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Gesture, Haltung, Ethos: The Politics of Rehearsal

Steinhäuser, Swen (2016) Gesture, Haltung, Ethos: The Politics of Rehearsal. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Drawing on the work of Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida and Samuel Weber, the thesis discerns a theoretical description and demonstrative performance of theatrical iterability as the structural crisis of meaning and mastery in mediated self-relation. In this context, the concept of a politics of rehearsal imposes itself as a modality of acting, which demonstratively affirms, exposes and aggravates a constitutive breach in self-presence qua mediation. The thesis links this modality of rehearsal to a concern with the political effectiveness of bearing certain effects of virtuality, possibility and potentiality. As a repetition that maintains a simultaneous reference to the future and the past, the rehearsal is further associated with an attitude of ex-appropriation that follows the task of inheritance as a perpetual re-work of mourning. In actively resisting all limited tendencies towards closure and non-sharing in the transmission of cultural history, the politics of rehearsal becomes the model attitude of an amateur’s participatory desire. With brief recourse to Bernard Stiegler the thesis develops the figure of an “amateur” who perpetually seeks for renewed possibilities of a transforming and transformative participation in the socio-individual de-construction of a precarious ethos from within an affirmed position of limited security. It finds amateurs at work and play in the context of Benjamin’s writings on Bertolt Brecht, Franz Kafka and the German Baroque Trauerspiel, as well as the performance practices of Yvonne Rainer, Goat Island and Every house has a door. In their overt exposure of a body’s inextricable relation to the archive, these experimental theatre and dance practitioners are found to employ a method and style of appropriative restrained, which seeks to demonstratively re-launch a cultural inheritance by aggravating its future response-ability. The thesis analyses their compositional strategies of interruption, citation and virtualisation as an amateur’s appeal to the participatory coming of the negative infinity of justice as infinite perfectibility.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida, Samuel Weber, rehearsal, theatricality, iterability, media, potentiality, repetition, amateur, participation, Yvonne Rainer, Goat Island, Every house has a door, inheritance, citation, justice, body, archive, ex-appropriation.
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.705977
Depositing User: Dr Swen Steinhauser
Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2017 11:37
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2018 09:54
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/16142

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