On the radical political potential of performance: witnessing, implication and ethics in representing extremity

Orchard Learning Resource Centre (OLRC)
Wednesday 16 November 2016 (17:00-18:30)
  • Critical and creative encounters

Speaker: Dr Patrick Duggan (Director of Research for School of Arts, University of Surrey)

Recuperating Herbert Marcuse’s work in The Aesthetic Dimension (1978), this paper analyses a particular instance of radical protest, the dirty protests and hunger strikes in the Maze prison, Northern Ireland (1976 - 81), and aesthetic figurings of those events. Analysing the protests alongside the under explored cultural objects of Peter Sheridan’s (unpublished) play Diary of a Hunger Strike and James Hamilton’s installation and painting The citizen, this paper unpacks the relationship between the social real (the historical instance of social performance), art (the aesthetic figuring of those events), and the potential for art to act as a radical - if incremental - means by which to (re)position the political engagement of the spectator.

Patrick Duggan is Director of the Institute of Performance at the University of Surrey. His research interests are particularly focused on questions of spectatorship, witnessing, crisis, trauma and ethics; he is concerned to explore the socio-political efficacy of theatre, performance and other cultural practices. His publications include Trauma-Tragedy: Symptoms of Contemporary Performance (Manchester UP, 2012);Reverberations Across Small-Scale British Theatre: Politics, Aesthetics and Forms (Intellect, 2013); Performing (for) Survival: Theatre, Crisis and Extremity (Palgrave 2016)

Venue: Orchard Learning Resource Centre, Selly Oak

All welcome, no booking required.