‘Truth’, technology and transmedial theatre in Europe

Scheer, Anna and O'Gorman, Siobhan (2021) ‘Truth’, technology and transmedial theatre in Europe. Studies in Theatre and Performance, 41 (3). pp. 263-280. ISSN 1468-2761

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/14682761.2021.1964850

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‘Truth’, technology and transmedial theatre in Europe
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Abstract

Recent scholarship has expanded upon the concept of populism as performance to include a focus on how it employs digital technologies. However, what happens when theatrical performances appropriate far-right populist discourse to potentially parody how it frames its nationalist rhetoric as an appeal to ‘the people’? How do the relationships between performers and spectator-participants in such artistic works differ from those forged through the public manifestations of populist politics? How have artists who engage with populism employed technology to increase the reach and interactivity of their performances, and how does this engagement seek to undermine, and/or generate a troubling ‘belief’ in, the supposed ‘reality’ of such projects? This article critically reassesses the transmedial theatre of the late German artist Christoph Schlingensief and the Tallinn-based theatre company, Theatre NO99, in relation to current understandings of populism within an increasingly digitized, post-truth society. Schlingensief and NO99 might be seen to employ strategies of ‘subversive affirmation’ and ‘over-identification’ in their aims to resist the rise of far-right populism. Yet, we argue that these approaches can be dangerous: artists can reinforce far-right populist agendas if audiences fail to self-reflexively decode and reject subtle yet effective forms of mass manipulation – which is more likely when the components of such projects are dispersed across multiple media platforms through which counterfactual information also increasingly circulates.

Keywords:Theatre and technology, performance and populism, subversive affirmation, over-identification, transmedial art, post-truth politics
Subjects:L Social studies > L240 International Politics
W Creative Arts and Design > W440 Theatre studies
L Social studies > L210 Political Theories
J Technologies > J990 Technologies not elsewhere classified
R European Languages, Literature and related subjects > R230 German Society and Culture
R European Languages, Literature and related subjects > R290 German studies not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts (Performing Arts)
ID Code:50118
Deposited On:11 Jul 2022 10:24

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