PHILIP AUSLANDER QUOTES

author and educator

In theatre, presence is the matrix of power; the postmodern theatre of resistance must therefore both expose the collusion of presence with authority and resist such collusion by refusing to establish itself as the charismatic Other.

PHILIP AUSLANDER, From Acting to Performance

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Tags: theatre


If television once could be seen as ranking among a number of vehicles for conveying expression or information from which we could choose, we no longer have that choice: the televisual has become an intrinsic and determining element of our cultural formation.

PHILIP AUSLANDER, Liveness

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Tags: television


Different media therefore do not interact with one another as equals.... if you have live bodies and projections on the same stage, most people are going to look at the projections. This is partly a perceptual matter: the projected images are usually larger and brighter and therefore attract more attention. But it also has to do with the cultural dominance of the screened image at this historical moment. What I meant when I said that "Dance + Virtual = Virtual" is that, because video and digital media currently possess greater cultural presence than live bodies, they become the framing elements of any performance that incorporates both. The live elements will be perceived through that frame--they will be seen in terms of the video or digital media, not the other way around.

PHILIP AUSLANDER, interview, Performance Paradigm

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To move from a discussion of the early relationship between theatre and television to an examination of the current situation of live performance is to confront the irony that whereas television initially sought to replicate and, implicitly, to replace live theatre, live performance itself has developed since that time toward the replication of the discourse of mediatization.

PHILIP AUSLANDER, Liveness

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Glam rockers unquestionably used their performances of queer identities to provoke and rebel against the status quo in a way that roughly parallels earlier rockers' use of black music and identities. But there is also a crucial difference: whereas black music has always been central to the rock imaginary, queer identities were relegated to its periphery until glam came along.... Even though it is arguable that rock is equally steeped in a long tradition of masculine display that was often effeminate and implicitly queer, evocations of that tradition are not generally seen within rock culture as celebrations of rock authenticity.

PHILIP AUSLANDER, Performing Glam Rock: Gender and Theatricality in Popular Music

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Tags: rock 'n' roll


We need to remain alert to what happens to the body when it is mediatised. Too often, the mediatised body is an anaesthetised body. I would be the last person to argue that the body signifies at some basic level that precedes or transcends its cultural inscriptions. Nevertheless, there is an ethical imperative not to conflate the body with its representations and mediations, but to remember that there is an actual body there somewhere, experiencing the consequences of what is being done to it.

PHILIP AUSLANDER, interview, Performance Paradigm

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The dilemma of Brechtian performance is that, for all of Brecht's emphasis on rationality and the undermining of theatrical illusion, the actor must convincingly portray something that she is not.

PHILIP AUSLANDER, From Acting to Performance: Essays in Modernism and Postmodernism

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Tags: Bertolt Brecht


It's impossible to say that live art enjoys any single status in the information age--there are versions of live art that are still primarily art-world phenomena, others that appeal to much broader audiences. The Burning Man festival is a case in point--an event featuring performance that is itself a performance, which partakes simultaneously of frontier mythology, a counter-cultural impulse, and popular cultural visibility.

PHILIP AUSLANDER, interview, Performance Paradigm

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Television's usurpation of the cultural-economic position formerly enjoyed by live media such as theatre was not simply the result of the generalized mediatization of our society. Its specific ability to position itself as theatre's replacement originates in the claims of immediacy made on behalf of television throughout its development, and in its claim to replicate theatrical discourse. What is true of the relationship between television and theatre is equally true, by allegorical extension, of the general cultural relationship of the televisual and mediatized to the live: the ideology of liveness that the televisual (the cultural dominant that is now expressed through a variety of media) inherited from television (the medium) has enabled it to displace and replace live performance in a wide variety of cultural contexts.

PHILIP AUSLANDER, Liveness

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