The Presence of the Past - European Cultures of Memory (2010)

Performative Presence of the Past

Die Summer School des IPP (2.-14. Juli 2010) findet in diesem Jahr zum ersten Mal im Rahmen des neu gegründeten DAAD-IP „European Cultures of Memory“ statt.
Unter dem Thema "Performative Presence of the Past" fragen die verschiedenen Veranstaltungen nach der Rolle gerade performativer und theatraler Modelle von Zeugenschaft und deren konstitutiver Bedeutung für die Präsenz von Vergangenheit. Im Fokus stehen dabei Formen der schauspielerischen Repräsentation des Vergangenen, Fragen von Zeugenschaft im Theater sowie bestimmte nationale Modelle von Theatergeschichtsschreibung. Ergänzt werden die Seminare durch praktische Workshops, eine Lecture-Reihe sowie ein umfangreiches Rahmenprogramm.



Freddie Rokem (Tel Aviv):
The Theatricality of Witnessing
(2 July, 5.00 p.m., P2 Philosophicum)

Steve Wilmer (Dublin):
The Reassertion of Past Cultural Identities in the Soviet Union
(5 July, 5.30 p.m., Alte Mensa)

Martin Puchner (New York):
Gertrude Stein: Text and Theater in the Avant-garde
(6 July, 5.30 p.m., Alte Mensa)

Friedemann Kreuder (Mainz):
German Art and German Politics – Richard Wagner’s Die Meister-singer von Nürnberg (1867) in the Age of a Risky Modernity
(7 July, 5.30 p.m., Alte Mensa)

Nicholas Johnson (Dublin):
Language, Multiplicity, and Void: The Radical Politics of the Modernist Subject
(9 July, 5.30 p.m., P2 Philosophicum)

Paul Kottman (New York):
Defying the Stars: Tragic Love and the Struggle for Freedom in Romeo and Juliet
(10 July, 6.00 p.m., Alte Mensa)

Barbara Gronau (Berlin):
„Der Tod hält mich wach“ – Die Zeitschichten des Joseph Beuys
In cooperation with SOCUM
(12 July, 4.00 p.m., Alte Mensa)

Mita Banerjee (Mainz):
Race and Gender in 20th Century Film
(13 July, 5.30 p.m., Alte Mensa)


Seminar 1: “What art thou?” Ghosts on Stage: The Uneasy Persistence of the Past.
Peter W. Marx (Bern), Martin Puchner (New York)

Ghosts on stage enact an uneasy presence of the past: they do not simply represent the past but challenge the present with a call for the right of the past, be it revenge, reconciliation or sacrifice. While the appearance of ghosts is a widespread phenomenon, they are rather contingent in their specific guise and ‘vocation’.
The seminar will take a closer look at different ‘apparitions’ on stage, ranging from Senecan ghosts, to Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and up to Heiner Müller, but also non-Western ghosts as they appear in Nô plays among others.

Seminar 2: Acting the Past
Stefan Hulfeld (Wien), Friedemann Kreuder (Mainz)

The ways in which actors represent the past will be identified in terms of the respective proximity or distance that an actor establishes to the figure being presented. The realization of a veristic, rhetorical, or playful-reflexive style draws in part from historically remote acting traditions, which extend into contemporary performances as a reevaluated and reactualized past. If one understands culture not only as text but also – contrary to a decades-old tradition of academic thought – as performance, the question of the proximity or distance of staged representation to its objects of presentation asserts itself in the wider field of inquiry concerning contemporary Cultural Performances (Singer) and the aesthetic, ethical, and material interests of contemporary (memory) culture manifested in theatrical forms.
The performance approach explores cultural studies from the New Historicist perspective of Stephen Greenblatt, as a circulation of social energy through historical processes. Observed from such a cultural studies perspective of necessary longue durée, acting methods as well as their associated discourses become key indices of the realisation of cultural values, as well as the possibility of commenting upon them.

Seminar 3: Theatre and Nationalism
Philippe Wellnitz (Montpellier), Steve Wilmer (Dublin)

This seminar will focus on plays and theatrical events in Europe and North America from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries and their role in establishing or challenging national values, such as Schiller’s William Tell and The Maid of Orleans, W. B. Yeats, Cathleen ni Houlihan, J.M. Synge, The Playboy of the Western World, Anna Deavere Smith, Twilight: L.A., Tony Kushner, Angels in America. The lectures will review the formation of national theatres and the use of nationalist ideologies in the theatre, and the development of national dramatic canons in Europe and the United States, as well as transnational and anti-national performances. It will also consider the virulent nationalist performances of the Nazi era, as well as plays by Brecht, Hochhuth and Heiner Müller that attacked that ideology. In addition to plays and theatrical events, students will examine theoretical and philosophical texts on nationalism and the construction of national identity (such as those by Anthony Smith, Benedict Anderson, Homi Bhabha, Ernest Gellner, Ernest Renan, and Eric Hobsbawm).

Workshop A: The Multiplicity of Memories: Physical Ensemble Performance
Nicholas Johnson (Dublin)

This practical workshop will focus on the physical approach to performance, the use of an ensemble to create theatre, and techniques of improvisation. The body itself — and the gathering of multiple bodies that forms an "ensemble" — will be used to explore techniques of presenting narrative from our individual and collective past. The training vocabulary will include reference to the acting approaches of Michael Chekhov, Bertolt Brecht, and the art of corporeal mime. These practical explorations will deepen our theoretical understanding of some fundamentals of performance, treating the ensemble as a laboratory for experimentation with energy, noise, text, memory, and finally politics.
Please note: this workshop will be active, physically demanding at times, and will require clothes for movement.

Workshop B: The Body's Memory
Gabriele C. Pfeiffer (Wien)

The human body functions as material as well as an instrument for performers. Different techniques and styles of acting, depending on tradition and cultural identity, are memorized inside the body from where they are retrievable. The body itself is a medium and manifestation of individual acquired craft and at the same time of cultural memory. During the workshop different applications of techniques will be expounded and discussed with focus on the Euro-American field. Drawing on an emic and etic perspective, there will be a physical approach with rudimentary practical work.

Workshop C: Animated Retrospection
Franziska Bruckner (Wien)

This workshop is a theoretical and practical introduction into the world of animation. The students will study examples of animation film in various animation-techniques, which contend the issues “memory" and/or “history". The second part will be a practical attempt to recombine the historical background of all workshop students, using found footage of the students families, eg. old pictures in order to bring a new perspective to those historical artifacts through animation like cutout-animation, modified-base animation or pixilation.

Attention! Unfortunatley the workshop on "Alas! Mon Dieu! Interjections, Emotionality, and Culture" by Corinne Blin (Montpellier) has been canceled and will be replaced by the following:

Workshop D: Urban Soundscapes (Performing the City)
Michael Bachmann (Mainz)

During the last decade, performance studies have rediscovered sound as a paradigm for performativity. This is due, at least in part, to sound’s ephemeral nature: In contrast to moving images, sounds cannot be put on pause without disappearing. The workshop takes this fleeting presence as a starting point for performing the city—its past, present and future—by building either acoustic narratives or aural atmospheres from the sounds that we gather (i.e., record) when walking through Mainz, Frankfurt and Wiesbaden.


Weiterhin sind Exkursionen, Evening Lectures und Presentation Panels geplant, die in Kürze hier bekannt gegeben werden.

Die Summer School des IPP richtet sich in erster Linie an Doktoranden der am IP “The Presence of the Past – European Cultures of Memory” beteilgten Partnerinstitutionen (Universität Mainz, Universität Wien; Unversity Paul Valériy, Montpellier; Trinity Collge Dublin).

Nach Maßgabe freier Plätze steht die Teilnahme aber auch externen Interessenten offen. Bewerbungen können bis zum 15. Mai 2010 unter (Betreff: Application Summer School) eingereicht werden und sollten neben einem Motivationsschreiben Informationen zum akademischen Lebenslauf sowie ein kurzes Exposé (max 500 Wörter) des Promotionsprojekts enthalten.
Die Teilnahmegebühr beträgt 150 € und umfasst Kosten für Kursgebühren sowie Verpflegung während der Veranstaltungen. Für Exkursionen und kulturelles Rahmenprogramm können gesonderte Gebühren entstehen, die vor Ort zu entrichten sind.

Für ausgewählte Teilnehmer kann das IPP Performance and Media Studies fünf Summer School-Stipendien gewähren.

Auf Wunsch kann die Unterbringung in Privatunterkünften oder Pensionszimmern durch das IPP organisiert werden. Die Kosten für Ü/F während der gesamten Dauer der Summer School betragen unabhängig von einer evtl. Förderung durch ein Summer School-Stipendium 400 €.