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TH318 - Performance & the Contemporary City - 2013-14

School of Theatre, Performance and Cultural Policy Studies

TH318 Performance & the Contemporary City

The module aims to investigate performance’s association with the context of the contemporary city from four principal points of view. It will consider:

• performance that intervenes or operates directly within city sites, or which draws inspiration specifically from urban contexts.

• the notion of the performing city: the way in which a city’s configuration, as well as the use to which it is put by its inhabitants, produces a range of identifications.

• the individual’s encounter with the city as a form of performance.

• the city as a phenomenon whose make up is not simply definable in terms of its visual and physical dimensions.

The approach is premised on providing students with the general critical means to understand the conceptual development of performance as a phenomenon relating implicitly to the contemporary urban situation. Thus, within the context of the city, performance will be shown to be ‘at work’ as both a vital artistic practice in its own right and as part of the practices of everyday urban life, emerging as such as a means by which to gauge socio-political processes and cultural identifications. Students are given the opportunity to develop their own creative responses to urban contexts and/or the ‘idea of the urban’ via practice-based work.

Practitioners covered may include Krzysztof Wodiczko, Francis Alÿs, Rachel Whiteread, Daniel Libeskind, Peter Eisenman, Sophie Calle, Christo, Richard Wentworth, Janet Cardiff, Graeme Miller, Jane and Louise Wilson, Wrights and Sites, Patrick Keiller and Iain Sinclair, whilst practices considered are walking, parkour, graffiti, skateboarding, space hijacking, flash mobs and other forms of popular urban intervention. The module relates these various instances of cultural expression to theories of walking and mapping based on the flâneur figure and psychogeographical experimentation (Walter Benjamin, Michel de Certeau, Guy Debord and the Situationists), on theories of the politics and production of public space and non-place (Henri Lefebvre, Marc Augé, Jane Rendell, Doreen Massey, Nigel Thrift) and on theories of the uncanny, memory and monuments (Sigmund Freud, Steve Pile, James E. Young).

Nicolas Whybrow (n dot whybrow at warwick dot ac dot uk)

Class Times:
Monday - 15.30-17.30 - G55 Studio, Millburn House

Assessment [50% examined]

25% - Essay (3000 words) esub_button

25% - Practical Seminar Presentation
50% - Practical Examination

Further Info
Reading List
Generic Assessment Criteria for Practice
Assessment Criteria/Titles
Assessment Deadlines
Attendance List