Revolt as a strategy of de-reification in contemporary performance practice

Smit, Sonja (2011) Revolt as a strategy of de-reification in contemporary performance practice. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




This thesis investigates the concepts of revolt and de-reification and how these can be perceived and implemented within the context of performance. The argument focuses on the ability of revolt to question and unsettle processes of reification which in turn manifest a strategy of de-reification. I investigate the potential in contemporary performance practice to challenge prevailing modes of perception and restore the production of desire to the spectator through strategies of de-reification. This research is approached through a qualitative process which entails a reading and application of critical texts to the analysis. This reading/application is engaged in a dialogue with the interpretative and experiential aspects of the two works selected for analysis. Chapter One functions as an introduction to the concept of reification and the necessity of a process geared towards de-reification through revolt. I argue that revolt is already embedded in avant-garde artistic practices through an experimental and questioning approach to artistic practice and the production of meaning. Chapter Two is an analysis of Vera Mantero’s solo work, one mysterious Thing said e.e cummings* (1996). This is structured around two identifiable elements, one being the resistance to signification (designification), which is argued as a strategy of revolt within the piece. The second is the notion of abjection, which works doubly to aid the resistance to signification as well as working as a strategy of revolt by its implication in the work. Chapter Three analyses Jaco Bouwer’s Untitled (2008), specifically dealing with the notion of absence as a strategy of revolt and de-reification. The discussion is focused on the potential complication of desire through absence as enacting a larger project of revolt. As in Chapter Two, this is similarly related to the fragmentation of signs through designification which emphasises the strategy of absence. This thesis concludes with the idea that meaning-making in performance can be considered a process. Instead, the lack or failure of meaning within these selected performance practices enables a return to the individual (performer and spectator) as the agent of desire.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Vera Mantero, Jaco Bouwer, South Africa, Performance art.
Subjects:P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1600 Drama > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The theatre
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > Drama
ID Code:2247
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:23 Nov 2011 06:29
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:22
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