The Bad Spectator – Performing Arts between Construction and Deconstruction International Conferen

Venue: The Faculty of Theatre and Television

Location: Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Event Date/Time: Jun 07, 2012 End Date/Time: Jun 09, 2012
Registration Date: Dec 15, 2011
Early Registration Date: Nov 15, 2011
Abstract Submission Date: Dec 15, 2011
Paper Submission Date: Apr 30, 2012
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A great number of performing arts’ historians, as well as art historians, critics, semioticians, philosophers, psychologists, sociologists and artists have focused on the complexity of the reception phenomenon and onto its congnitive, emotional, or social implications. Thus, the issue of the spectator’s reaction has always claimed a special interest, but most often, the discourses have been oriented towards the ideal spectator, towards the projections that artists have concerning a targeted audience, towards a chosen, accepted spectator.
This conference plans to adress the issue of audiences in a different way and to investigate the place of the unwanted spectator in the theatre history, film history, visual arts and performing arts history in general.
How should a spectator not be? Is there an instance of the spectator that frightens the artist, a “cursed” spectator? What would be the characteristics of the “bad/evil” look directed towards a movie or a theatrical performance? How has this negative spectator been portrayed, how has he been represented, attached to performing arts? Has he ever become a character in itself? A theme, a subject, an obsession? Let us think of spies, of bad advisers, of the figure of the traitor, of the plagiator (thief of images or of artistic content), of the “monstruos” bourgeois that the avangardes intended to shock. All these without forgetting Censorship with its allmighty spectators, Censorship that undertakes all imagined forms throughout history, starting with the early hostile attitude of the Christian Church towards theatre performances, passing through the banning and the indexing implemented by the censors of the totalitary regims (nazism, communism), up to the non-explicit censorship of contemporary cultural politics.
Is the bad spectator the negative critic, or on the contrary, the one that simply turns its back to the performance with indifference and leaves; is he or she the one that foolishly acclaims performances which lack aesthetic and artistic qualities? What would be the consequence of the bad spectator’s action upon the work of art? Because the latter can be destroyed, shaken by him, but also revitalised, resuscitated from its own ashes. Do we forget the passed centuries’ conspiracies, plots, the tomatoes thrown at the actors? How is this attitude manifested today and what is the role of the mass-media in covering the “negative” reception?
The conference that we are to organize in the spring-summer of 2012 could, in this note, approach the topic from multiple perspectives, framed in sections, that will be specified later on: perspectives – historical, anthropological, socio-political, aestethical, thematical, psychological şi psychoanalytical, iconographical, reception criticism. This call for contributions is adressed mainly to researchers in the field of performing arts (theatre, cinema), but also to specialists in visual arts, in mass-media, communication theory or visual anthropology.


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