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Badiou's Spectator-Subject and Fireworks Politics

Dalmasso, Frederic (2013) Badiou's Spectator-Subject and Fireworks Politics. Performance Research, 17 (6). ISSN 1352-8165 (In Press)

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This article examines the political nature of fireworks as a paradigm for the relation between theatre and politics. It follows the firework trope from the work of Stéphane Mallarmé to that of Alain Badiou and suggests the symbolist poet’s quest for a mysterious collective leads to the philosopher’s attempt to materially account for the necessary inexistance of emancipatory movements against or away from State, party, class or label. While for Mallarmé, the collective is the vanishing term for art, for Badiou, it is the vanishing term for politics. This article examines how, following the ephemeral May 1871 or May 1968 events, both thinkers deplore the absence of emancipatory movements and turn to theatre to think the collective as theatre provides them with an allegory similar to that of the fireworks to suggest that the political potential of the crowd resides in its ability to disperse and resist being labelled. Building upon these two allegories, this article investigates how spectators can become points of reference to map out a present of politics and how Badiou’s notion of ‘body’ and ‘trace’ developed in Logics of Worlds can be used to reactivate the political nature of Badiou’s theory of theatre.

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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: theatre, politics, fireworks
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
H Social Sciences > HX Socialism. Communism. Anarchism
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Arts
Depositing User: Frederic Dalmasso
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2013 11:47
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 16:58

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