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Staging Process: The Aesthetic Politics of Collective Performance

Staging Process: The Aesthetic Politics of Collective Performance

by Rachel Anderson-Rabern


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Available for Pre-Order. This item will be available on February 15, 2020


Staging Process examines contemporary collective creation practices, with particular focus on the work of four “third wave” American performance ensembles: Goat Island, Elevator Repair Service, Nature Theater of Oklahoma, and the TEAM. The book examines ways in which these groups create blueprints for developing collaborative performance, arguing that for these groups methodology entwines with emerging performance aesthetics. 

Rachel Anderson-Rabern examines the ideas of boredom and everyday employment that permeate particular performance projects. Using Henri Lefebvre’s concepts of work roles within everyday philosophy, she demonstrates that collective creation gives rise to new economies of performance. The book also presents theories of the political stakes of danced gestural forms in performance, informed by Giorgio Agamben’s writings on gesture. Anderson-Rabern analyzes group creativity as topological and presents examples of groups that structurally unhinge themselves while retaining their collective identity. The book also elaborates the ways in which these ensembles make use of durational performance to posit ethical frameworks: ways of living in the world. 

Conversing with the ideas of Paul Virilio and Guy Debord among others, the book claims that these groups posit new models of aesthetic politics through careful, speed-based investigations of construction and destruction. These investigations unearth the powerful potential of contemporary collaborative methods to be at once aesthetically minded, ethically driven, and politically engaged.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780810141452
Publisher: Northwestern University Press
Publication date: 02/15/2020
Pages: 172
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

RACHEL ANDERSON-RABERN is an assistant professor of theater and performance at Franklin and Marshall College.

Table of Contents

List of Figures 
Chapter One: Revising American Myths 
Chapter Two: Staging Everyday Economies 
Chapter Three: Dancing Toward Gesture 
Chapter Four: Constructing Ensemble Topologies  
Chapter Five: The Ethics of Velocities