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Programme Scenic devices: bodies, texts, images

The scene as a device permits the combination of arts that are often studied in isolation (literature, visual arts, music, dance, etc.). Beyond the contrast between text and image, the scene often circulates between different representational formats (text, still images, moving images, performance and scenic arts, decorative arts, etc.); it transgresses the boundaries between genres and registers and academic hierarchies of the high and minor arts (chanson, the popular theatrical forms of Antiquity, puppet theatre, etc.), works of art and material culture (decorative objects and arts).

The treatment of the body that it proposes is a prime example of this circulation. Issues of the relationship between place and meaning, which give rise to the scene, are concentrated in the body, which provides an object for representation while having the capacity to show the limitations of that representation.

This programme deals with recurrent and exemplary themes: sexuality, murder, feasting – erotic scenes as scenes of sex, murder scenes as crime scenes and dinner scenes as “eating scenes”.

- Erotic scenes, sex scenes: the aim here is to investigate the hypothesis of theatricality (among other things, in terms of scenic devices) by applying it to an interdisciplinary corpus (literature, theatre, painting) extended to photography and film, which provides the basis on which to build a theory of the modern and contemporary erotic scene in the arts of performance, images and literature.

- Crime stories, crime scenes: research on this theme seeks to extend the study of the very fertile notion of the “crime scene”, examining this obligatory element in any crime story and expanding the corpus to include theatre (Ancient literature, Shakespeare), painting and film, crime on the opera stage, etc. In 2012 a study day will be held on the “composition de la scène de crime” [composition of the crime scene] with a view to developing ethical and aesthetic questions linked to the issue of crime as “fine art”: the question of discourse on art in detective fiction seems crucial and will provide one theme of the cross-disciplinary conference.

- Meal scenes, scenes of devouring: this new field of exploration will be inaugurated with a study day in 2011. Many meal scenes in literature (feasts, menu imagery, episodes of cannibalism, etc.) and film (Babette’s Feast, Festen, La Grande Bouffe, Delicatessen, etc.) take on a definitive and unhinged character: the meal unravels into a scene of devouring in which the exploding of social convention provides a paradoxical and yet primary subject for representation: objects and bodies are at once invasive and destined to disappear.

This association of scenic devices (crime, sexuality, meals) is not a simple juxtaposition, but rather an exponential accumulation of effects that are interlinked to breaking point. For example, we could consider the orgiastic, ancient and archaic dimensions of scenes manifesting a “trash” aesthetic since the 1970s (see, in the theatre, the work of Sarah Kane and Rodrigo Garcia, and in film, the spectacular trash scenes in Seven or even The Wing and the Thigh). So we can consider by what means and to what ends – for example at the psychological, sociological and political levels ¬– the drives to life and death are staged in the art of today. Such scenes are clearly organised around consumption, which involves accumulation and exhaustion – the consumption of food, certainly, but also of sex and even of crime (“everything is consumed”).

- Popular scenes and the staging of bodies:
One of the major issues for dance today, offering a fertile and varied field of research, is that of aesthetic renewal. The history of dance shows several periods of interrogation and stagnation, with the regular emergence of an idea of creativity in decline, of the great difficulties choreographers face in renewing their work, at a time when the “inventions” of a period now coming to a close have become fixed in a new “classicism” and indeed academicism. Creativity in dance can only have life if it draws on external practices that are new, unexpected and sometimes marginal, overturning notions that have become fixed certainties. We propose to explore those “moments” in the history of dance when new ideas or ideas from the margins have undermined and shifted the centre, thus helping to make choreographic creation more dynamic. The ways and means of this aesthetic renewal are many and various:
- Renewal through the reinterrogation and appropriation of popular dance forms. Today’s choreographers are turning to forms such as Hip Hop, Krumping, Funk styles (locking, popping), House Dance and styles found in clubs, where new physical techniques are developed, in order to develop their own creativity. Other less well-examined themes emerge in the link between dance and film, such as the Danciné project, which will become a specific focus for research:
- the place of film in the art of choreography, on the dance stage, on the stage of dance theatre and in performance that involves choreography.
- At the social level: this renewal also takes new directions, opened and supported by new social aspirations.
- At the cultural level: renewal also involves hybrid phenomena: western contemporary dance is enhanced and transformed through contact with dance and other movement practices from the East (in the broadest sense).
In association with the other parts of the programme, this element also explores theatrical forms that combine performance and images with uses of text that differ from classic practices. Mime, acrobats and puppets, notably in the ancient period, will be studied in association with GDR 3279, the section on popular performance being headed by M.-H. Garelli-François of LLA-CRÉATIS.

Outcomes of the programme

Past events

• 2008 study day: Scène du crime
• 2009 study day: Scène érotique XVIII siècle [PDF - 982 Ko]
• 2009 study day: Polar [PDF - 1 Mo]
• 2010: International conference: “Encres noires, écrans noirs: poétique, Politique & Métaphysique entre texte et film noirs [PDF - 744 Ko]
• 2010: study day: “Scène érotique/Scène de sexe [PDF - 344 Ko]
• 2010: International conference: “Aux marges du théâtre: de la rue à la scène dans l'Antiquité [PDF - 4 Mo]
• 2011: monthly seminar on popular performance in Antiquity at ENS, rue d'Ulm (as part of GDR 3279)
• 2011: study day: “Théâtralité de la scène érotique dans la littérature et dans les arts de l’image et du spectacle de 1970 à nos jours [PDF - 495 Ko]
• 2011:  « Nouvelles scènes, nouveaux dispositifs : l'émergence du théâtre galicien » [PDF - 887 Ko]
• 2011: study day: “Scène prandiale/scène de bouffe [PDF - 977 Ko]
• 2011: study day: “Le corps marionnettique comme corps-frontière [PDF - 1 Mo]
• 2011: study day: “Almodramas: la teatralidad en los filmes de Pedro Almodovar”
• 2012: seminar “Du dispositif au dispositivo [PDF - 122 Ko]
• 2012: study day: “Le jeu du spectateur dans le théâtre d'Angélica Liddell [PDF - 197 Ko]
• 2012: study day: “Théâtre de marionnettes: chorégraphier la matière [PDF - 140 Ko]


Planned events

• 2014 International conference: “Scènes de sexe: transgression et subversion dans la littérature et les arts”
• 15 November 2013: study day “Danse et altérité. Renouvellements politico-esthétiques de la danse en occident”
• 4 June 2013: study day “Jeux et enjeux du corps: entre poïétique et perception” (doctoral student study days)
• 31 May 2013: study day “Scènes queer dans la littérature, les arts et les médias”
• 23 March 2013: study day “Les dispositifs scéniques dans les dramaturgies catalanes actuelles”


Publications

Planned publications notably include a co-authored book on crime scenes and another on erotic scenes. This programme supports several theses.

The contribution from LLA CREATIS to GDR 3279 will also include annotated editions of three books in defence of popular genres (Lucien, La Danse; Libanios, Discours 64 Contre Aristide; and Chorikios de Gaza, Défense des mimes).


 

 

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