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Art, politics, and the promise of rupture

Grehan, H.ORCID: 0000-0002-9257-5615 (2019) Art, politics, and the promise of rupture. In: Eckersall, P. and Grehan, H., (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Theatre and Politics. Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY, pp. 423-431.

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Drawing on the work of Marianne van Kerkhoven, who argues that dramaturgy is centrally about complexity and is ‘an alternation between “looking at something” and “walking in something”, an alternation between observation and immersion, between surrendering and attempting to understand’ (Van Kerkhoven 2009), this chapter explores whether, and to what extent, Julian Rosefeldt’s Manifesto (2016) might return complexity to questions of art and politics, in the context of the 21st century.

Manifesto is a 13-part film installation. In 12 of these films, Cate Blanchett reinterprets texts from some of the most important artist manifestos of the last century. As an installation that appeared in several major mainstream galleries around the world, Manifesto runs the risk of being overlooked, commodified, or consumed in terms of its potential to honour the radical spirit of the original manifestos it reimagines. Despite this possibility, it is a work that deserves close attention when thinking about both: how it is that the manifestos – the texts themselves – operate within the dramaturgical construction of this filmic series, and how this reimagining impacts their political potentiality. The focus of this chapter, then, is to consider what might be lost and gained through the reimagining of these texts for a 21st-century audience attuned to the visual and adept at consumption. What might Manifesto and the texts it celebrates do in an age of overflow? An age in which, as Rosefeldt argues, ‘less and less content is communicated and more and more façade’ (2016).

Item Type: Book Chapter
Publisher: Routledge
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