence and collaboration between these two artistic and technical domains; this will also include depthinterviews with prominent practitioners. Experiments will be conducted with fabrics, colors and shapes, starting from up-to-date technologies which already blur the traditional borders, and contributing to their further development. The collection to be designed and created (from drawing via try-outs to production) will experiment with the tension between innovative aesthetics, rational principles of construction, and wearability; it will make use of architectural principles adapted to clothing, and of advanced technologies, while seeking a balance with traditional materials and techniques.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Repertoire at stake. A discourse analysis of the struggle to define repertoire in Flemish theatre from 1945 until today. 01/10/2010 - 30/09/2011

Abstract

This project investigates how the term 'repertoire' (or theatre classics) is used as a political instrument in the texts of and discussions between theatre makers, critics and policymakers in the field of Flemish theatre from 1945 to the present. In the past theatre season the question which repertoire should be played on Flemish stages (or not) was hotly debated. Such debates are symptomatic of canon discussions in other disciplines. They are invariably controversial since they put a nation's cultural identity at issue. The actual debate, however, failed to topicalise identity explicitly. Moreover, repertoire has been the subject of much disagreement in post-war Flemish theatre history, while research on how this term has been instrumental in cultural politics is as yet lacking. Via a quantitative and qualitative discourse analysis the project at hand strives to provide insight into the evolving relations between policymakers and the theatre sector against the backdrop of a cultural community negotiating its own canon. On the basis of six digital corpora consisting of journal articles and policy documents between 1945 and today, it will be possible to determine who says what on repertoire and why, which interests support various definitions, and which definitions prove to be decisive.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The Status of the (re)translated inter-title in the restoration and presentation of silent film. 01/01/2010 - 31/12/2011

Abstract

When restauring silent films with translated intertitles film archives are confronted with ethical, aesthetic and practical problems. Due to the scarcity of scientific research with a focus on the status of translated intertitles, restauration procedures are often ad hoc, i.e. they lack a uniform, scientific approach. By describing, categorising and analysing existing silent films and their translations, the present research project aims to help develop procedures for a scientifically founded restauration of both photographic and textual material.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The Borrowed Gaze. Research of the use of displacement in time and space of the photographical image of the past in the paintings of Karin Hanssen. 01/01/2010 - 31/12/2011

Abstract

The purpose of the research is to see how the flashback operates in figurative contemporary painting and to define its meaning, form and use from a practical and a theoretical point of view. This research of the flashback will take the work of Karin Hanssen (new and existing) as a point of departure. This will undergo a comparative study with the work of other contemporary artists. The kind of image that is used as source material and selected for this research is the public conventional photographic image from the recent past (ca. 1950-ca.1980).

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Theatre without continuity: the text in postdramatic performance arts. 01/01/2009 - 31/12/2010

Abstract

The development of theatre in the twentieth century can be seen as a transition from 'dramatic' theatre to 'postdramatic' theatre. Whereas current research mainly emphasises the physicality of postdrama, this project aims to explore the consequences on the way text is handled in contemporary theatre practice. The focus of this practice based research is on the specific way time elapses in current postdramatic narratives.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Inside the image. Immersion and narration at the intersection between theater and film. 01/10/2008 - 21/10/2010

Abstract

Immersion evokes the sensory experience of being submerged in another world. Although this notion is commonly related to Virtual Reality, immersion is from all times. And from all media. Visual arts developed illusionist image strategies expressing an age-old wish to evoke an immediate or authentic experience beyond the limits of representation. The use of perspective and trompe l'oeil aims mostly at catching and pulling (the attention) of the viewer into the image, stretching the fictional space beyond the rim of the frame. Today this wish for an immediate experience seems to reach again a point of culmination. Digital technologies open new paths to the context of dramatic action. The fast development of immersive technologies and interaction possibilities makes the world beyond the frame accessible for the viewer who is displaced to the inside of the image. The simulated story world coincides with the physical and emotional space of the viewer - here called an immersant. These immersive environments imply new ways of storytelling. Based on a joined methodology of performance and film studies this project mounts explanation how stylistic and formal parameters of narration function in immersive environments and how this changed disposition towards the image relates to the emotional engagement (suspension of disbelief and the sense of presence in a mediated environment).

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Mass Spectacle in Flanders 1909-1955: A historical, discursive, and political examination of sociotheatrical events. 01/01/2008 - 31/12/2011

Abstract

The aim of the project is to fill a notable gap in Flemish theatre history. Methodologically, three innovative approaches are chosen to tackle the rise and evolution of a distinctive performance practice in social, political, and theatrical life. Depending on the size and nature of the performance, this genre is designated as open-air theatre, mass spectacle, or choral drama. The research project will study the performance history, discursive development, and social and political impact of the genre.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The Silence of the Opera. A preliminary investigation into the meaning of the Performative Turn in aesthetics for the presentation of opera. 01/01/2008 - 31/12/2009

Abstract

This research questions the relevance of the "Performative Turn" in aesthetics for the opera. In a theoretical part, the central concepts are critically investigated. In a historical-aesthetical part, the reception of Pelléas et Mélisande by the musictheatre is reinterpreted in the light of this pardigmatic change in (opera-)aesthetics. A third part focuses on the practical consequences of this turn for the contemporary staging of opera.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Towards a methodology of acting in an interdisciplinary field of performing arts. 01/01/2007 - 31/12/2008

Abstract

This research project takes a closer look at the development of a new methodology of acting in the interdisciplinary context of performing arts. Specific research methods are fieldwork, the study of relevant literature and the creation of a workshop. The project strives to paint a more precise picture of the (necessary) skills of this new breed of performer, which in turn could have an innovative effect on art education and theatre studies.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Defiling the Imagination. Obscene and Morbid Theatrality in Late Twentieth Century Theatre. 01/10/2004 - 30/09/2006

Abstract

The project aims at providing an adequate theoretical framework for abject images and performances in late twentieth-century theatre. The resulting concepts will be applied to two case-studies of abject theatre: the work of Sarah Kane and the performances of the Italian Socetas Raffaello Sanzio. The first part starts out with an investigation of the fundamental concept abject art, more specifically obscene and morbid theatricality, to denote firstly sexually abject images and secondly images connected to death, disease, cruelty and anatomy. In order to provide a connection to existing research in the visual arts and literature, the performances will be analysed as to their images, speech and actions. This will open the possibility of specifying the aesthetic impact (Wirkung) of obscenity and morbidity in the performance arts. After this clarification the project follows two distinctive paths. The first path focuses on the concept of representation. We will consider if obscene and morbid images are best understood as `heterogenous' images, following the lead of Georges Bataille, or as the result of a specific perceptive mechanism which `obscenicizes' the represented objects, following the studies on the abject in art by Julia Kristeva. In the course of this investigation the question will also be considered why so many of the artists connected with abject art stress the ritual or sacred dimension of the representation of abject objects. The second path takes the concept of performativity as its starting point. In this research phase abject performances are no longer considered as primarily representational, and instead we analyse how they actively involve the spectator in the obscene or morbid acts performed on stage. Various examples of cultural performances (Singer) such as animal sacrifices or ritual mutilation, which inspired performance artists in the second half of the twentieth century, will serve as the focal point for treating this question. Closing the theoretical section we turn to some concrete examples of abject theatricality. The work of Sarah Kane is considered first. Starting out from the statement of George Steiner that the possibility for tragedy has vanished in the postmodern age, we propose to consider Kane's pieces as just such `postmodern tragedies'. The tension generated by representation and peformance of the abject is central to this investigation. The second case-study centers on the work of Romeo and Claudia Castellucci's Socetas Raffaello Sanzio. Their performances are studied in the light of Antonin Artaud's Theatre of Cruelty, a main inspiration they acknowledge themselves. Whereas Artaud's work is limited to abject speech and images, however, their work will be seen to incorporate the important addition of the `grotesque body' in the framework of Artaud. The research project finally considers other examples of abject theatricality in late twentieth-century theatre, such as the work of Heiner Müller, Jan Fabre and La Fura del Baus.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Performing the Body in the Contemporary Belgian Performance Art. 15/10/2002 - 14/10/2003

Abstract

In the research project various strategies of body representation and imagery in contemporary Belgian theatre (especially that of the last decade) will be analysed. The resesarch project is focused on the shift from the visual interventions of the eighties where body is performed as a closed formal and visual entity, to the new ways of performing the body in the last decade. The new ways of of contemporary non-autonomous, connected, terminal, weak, in-between, even obsolete body will be analysed in the connection to the contemporary Belgian theatre. Various ways of performing the body will be approached by the help of a specific and innovative methodology and theories on contemporary performing in the light of the new understanding of hybridity, terminal identities, artificiality etc. They could disclose the complex role of performing in the contemporary culture - as that of the main field where we can currently articulate and find strategies of contemporary bodies. Characterised by an innovative searching for various ways of performing, the 'Belgian example' can help us understand the most recent occupations of contemporary performing arts.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Defiling the Imagination. Obscene and Morbid Theatrality in Late Twentieth Century Theatre. 01/10/2002 - 30/09/2004

Abstract

The project aims at providing an adequate theoretical framework for abject images and performances in late twentieth-century theatre. The resulting concepts will be applied to two case-studies of abject theatre: the work of Sarah Kane and the performances of the Italian Socetas Raffaello Sanzio. The first part starts out with an investigation of the fundamental concept abject art, more specifically obscene and morbid theatricality, to denote firstly sexually abject images and secondly images connected to death, disease, cruelty and anatomy. In order to provide a connection to existing research in the visual arts and literature, the performances will be analysed as to their images, speech and actions. This will open the possibility of specifying the aesthetic impact (Wirkung) of obscenity and morbidity in the performance arts. After this clarification the project follows two distinctive paths. The first path focuses on the concept of representation. We will consider if obscene and morbid images are best understood as `heterogenous' images, following the lead of Georges Bataille, or as the result of a specific perceptive mechanism which `obscenicizes' the represented objects, following the studies on the abject in art by Julia Kristeva. In the course of this investigation the question will also be considered why so many of the artists connected with abject art stress the ritual or sacred dimension of the representation of abject objects. The second path takes the concept of performativity as its starting point. In this research phase abject performances are no longer considered as primarily representational, and instead we analyse how they actively involve the spectator in the obscene or morbid acts performed on stage. Various examples of cultural performances (Singer) such as animal sacrifices or ritual mutilation, which inspired performance artists in the second half of the twentieth century, will serve as the focal point for treating this question. Closing the theoretical section we turn to some concrete examples of abject theatricality. The work of Sarah Kane is considered first. Starting out from the statement of George Steiner that the possibility for tragedy has vanished in the postmodern age, we propose to consider Kane's pieces as just such `postmodern tragedies'. The tension generated by representation and peformance of the abject is central to this investigation. The second case-study centers on the work of Romeo and Claudia Castellucci's Socetas Raffaello Sanzio. Their performances are studied in the light of Antonin Artaud's Theatre of Cruelty, a main inspiration they acknowledge themselves. Whereas Artaud's work is limited to abject speech and images, however, their work will be seen to incorporate the important addition of the `grotesque body' in the framework of Artaud. The research project finally considers other examples of abject theatricality in late twentieth-century theatre, such as the work of Heiner Müller, Jan Fabre and La Fura del Baus.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

The sound-image in theatrical space. A research on sound dramaturgy in contemporary performing arts. 01/01/2002 - 31/12/2003

Abstract

In this project the dramaturgical function of sound design in contemporary performing arts is examined. In recent theatre dramaturgy images of the body are coupled with sound-images. In that respect, mechanisms which are responsible for the connection of these concepts, should be analysed. By means of electro-acoustical sound theory one can check if physical and technical parameters or mechanisms are transposable into dramaturgical tools and principles, and vice versa.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Messianic Patterns in Theatre. A Comparative Research into the Significance of Myth and Religious Imagery in Flemish Theatre. 01/10/2001 - 30/09/2004

Abstract

Important moments in the international theatre history are marked by revolutions in the use of Christian mythology (classical tragedy, baroque and romantic drama). Even in the alleged 'postmetaphysical' age concepts like 'subjectivity' and 'mythical reasoning' remain keystones of cultural studies. Especially the recent history of Flemish theatre can be seen in terms of its stance on religion. A historical parallel between the two main stages gives insight into that evolution. The first period (1965-1975) is known for the aspirations of an avant-garde that articulated the ideas of Grotowski, Artaud and Brecht with regard to notions as authenticity and emancipation. Interesting casestudies regarding myth are in the second period (1985 up till now) the works of Alain Platel, Jan Decorte, Erik De Volder and Filip Vanluchene. Working hypothesis is that the first period brings into playan antithetical position towards Christian mythology, whereas the second period reflects the untenable essence of antithetical logic. Recent theatre in other words puts forward the impossibility of binary oppositions by indicating the structural ambivalence of idealism in itself.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)