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‘Performance Philosophy: The “Mind the Gap” and/or “Performance as Philosophy” debate’

Cull, LK (2013) ‘Performance Philosophy: The “Mind the Gap” and/or “Performance as Philosophy” debate’ In: London Theatre Seminar, 2013-05-07 - ?, Senate House, London.

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Performance Philosophy: The ‘Mind the Gap’ and/or ‘Performance as Philosophy’ debate In this presentation, having narrated something of the emergence and development of the field of Performance Philosophy (and the professional association that seeks to cultivate it), I would like to focus on two related debates at the core of discussions in the area. Amongst the many themes that concerns this new field is what I have described elsewhere as ‘the problem of application’ or illustration – a theme that we share with the sister discipline of Film Philosophy. That is, a fundamental question of the area remains the nature of philosophy’s engagement with its ‘objects’ and to what extent we might challenge the conventional hierarchical relationship between philosophy and performance, broadly construed, in which performance is (ab)used as mere illustration for an existing philosophy rather than as a source of philosophical insight in itself. Secondly, I will continue to address some of the divergent views concerning the nature of the relationship between performance and philosophy by focusing on what we might call the ‘Mind the Gap’ and/or ‘Performance as Philosophy’ debate. In his provocative keynote at the inaugural Performance Philosophy conference, specifically addressing the context of ‘theatre’, Martin Puchner (2013) argued: “What makes the study of theater and philosophy interesting, even thrilling, is the very fact that they two are so utterly and irreconcilable different, that they are institutions of a very different ilk that cannot be even brought close to each other. It is the and that makes all the difference, it is the gap between theater and philosophy that makes the study of their relation interesting and even possible in the first place. The study of theater and philosophy must take its point of departure from this gap and this gap must remain at the forefront of all successful undertakings in this direction”. Responding to Puchner, and others, I will also explore the alternative view that articulations of ‘philosophy as performance’ and ‘performance as philosophy’ need not be homogenizing or reductive claims that ignore the differences between specific practices; rather, the ‘as’ (in exchange for the ‘and’) signals an opening to reciprocal (in)determination or mutual transformation, as well as questioning the attribution of differences based on conventional disciplinary lines alone.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Guildford School of Acting
Authors :
Cull, LK
Date : 2013
Uncontrolled Keywords : performance philosophy, performing arts, philosophy, methodology
Additional Information : Full text not available from this repository.
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 13 May 2015 15:38
Last Modified : 05 Mar 2019 10:38

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