The Zone and Zones - Radical Spatiality in our Times

Broj 2 - Godina 2 - 06/2012

Uvodnik

The long-expected fourth issue of [sic] – a Journal of Literature, Culture and Literary Translation offers a selection of papers presented at the second international conference entitled Re-Thinking Humanities and Social Sciences and held at the University of Zadar in September 2011. The conference topic, The Zone and Zones - Radical Spatiality in our Times, proved to have been intellectually enticing to almost one hundred scholars who managed to create a radical space of their own. Immersed into the zone of Croatian seaside filled with the aroma of pine trees and the Adriatic Sea, the zone of leisure rather than work, they managed to create an intellectual heterotopia by discussing the multilayered meanings of space. ..

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Izdvojeno

Jedan je čovjek rekao: „Najljepše godine moga života su ondje, u prašini eksplozije.“Zaspali su u kukuruzu. Ništa ne čuju, ništa ne vide. Mladi su. Kukuruz ih štiti.Operaciju su najavili u tisku. Televizija, radio ponavljaju informaciju, riječi naviru, uporne, i ako se rečenica izgubi od jedne do druge sobe, rekonstituirat će se između kuhinje i balkona. Čuje se: „rušenje… problemi… zone… stambeni park… prenaseljenost… predgrađe… dotrajalost… rušenje… eksploziv… stambena četvrt… deset nebodera…“ Shvaćamo da će već mjesecima zazidani neboderi biti srušeni. Barem je to jednostavno. Iz jednog se nebodera preselila u drugi. Kad je suprug došao po nju u selo, odmah je pristala. Sve te godine u kući koja nikad neće biti njezina. Od prvog je dana znala da je majka njenog supruga neće voljeti. Nije ju zlostavljala, ignorirala ju je, kao da ona nije bila majka djece njenog najstarijeg sina. Svekrva ju je intrigama pokušala odvojiti od dječaka kako bi ih poslala da žive s ocem jer ona nije bila dostojna odgajati sinove, a kćeri, to je manje važno, one mogu ostati s majkom. U dvjema sobama kuće koja nije njena kuća čekala je dan kad će je suprug izbaviti od prešutnog i podmuklog proganjanja. Otputovala je s djecom, svekrva je plakala, htjela je otići s najstarijim sinom u drugu zemlju. Starica je ostala u svojoj kući....

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Featuring as one of the privileged metaphors in humanities and social sciences, theatre provides primarily an image of a circumscribed space whose spatial syntax and modes of human engagement take place within and with respect to the larger space of the city, the world, and, as in Calderon’s Gran teatro del mundo, the universe. It is precisely as a special organization of spatiality that theatre reached the status of Foucault’s radical hetero-topos, flexible as it proved to be as a model for not only counter-representing all the human dealings in the external space, but also of conceptualizing, as in Freud’s psychoanalysis, man’s inner world, his psychic topography. But theatre is above all a concrete place, a built form with its own spatial history, its changing social and ideological functions, and its ways of bestowing to the bodies that enter into it actual or phantasm identities, thoughts, sensations, feelings and memories.My intervention will deal with one of the ruling borders/dichotomies/barriers of theatrical space, the one dividing “front stage” from “backstage” regions. In his detailed analysis of the latter in an individual and concrete theatre building, Andrew Filmer relies among others on Edward Soja’s “trialectics of being”, and thus also on Lefebvre’s categories of perceptual, conceptual and lived aspects of spatiality which Soja evokes, which will here be of particular interest. In contrast to the repercussions of such an analytical triad for the ethnographic study of concrete theatrical sites, I will ask how it pertains to potential manipulations of the aforementioned division of front-stage and backstage within contemporary performance practice. The temporal aspect of this manipulation should also be emphasized, having in mind the historical provenance of a whole backstage mythology – evidenced in numerous novels, plays and films situated in the backstage world - in the elaborated architectural designs of the so-called théâtre a l’italienne. It is its 19th century version, especially after the introduction of the electric light, that sharpened the separation between the darkened auditorium, the enlightened stage and the invisible space behind, where the actors prepared themselves for the entrance, and where the stage-hands of technicians assured the smoothness of the contrivance. Given the fact that 20th century European theatre history is crucially marked by attempts at breaking free from the coercions of such theatre architecture, with all its ingrained power relations, and particularly the ways in which it dictates the actor-audience relationships, contemporary come-backs to this type of theatre in the form of site-specific performances requires some further theoretical and interpretive elaboration....

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Experiences of listening can be appreciated as intensely relational, bringing us into contact with surrounding events, bodies and things. Given that sound propagates and expands outwardly, as a set of oscillations from a particular source, listening carries with it a sensual intensity, whereby auditory phenomena deliver intrusive and disruptive as well as soothing and assuring experiences. The physicality characteristic of sound suggests a deeply impressionistic, locational "knowledge structure" – that is, the ways in which listening affords processes of exchange, of being in the world, and from which we extend ourselves. Sound, as physical energy reflecting and absorbing into the materiality around us, and even one's self, provides a rich platform for understanding place and emplacement. Sound is always already a trace of location.Such features of auditory experience give suggestion for what I may call an acoustical paradigm – how sound sets in motion not only the material world but also the flows of the imagination, lending to forces of signification and social structure, and figuring us in relation to each other. The relationality of sound brings us into a steady web of interferences, each of which announces the promise or problematic of being somewhere....

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It is time to radically rethink the question of the political – is how contemporary theorist Enrique Dussel explained the motive to write his Twenty (20) Theses on Politics [20 Tesis de política], almost six years ago. In one of his theses he stated that the radical transmutation of the political system is actually a “response to new interventions by the oppressed and excluded” (Dussel 112), or in other words, that it relies on other spaces and impulses of the political, namely on those which are dedicated to engaging in critical, that is, liberating actions. A year ago, in a joint public conversation between two leading feminist theorists – Judith Butler and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak – organized by the Centre for Postcolonial Theory in Frankfurt in May 2011 and devoted to critique today, the main meaning of critique was expressed neither as a method nor as a theoretical position, rather as its potency to explore “how it may be possible to think”; namely, the way “in which we pose the question of the limits of our most sure ways of knowing, doing and thinking” (Judith Butler & Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak 2011) is what constitutes a sense of critique, what makes it workable. ...

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