Abstract

In 2012, at La MaMa theatre in New York city, Erik Ehn staged Soulographie, a cycle of seventeen of his plays, each concerned with genocide. The project was marked by what Ehn calls “subjective drift,” a shared contemplative practice where “I,” “you,” and “we” are “nicely confused.” This essay closely examines the ethical force of an aesthetic-contemplative mode in theatre through a study of subjective drift as interpretive and emancipatory work in the sense meant by Jacques Rancière when he speaks of an “emancipated spectator.” Analysis of Soulographie asks how the emancipated spectator might be understood in more fully theatrical terms than those that Rancière outlines, and, furthermore, how such a figure—and the relationships that constitute him or her—might be read ethically. Such ethical relations are not dependent on a physical reconfiguration of theatrical space, but are enacted when the theatrical subject itself—genocide—is linguistically emancipated. In its extremity, genocide is a provocative lens through which to ask what might be required of its spectators and what is at stake when we speak of emancipation.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-332X
Print ISSN
0192-2882
Pages
pp. 385-403
Launched on MUSE
2014-11-19
Open Access
No
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