Philosophy Propaedeutic 1

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Code Completion Credits Range Language Instruction Semester
202EFO1 Z 1 2T English winter

Subject guarantor

Alice KOUBOVÁ

Name of lecturer(s)

Alice KOUBOVÁ

Learning outcomes of the course unit

In line with the key principles of artistic research, our aim is to analyse manifold understandings of the body in artistic process through exercises, interactive situations, close reading and debates.

Mode of study

Workshop, text analysis, moderated discussions, readings.

Prerequisites and co-requisites

No requirements.

Course contents

Artistic, ethical and ideological function of the body is an omnipresent theme in the contemporary discussion on performance art. In recent decades, a turn towards a political and ideological body, exemplified by e. g. feministic performance art or a post-colonial viewpoint, is evident. This turn can be understood as a reaction to those ideals from the 20th century, which emphasized the necessity to liberate the body from societal and sexual suppression, in order to make human being free and harmonic. Contemporary theatre and performance are challenging and transgressing the traditional physical representation of the role through acting, manifested e. g. in works of Gob Squad, Katie Mitchel or Rimini Protokol. The body is no longer seen as a source of authentic truth, in the tradition of the 20th century avant-garde, but rather as socially constructed and therefore a subject of scrutiny. But this turn is in no way a total shift of paradigm: at the same time Western traditional acting and main stream theatres are served and supported by theatre academies with a curriculum and acting ideology rooted in the tradition of Stanislavsky and American Method Acting.

Starting from these examples of a widened bodily practice of representation, this workshop will practically investigate some of the following themes, according to the focus of the participants:

– What is the function of body and bodily expression in contemporary art?

– What kind of vocabulary or language is appropriate to discuss embodied artistic expression? What concepts, words, labels and new vocabulary do we need to verbalize these bodies, or aspects of the body?

– How can the body be considered a source of truth and spontaneity? Does it have its own soul?

– Can the artistic body be a neutral body, a white sheet of paper, or a void, through which the meaning flees?

– Or, is the body the very subject of discipline, political subordination, social normativity and even an object of commodification?

– If the body is considered an arena for political power games and suppression, how can this be connected to the discussion about identity and representation?

– How to tackle artistically the question of collective body emerging through the use of new digital technologies, or cyborg techniques?

The artist has to solve the issues mentioned above on a practical level, through training, exercises and meeting with an audience. Therefore, it is beneficial for any investigation into the field, to combine theoretical discussion with practical exercises. When investigating this new field, we need to reflect upon the tradition of exercises, and hopefully find new paths for developing training.

Recommended or required reading

Butler, J.: The Psychic Life of Power. Stanford: Standford University Press 1997.

Merleau-Ponty, M.: The Visible and the Invisible. Northwestern University Press 1968.

Nancy, J.-L.: Corpus. Paris: Métailié 2000.

Euripides: Médea.

Assessment methods and criteria

Credit is awarded based on: attendance and participation in workshop, completion of the semester paper.

Schedule for winter semester 2019/2020:

The schedule has not yet been prepared

Schedule for summer semester 2019/2020:

The schedule has not yet been prepared

The subject is a part of the following study plans