Reading 10- Phelan, P. “Unmarked: the Politics of Performance”

This reading addressed many issues raised through performances and its archival process. Firstly the reading explained that for a piece to be successful in the archive it needs to disappear, what this means is that the piece itself needs to be untraceable, so no video recordings,  so that audience members can be allowed to remember the piece they saw. Theatre pieces can never be repeated as they are are an event that are subject to their time and place, two elements which without the function of time travel once passed cannot be relived, so they can only be re-performed. To re-perform a piece means to take the piece and reenact it with the social and political influences of the current director. The reading then progresses to looking into more detail in how a performance piece is heavily depended on the memory they leave. An example of this point is Sophie Calle and her work in art galleries, she has produced two theatre pieces one was centered around some missing paints, the other on paintings on loan. For her pieces she asked visitors and staff members to give a description of the missing paints and even draw them and then placing all this information around the empty space in the gallery. By doing this she showed that many pieces are brought to life more effectively in their recreation through memory than by the actual object itself.

The final thing that this reading looked at were the power of not being able to make eye contact with an artist. Phelan gave many examples of work through the past years that have had the artist either disappearing as part of the performance or that had the face of the artist unseen.  Phelan explains that when an audience member cannot make physical eye contact with the art work or artist they actually have to observe more, this is because they have to see the piece in detail before they will actually be able to see the piece and its full meaning.

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