Thursday, 21 August 2014

Glasgow School VI: some questions and a rationale

A few people have asked what this Glasgow School posting is all about, so I thought I would pause for a moment and explain... here's an extract from my proposal.

The question can be divided into three distinct phases. First of all, do artists think that they are a part of a Glaswegian aesthetic, and what qualities do they think this contains?

How is this aesthetic manifested in Glaswegian performance, from individual shows through to the curation of programmes and festivals – and do audiences recognise a particular aesthetic that is shared?

Does a Glaswegian aesthetic exist in practice? What is its impact on the nature of the theatre created and performed in Glasgow?

To clarify a few things: I don't believe that there is such a thing as an 'essential' geographical nature to any artistic endeavours - at least not that I could work out. It is possible that Glasgow has a particular set of social, political, even spiritual qualities that impact upon art, but each artist engages with these through their own, as I keep putting it these days, nervous system.

But I do think that there might be a perception of shared values, and a great many people are going to get some questions in their in-boxes.

I am going to do statistical magic, too. As soon as I work out how to use numbers like a big boy.

Here's a bit more of my proposal...

Reader response theory,  championed by Iser (ed. Counsell & Wolf, 2001: p179), states that 'central to the reading of every literary work is the interaction between its structure and the recipient.' My methodology, a mixture of surveys and conversations with curators and artists is designed to facilitate this dialogue within the Glaswegian performance communities. 

Although the audience is privileged as a 'meaning-maker,' the process begins with the creators and artists identifying their intentions, which then provide  foundations for the audience response and critical analysis.

Email interviews with curators and artists begin the process, based around  key theories, their work's overall identity, and asking how it sits within Glasgow's cultural identity. Olsen's arguments for a semiotic approach (Olsen, 2002) suggest that these answers can provide a framework for the discussions of the work's identity. 

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