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Demystifying Cruelty: Artaudian Intention in Art and Life


Demystifying Cruelty: Artaudian Intention in Art and Life

Duquette, P.A. (2017) Demystifying Cruelty: Artaudian Intention in Art and Life. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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This thesis paper revisits the early writings of theatre practitioner Antonin Artaud [1896-1948] while addressing two important influences in his vision for a theatre of cruelty: a) avant-garde theatrical theory during his life-time, and; b) typical experiences of schizophrenia, from which the artist suffered since adolescence. Understanding these factors, as they relate to his proposal for a mystical theatre experience, serves to clarify what was original among Artaud’s limit-exceeding intentions. This paper also briefly reviews select artists’ interpretations of Artaud’s theatrical prescriptions, where attempts have been made to translate theory into practice, arriving at both innovations and outcomes Artaud had not foreseen. While affirming his desire to mirror a collapse of all boundaries between art and life, as he had lived it, the artist’s polemic presents practical challenges that merit precaution if aspiring to emulate attributes of a theatre of cruelty. Lastly, as a point of departure for further discussion, I touch upon popular manifestations of cruel immersions and spectacles that contextualize the twenty-first century cultural conditions within which interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary artists now experiment. Where new technologies increasingly enable the magical effects Artaud imagined, I question whether cruelty is necessary, or even fruitfully disruptive, in today’s cultural milieu.

Divisions:Concordia University > School of Graduate Studies > Individualized Program
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Duquette, P.A.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Individualized Program
Date:April 2017
Thesis Supervisor(s):Sussman, Mark and Sha, Xin Wei and Clark, Timothy
Keywords:Antonin Artaud, Theatre and Its Double, Theatre of Cruelty, Theatre Practice, Aesthetic Theory, Schizophrenia, Contemporary Immersion.
ID Code:982480
Deposited On:07 Jun 2017 17:31
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:55
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