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Alkazi Theatre Archives

A Bibliographic Listing from the Archive

Adorno and Performance

Book: Adorno and Performance
Edited by: Will Daddario and Karoline Gritzner
Published by: Palgrave Macmillan,2014

Palgrave Macmillan’s ‘Performance Philosophy’ series features ‘Adorno and Performance’ as one of its inaugural volumes. This interdisciplinary collection of research, creative practices, and scholarship highlights performance philosophy as a burgeoning field. In the book, thirteen scholars and critics from diverse backgrounds offer compelling arguments that position ‘performance’ as a central category in Adorno’s critical and aesthetic theories. Daddario and Gritzner, in the introduction, ask the question, “to what extent may one deploy words such as “performance,” “choreography,” “enactment,” and “stage” when writing of Adorno’s philosophical practice? Are these words figurative, or metaphorical? Are we imposing an unwanted heuristic by crafting an analysis of Adorno through a vocabulary germane to the fields of theatre, music, and Performance Studies, or does there exist within Adorno’s negative dialectical praxis a reliance on performance and embodiment that necessitates such a vocabulary?”(p.3).For instance, Daddario and Gritzner argue how Adorno’s first monograph ‘Kierkegaard: Construction of the Aesthetics was responsive to the aesthetic dimension of Kierkegaard’s thought, to the performative dimension of truth; in other words, to the ways in which ideas are performed, and not merely described.
In the first essay of the book, Kobialka talks about Adorno’s engagement with Beckett, for instance, in Beckett’s mime approaching the carafe in Act Without Words I, Adorno approaches the embodied practice of performance. Gritzner studies Adorno’s Dream Notes while Birgit Hofstaetter, in Adorno and performance: thinking with the movement, talks about Selbstbesinnung, a phrase, crucial to the practice of philosophy as it appears in Negative Dialectics(p.20).

“…Adorno and performance: a specific philosophical practice that tarries with performance as concept, artistic practice, and life praxis. The book is not confined to the disciplinary home of Performance Philosophy, but it does aspire to the thought currently undertaken by its membership”(p.22)