BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Grief machines: Transhumanist theatre, digital performance, pandemic time

    Walsh, Fintan (2021) Grief machines: Transhumanist theatre, digital performance, pandemic time. Theatre Journal 73 (3), pp. 391-407. ISSN 1086-332X.

    FWSM13AprilTheatreJournal.pdf - Author's Accepted Manuscript

    Download (279kB) | Preview


    This essay examines some of the ways in which mediatized theatre has grieved for live performance during the coronavirus pandemic, with the mourning of live arts, shared physical experience, and human life intertwined. Focusing on Dead Centre's production To Be a Machine (Version 1.0), which was originally presented as part of Dublin Theatre Festival in 2020, it considers the relationship between theatrical performance mediatized to screens in our largely quarantined domestic spaces and the everyday scenes of living and dying, longing and grieving, which also became abruptly confined to the same surfaces. Focusing on a digital dramaturgy of disembodied heads, the essay explores how grief plays out in anxieties of bodily loss, fragmentation, and dematerialization, and how these concerns have deeper roots in histories of digital culture, AI-enhanced technology and artistic responses, and turn of the twentieth-century stage experimentation. The essay ultimately argues that mediatized theatre not only replicates and reinforces some of the more difficult deprivations of pandemic time, which are prefigured in some of modernity's concerns, but in responding reflexively and reflecting critically on those same conditions, it can offer some strategies for navigating the borders between departed and emergent ways of living and performing.


    Item Type: Article
    School: School of Arts > English, Theatre and Creative Writing
    Research Centres and Institutes: Contemporary Theatre, Birkbeck Centre for
    Depositing User: Fintan Walsh
    Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2021 10:49
    Last Modified: 05 Oct 2021 00:52


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item