[-empyre-] split screens

Clough, Patricia PClough at gc.cuny.edu
Sat Aug 4 02:46:08 EST 2012

thank you Tim and Renata and Simon    I have enjoyed both months on empyre    Patricia 
From: empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au [empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au] On Behalf Of Timothy Conway Murray [tcm1 at cornell.edu]
Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 2012 12:28 PM
To: soft_skinned_space
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] split screens

Hey, all, long before my days with -empyre-, I happened to pen my first book on early modern theatre politics, design, and perspective: Theatrical Legitimation: Allegories of Genius in England and France (Oxford 1987) and followed that with a discussion of counter perspectives in both Shakespeare and contemporary performance and art in: Drama Trauma: Specters of Race and Sexuality in Performance, Video, and Art (Routledge, 1997).  Hope these texts might be helpful to any of you interested in returning to the early modern genealogy of the performative screen.

I want to thank Simon Biggs for generating and overseeing such a lively month on -empyre-.  Since Renate's deep in concentration on the screens in her studio, I might take the opportunity to welcome all empyreans a happy holiday season as we take a break for August.  Renate will announce the new season later in the month.

Happy rest, sun, and pleasure to all.  We hope you enjoy the calm in your -empyre- mailbox for the month.

All my best,


Co-Managing Moderator, -empyre-

From: empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au [empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au] on behalf of Sean Cubitt [sean.cubitt at unimelb.edu.au]
Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 2012 12:19 PM
To: soft_skinned_space
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] split screens

Erkki will know far more about this but here's a thought about the western tradition in theatre design: Check Palladio's designs for the grand baroque theatre the Teatro Olimpico at Vicenza (http://www.teatrolimpicovicenza.it/en.html)

Palladio's theatre is really only fully and perfectly visible from one seat.

The melodramatic stage of the Victorians restored the baroque special effect (deus ex machine) in democratic form: everyone was to have the best seat in the house - but the best seat was modelled on the one Palladio designed for the Sovereign

The counter history – from mystery plays on carts through the wooden 'O' of the elizabethans to Brecht's apron and Boal's breakdown of the threshold between scene and audience – is almost impossible to meld with the spectacular tradition.

This might account for the oddity of Danny Boyle's Olympic spectacular: you had to be in it to appreciate it, even though it was necessarily designed for television

The illusion machines of sport: well yes: sport as spectacle, but not what they buried under the spectacular architecture of the olympic park: hackney marshes, the largest aggression of football pitches anywhere in the world, and in my time in the east End packed every weekend with teams of amateur footballers

Its like dancing: why on earth watch when you could be doing it yourself


On 1 Aug 2012, at 14:39, Johannes Birringer wrote:

> dear all
> Simon rejects an aside I made that (in reference to Erkki Huhtamo's essay "Elements of Screenology:
> Toward an Archaeology of the Screen", which the author asked us to read) was probably done more or
> less tongue in cheek, hoping to get into a conversation with Erkki here, and it was in fact a reference
> to Erkki's writing and his interesting examination of Asian traditions of shadow theatre ( and one
> could include the Bunraku puppet theatre, which Brecht also studied as he sought to draw some techniques
> from it for his own distanciation effects).
> [31] However, in some traditions, like the the Wayang beber on Bali, part of the audience sits on the
> sides, giving some spectators an opportunity to observe both the performers and the performance on
> the screen. Theoretically the existence of this “double-point-of-view”, which can be encountered
> elsewhere as well, is highly interesting. In Western traditions it was usually denied
> I was trying to ask why Erkki thought the double point of view was usually denied in
> the largely illusionist theatre and cinema traditions in the West, or what we think we can
> learn from the older screen technologies researched in the essay cited above. And yes
> it was a question directed at what Simon calls the "staid complacency of generic
> classical theatre" and, in extension, the illusion machines of cinema and television
> and sports, not excluding the gaming cultures. Other delusions machines are in
> daily operation too (advertising, beauty industry production, social media revolution,
> "the problematisations of academic art", etc), but you are probably right in arguing there's nothing wrong
> with them under given economic and cultural conditions.
> with regards
> Johannes Birringer
> Simon schreibt
> I've enjoyed this month, but I would like to reject utterly the
> implication in Johannes's question, that something "went wrong in
> western traditions" ("What went wrong in western traditions?" 27/07/12),
> and also the negativity that has characterised some of the posts
> throughout this month. For example: ..."so perhaps screens are not
> everywhere. There is hope." (Simon Biggs, 30/7/12)
> For the first issue, that there is something wrong with western
> traditions - which ones? - wanting to sustain the illusion rather than
> pierce it or enjoy the complementary halves of a fore-screen and a
> behind-the-scenes look at... wait a moment, isn't this the same west
> which puts out behind-the-scenes featurettes as promotional material?
> selling these to networks cheap to encourage audiences to fork out for
> the next blockbuster at the cinema?
> Behind-the-scenes has developed its own industry, multiplying genres and
> compounding or laminating illusion and reality.
> My experience of Brecht - also mentioned "Brecht would be pleased" in
> Johannes's post - is a Verfremdung from the staid complacency of generic
> classical theatre, things moving in an off-kilter way made even funnier,
> farcier (and faster) for the return of the backstage repressed and its
> plays of scale, toy-cars for example where a real car won't fit.
> If the Platonic dialectic of real/copy persists it is (as I said
> earlier) as an ultimately unsustainable resource fuelling the
> problematisations of academic art.
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre

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