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|Title:||Overcoming the Metaphysics of Consciousness: Being/Artaud|
|Authors:||Johnston, Daniel Waycott|
Department of Performance Studies
theatre of cruelty
Being and Time
acting and philosophy
|Publisher:||Australasian Association for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies|
|Abstract:||Some recent theories of the mind have invoked the theatre as a metaphor to explain consciousness. This paper suggests that there is something irreducible to consciousness and that theatre can be an invaluable tool for exploring such subject matter. Rather than explain the mind through theory, performance practices can use immediate experience to investigate consciousness. Of course, Antonin Artaud’s ‘Theatre of Cruelty’ articulates the hope of apprehending consciousness through immediate experience, overcoming ‘literature’ and the alienating ossification of language. For Artaud, the ‘self’ has always been stolen at birth yet he suggests it can be returned through the theatre. The Theatre of Cruelty is an overcoming of the metaphysical obstructions of ‘being’. Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time also seeks to reveal the concept of 'Being' by destroying the historical misunderstanding of the term. Heidegger' claims that 'Dasein' (Being-there), the human subject, is maintained by a radical continuity with the world in which it exists. Because human subjects are 'absorbed' in the world of practical activity, projects and tasks, they tend to misrecognise themselves as a ‘thing’. But consciousness is not a ‘thing’ like other entities in the world. Such misrecognition is the fundamental error in what Heidegger calls metaphysics. My contention is that the Theatre of Cruelty is Artaud’s attempt at articulating a practical investigation of consciousness, resisting the metaphysical structures of language and logic and calling for the priority of ‘experience’. Cruelty is a return of the pre-theoretical, unspeakable words needed to explore the Being of consciousness. Such is an attempt to overcome the metaphysics of consciousness onstage.|
|Department/Unit/Centre:||Department of Performance Studies|
|Rights and Permissions:||Copyright Australasian Association for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies|
|Type of Work:||Conference paper|
|Appears in Collections:||Being There: |
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