In this edition of Rupkatha we have the privilege of incorporating an introductory essay by Richard Schechner, in which he once again valorizes the anthropological foundations of performance studies and goes on to refer towards the infallible necessity of observing behaviour as a kind of transbiological agency and of tracing its effects in theatre and other kinds of representations. Schechner belongs to a tradition of performance scholars who believed in a kind of large, scientific ontology for the arts, a tendency which is evident when he quotes a New York University scholar. Perhaps the objective vision of a performance continuum is instructive for the future, as it creates an immediate stance, of both engaging as well as transcending the flow of experience in our lives which are organized and controlled  by means of mimetically emerging actions. The performer acquires, in Schechner’s scheme, as a liminal activist, so wonderfully described by anthropologist Victor Turner, and analysed in the scientism of Geertz’ observations of culture as an influential medium in which the arts and performances get endowed with signification.

It may be however also worthwhile to consider the very specific nature of the origins of performances and the need to abandon rather than yield to more global discourses of theatre: indeed the Western academics of performance studies may lead to universality and conformity of perspective in the face of actual cultural and discursive practices. This aspect of de-institutional learning of genres has been taken up in a couple of essays in this edition thus making the debate on performance studies in academic institutions more challenging and interesting to say the least.

In this context it should be fitting to assume once again, that theatrical imitation, and the representations of other audio-visual or digital media shall survive and find their fulfilment only when there is organic cultural breeding –and that the assumptions of contemporary ethnography could lend no support in our true appreciation of the spirit of cultural beliefs and the arts in particular. Perhaps there is a need of re-structuring the academic components of cultural studies, one which might gain more energy and impetus of expression from inclusion of people who have no prior training in academic discourse but whose creative life stand out as exemplary precepts for communal harmony. In no case could it be truer than in that of performance arts, including the songs, dances, theatres, and poetry of the common non-writing people.


24 conversazioni apparse su Fata Morgana con grandi figure della contemporaneità, studiosi e artisti che parlano del cinema facendone un luogo del pensiero e una forma di vita. Un viaggio in cui il cinema e l’immagine, più di ogni altra forma d’arte, si riscoprono indissolubilmente legati alla complessità del nostro presente. Per la prima volta riunite e tradotte in inglese in un’unica pubblicazione, queste conversazioni offrono al lettore una costellazione unica di autori e temi per pensare il cinema a partire dal nostro presente e viceversa.

24 conversations originally published by Fata Morgana with important scholars and artists who have intended cinema as a place of thought and a form of life. A unique constellation of authors and themes in which cinema and the image, more than any other art form, are inextricably intertwined with the complexity of the contemporary. Edited and translated into English for the first time, these conversations offer to the reader a unique constellation of authors and themes, which leads one to reconsider cinema starting from our present and vice versa.

Roberto De Gaetano is full professor of Filmology at the University of Calabria (Italy). He is the author of important books on the relationship between cinema and philosophy (Il cinema secondo Gilles Deleuze, Bulzoni, 1996; Il visibile cinematografico, Bulzoni, 2002; La potenza delle immagini, Ets, 2012), cinema and the contemporary (L’immagine contemporanea. Cinema e mondo presente, Marsilio, 2010), and authors and forms of Italian cinema (Il corpo e la maschera. Il grottesco nel cinema italiano, Bulzoni, 1999; Nanni Moretti. Lo smarrimento del presente, Pellegrini, 2015). He is the Editor of the three-volume edition Lessico del cinema italiano. Forme di rappresentazione e forme di vita (Mimesis, 2014-2016), and the Editor in Chief of Fata Morgana.

Francesco Ceraolo (PhD, Qmul) teaches Film Analysis and Theater and Opera at the University of Calabria (Italy). His work mainly focuses on the relationship between philosophy, performing and visual arts. Among his recent publications are Verso un'estetica della totalità. Una lettura critico-filosofica del pensiero di Richard Wagner (Mimesis, 2013) and the chapter entitled ‘Opera’ in Lessico del cinema italiano. Forme di rappresentazione e forme di vita (Mimesis, 2015). He has edited and translated into Italian Alain Badiou’s writings on the theater (Rapsodia per il teatro. Arte, politica, evento, Pellegrini, 2015). In 2015 he was awarded the ‘Arthur Rubinstein – A Life In Music’ Prize by Teatro La Fenice for his musicological scholarship. He is a member of the Editorial Board of Fata Morgana.
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