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The agonistic objectification : choreography as a play between abundance and lack

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

If a game refers to the contest between differential positions mobilised by contrasting interests, can we envisage a work of art in relation to a game structure? The answer is yes. All art is structured by game principles. All art is about one idea contesting another excluded from representation or embodiment in a work of art. This operation is reflected in the various ways artistic practices, including the performing arts, perceive and articulate everyday objects and in the diverse ways art theory tries to explain the being of these objects. But, to clarify this answer, let me explain what is at stake here. Firstly, by offering a glimpse of Mette Edvardsen's choreographic work which examines the play between 'presence' and 'absence' of objects. And, secondly, by envisaging how contemporary performances contribute to the development of theoretical perspectives which reflect this play/game through the contestation of the philosophical trajectories of immanence and transcendence. What I am suggesting here is that a consideration of these theories and performance practices in terms of game structures will allow us to understand the political dimension of all social practice, including art and theory. With this in mind, I will attempt to show that the political dimension of artistic practice is constituted in the eternal interplay, or encounter, of two differential aspirations: the ultimate grounding of the being of objects, and the revelation of the historical, contingent and constructed nature of the being of objects. This view opens up the space for understanding the object in terms of agonistic rather than objective relations. The goal of this article is to demonstrate that to acknowledge agonistic objectifications is to invigorate democracy.
Journal: Performance Research
ISSN: 1352-8165
Issue: 4
Volume: 21
Pages: 34 - 40
Publication year:2016