Free

The End of the End of History: Decadence, Decline, and Transition

Event Information

Share this event

Date and Time

Location

Location

QS/111, York St John University

Lord Mayor's Walk

York

YO31 7EX

United Kingdom

View Map

Friends Who Are Going
Event description

Description

The End of the End of History: Decadence, Decline, and Transition

17th May 15.00-17.00, QS111, York St John University

This research seminar is part of the Concordance and Dissonance: Staging Conversations Across Arts and Humanities research series. The aim of each session is to bring together speakers who will contribute short papers/provocations/performance lectures followed by a curated conversation that seeks to establish zones of concordance and dissonance within current discourses.

Decadent theatre in the twenty-first century: Pleasure, excess and ruination
Adam Alston, University of Surrey
Twenty-first century theatre is exhibiting compelling signs of decadence. While scholars and practitioners have been wary of theatre's decadent leanings for some time, I will be arguing in this paper that innovations in what decadence might mean and look like are today being embraced by theatre makers as an opportunity to reflect on the coding of cultural value. Firstly, I will turn to the 'decadent movement' at the fin de siècle in Europe to establish three key features of decadent aesthetics: pleasure, excess, and ruination. Secondly, I will reflect on decadence's pejorative connotations, as well as their relevance to contemporary theatre. Finally, I will be considering how artists today are innovating the aesthetics and politics of decadence by using highly theatrical strategies of representation, such as Amanda Couch, Gavin Krastin and The Famous Lauren Barri Holstein. I am particularly interested in examples that flatten the distribution of privilege by appropriating the aesthetics of decadence, uncoupling it from a heritage largely limited to the activities of white and wealthy men. Furthermore, I will be ruminating on the evolution of meaning and cultural value, focusing on decadent theatre - a maligned area of research - to shed light on broader processes of decline and transition in such a charged political moment.

Re-mixing H.D.'s Trilogy: Innovative poetics at 'the end of the end of history'
Kimberly Campanello, York St. John University
This performative lecture will engage the modernist poetics of H.D.'s (1886-1961) Trilogy, which was written while she was living in London during the Second World War. Arguably, the significance of Trilogy has been obfuscated by an overwhelming focus on Eliot's The Waste Land and Pound's Cantos. Amidst what seemed to be a literal end to European history, H.D.'s Trilogy is an epic dream vision, a 'making new' of Egyptian, Greek, Jewish, and Christian myths, a veneration of the Freudian unconscious, a resurrection of the Poet as Seer and of Woman as Poet. In this performative lecture, I will re-mix Trilogy with contemporary discourses on poetics and politics in order to consider the relevance of contemporary innovative/experimental poetry at 'the end of the end of history'.

Decadence, the Beginning and End of Culture: Some Nietzschean Reflections
Gary Peters, York St John University
The image of the solitary man (Ubermensch), on a mountain top surveying all beneath him regularly appears on the cover of books by Nietzsche. It is a very misleading image, suggesting some sort of overcoming or transcendence of the decadent 'herd' below. Nietzsche himself preferred the image of the snake or serpent consuming itself, a symbol of eternity without beginnings or ends and, incidentally, without any transcendence of the bestial. Within such an economy of eternal self-consumption decadence can no longer figure as the 'end' of history any more than it can be construed as the 'beginning' of the end or of the commencement of a tragic decline. For Nietzsche, both descent and ascent, decay and growth, vice and virtue, lies and truth are all equally symptoms of decadence; an originary 'falling away' that, for him, 'civilization' attempts to repress and 'culture' (art) renders creative.

Biographical notes

Adam Alston is Lecturer in Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Surrey. He is author of Beyond Immersive Theatre: Aesthetics, Politics and Productive Participation (2016, Palgrave Macmillan), co-editor of Theatre in the Dark: Shadow, Gloom and Blackout in Contemporary Theatre (2017, Bloomsbury), and has published a range of journal articles and book chapters exploring audience engagement in contemporary theatre and performance. Adam is currently co-convener of the Theatre and Performance Research Association’s Performance, Identity and Community Working Group.

Kimberly Campanello is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at York St John University. Her current projects include MOTHERBABYHOME, a 796-page conceptual and visual poem on the St Mary’s Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, Ireland (forthcoming with zimZalla Avant Objects, Manchester) and Constance and Eva, a play on Eva Gore-Booth and Constance Markiewicz, two Anglo-Irish sisters who renounced their privileged backgrounds and played significant roles in 20th century struggles for women’s suffrage, worker’s rights and Irish freedom.

Gary Peters is Professor of Philosophy and Performance at York St John University. His main area of research is continental philosophy and aesthetics with particular reference to improvisation and performance. His book Irony and Singularity: Aesthetic Education from Kant to Levinas was published in 2005 by Routledge. His second book, The Philosophy of Improvisation was published in 2009 by the University of Chicago Press. His latest book: Improvising Improvisation: From Out Of Music, Dance and Literature was published in 2017 by The University of Chicago Press.

For any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch at: e.nedelkopoulou@yorksj.ac.uk

Share with friends

Date and Time

Location

QS/111, York St John University

Lord Mayor's Walk

York

YO31 7EX

United Kingdom

View Map

Save This Event

Event Saved