Tuesday, 26 August 2014

A very Brief meditation on the methodology behind the Glasgow School

One of the theories I can understand, roughly, in Mark Fortier's concise and useful Theory/Theatre is Reader-Response. I gathered that it postulates that the reader (or in the case of theatre, the audience) are in a collaboration with the writer (the company) to forge the meaning of a text (the show). That was enough for me: it fits in with Red Bastard's bold statement that it is up the audience whether they have a good time.

The theory embraces, unlike many other worthy theories, the idea of radical subjectivity. A text is not fixed, as if by magic, into a singular meaning. Instead, it gets new meaning with every reader. Hans Robert Jauss (and again, I am referencing Fortier's book) examines how a work of art is interpreted in different ways in different periods.

For this project, I am tweaking the terms around a little: the audience is interested parties, the performance is everything that happens in a theatrical environment in Glasgow and environs.

Yes, I know that is going to need some definition. I can live with that. I just have to do it.

Anyway, my methodology is taken from that day Hendrix took lighter fluid to his guitar. I am throwing around ideas and seeing what happens with them. I have vague hopes that a certain kind of conversation will emerge, one in which critic and artist are happy to talk together, but I have no particular interest in the conclusions... that isn't true... I am disinterested, not uninterested.

I find reader-response theory exciting because it recognises the importance of the individual's experience surrounding the experience of an artwork, without slipping into 'whatever you think is okay' territory. It suggests that the critical process can be part of the art.

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