And so on: On repetition

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Saturday 30 November 2013
Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge campus

Evening Performance:

Cheap Lecture and The Cow Piece by Jonathan Burrows and Matteo Fargion, plus How to catch a dog in a bucket, performance lecture by Joe Kelleher and Eirini Kartsaki.

Keynote speakers:

Joe Kelleher, Professor of Theatre and Performance (Roehampton University)
Alan Read, Professor of Theatre (King's College, London)
Keith Potter, Reader in Music (Goldsmiths, University of London)

Abstracts - Conference programme

"The love of repetition is in truth the only happy love", Constantine Constantius argues in his attempt to relive a love affair, always already lost (Kiekegaard, 1843). In this playful account of repetition, written in 1843, Søren Kierkegaard proposes that life itself is a repetition.

'I'll do it till I get it right' sings Tammy Wynette in Ceal Floyer's work presented in Documenta 13, and Sophie Calle tells us: 'I decided to continue until I got over my pain by comparing it with other people's or had worn out my own story through sheer repetition' (Calle, 2005). Theatre itself is a terminal form, one that has a particular ending. However, theatre is performing what appears to be a non-ending repetition. Ancient Greek Tragedy could be an example of a theatrical form, which is repeated again and again within different historical moments.

Within visual arts, music, contemporary performance, dance practices, craft and writing, repetition can be seen as an important element at work. Repetition has been used as a mode of production, staging or dramatic structure. For example, Edvard Munch's repetition of The Vampire or The Weeping Woman, or Yayoi Kusama's Peep Shows reveal a fascination with the same subject. Romeo Castellucci, on the other hand, employs in his work acts of termination that appear interminable; a sense of ritual emerges here. Canadian artist Geoffrey Farmer's Leaves of Grass uses repetition as a mode of production to create fantasy figures for an unimaginable puppet theatre.

Papers included the following themes:
  • Desiring, pleasure and terror of repeating
  • Endings and renewals
  • Lure and seduction
  • Obsession and imaginative obligation
  • A sense of enthrallment
  • Notions of termination

This conference was organised by Dr Eirini Kartsaki with the kind support of Anglia Ruskin University and the Mumford Theatre.