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Alkazi Theatre Archives

A Bibliographic Listing from the Archive

Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture

Book: Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture
Written by: Philip Auslander
Published by: Routledge (1999)

Analyzing the status of performance within cultures of mass-media, author Philip Auslander re-examines the ontology of performance, the question of its ‘liveness’ by interdisciplinary studies of theatre, television, sport, rock-music concert, as well as courtroom testimonies.

The author deconstructs the oppositional relationship between the live and the mediatized performance and broadens the understanding of “the ontology of liveness”. For Auslander, performance can be reproduced in this mediatized society since “mediatization, the technology of reproduction, is embedded within the language of live performance itself, performance cannot claim linguistic independence from mass reproduction, either.” (p.27) However, the author defines television as parasitic since television positions itself as theatre’s replacement and is able to capture the intimacy and immediacy of a live theatre in a way that a film cannot. He studies the changing meaning status of live performance within a particular cultural context such as the rock concert and the Milli Vanilli scandal. Advancing Ted Gracyl’s view that mediatization sets the standards of what is authentic music, Auslander states that without any reference to the actual or potential live performance, the authentic recorded rock music cannot be validated. The author discards the formulations that states that live performance is excluded from copyright protection putting forth the testimony and performance of memory in the court.

“As long as a memory remains stored, it apparently has no engagement with mechanisms of regulation and control. But once a memory is retrieved, it can no longer claim to take up a position outside the reach of those mechanisms; it becomes both a subject and a means of regulation and control (p.179).”

Liveness- Performance in a Mediatized Culture