Differences in degree or kind? Ockham's razor's not until we are lost and punchdrunk's the drowned man
a hollywood fable
This essay responds to concerns that "immersive theatre" potentially reflects neo-liberal values, by questioning the assumption that it may not do so. Focusing its argument through a comparison between Punchdrunk's The Drowned Man and Ockham's Razor's Not Until We Are Lost, the chapter complicates loosely defined, anti-capitalist political claims by which those engaged in the criticism or practice of "experimental" live performance (or both) assert its fundamental progressiveness. The essay argues that the ability of immersive performance to "activate" spectators, transforming them into "witnesses' via a certain "undecidablity" attributed to Rancière, distorts his thinking by linking undecidability to particular formal strategies guaranteed by "ethical criteria". Tracing the play of repetition and difference in debates around the relationship between aesthetics and politics from Peggy Phelan and Nicolas Bourriaud to Rancière and Claire Bishop via figures such as Adam Alston, Jen Harvie, and Shannon Jackson, Harris asks what is at stake in this discourse and for whom?
Harris, G. (2016)., Differences in degree or kind? Ockham's razor's not until we are lost and punchdrunk's the drowned man: a hollywood fable, in J. Frieze (ed.), Reframing immersive theatre, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 265-288.
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