The Transformative Power of Performance
A New Aesthetics
Translated by Saskya Jain
Routledge – 2008 – 232 pages
In this book, Erika Fischer-Lichte traces the emergence of performance as 'an art event' in its own right. In setting performance art on an equal footing with the traditional art object, she heralds a new aesthetics.
The peculiar mode of experience that a performance provokes – blurring distinctions between artist and audience, body and mind, art and life – is here framed as the breeding ground for a new way of understanding performing arts, and through them even wider social and cultural processes.
With an introduction by Marvin Carlson, this translation of the original Ästhetik des Performativen addresses key issues in performance art, experimental theatre and cultural performances to lay the ground for a new appreciation of the artistic event.
'Wonderfully erudite, clear and concise.' – Maria Shevtsova, Goldmsiths College, Univerisity of London, UK
'A major reference work for debates on theatre theory, performance, and methodology. Written by one of the foremost representatives of the field of theatre studies.' – Hans-Thies Lehmann, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universitat, Frankfurt, Germany
‘Fisher-Lichte’s analysis is extremely thorough, and the volume contains a fantastic series of references and examples. Fisher-Lichte does not simply apply theories from other disciplines, but allows a theory to emerge from performance itself. For these reasons, despite its drawbacks, I would recommend this volume to any scholar of theatre currently hung up to hermeneutics.' – Broderick D.V.Chow, Performance Ethos, Brunel University
1. The Transformative Power of Performance 2. Explaining Concepts: Performativity and Performance 3. Shared Bodies, Shared Spaces: the Bodily Co-Presence of Actors and Spectators 4. The Performative Generation of Materiality 5. The Emergence of Meaning 6. The Performance as Event 7. The Re-Enchantment of the World
Erika Fischer-Lichte is Professor of Theatre Studies at the Freie Universitaet Berlin and Director of the Institute of Advanced Studies on the Interweaving of Theatre Cultures. She was President of the German Association for Theatre Studies (1991-1996) and of the International Federation for Theatre Research (1995-1999). Among her numerous publications are The Semiotics of Theatre (1992, in German 1983), The Show and the Gaze of Theatre (1997), History of European Drama and Theatre (2002, in German 1990), Theatre, Sacrifice, Ritual. Exploring Forms of Political Theatre (Routledge, 2005).