“utilizing the nervous magnetism of man, to transgress the limits of art and speech”

Posted: March 27, 2018 in Uncategorized


MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS: They will be used for their qualities as objects and as part of the set. Also, the need to act directly and profoundly upon the sensibility through the sense organs invites research, from the point of view of sound, into qualities and vibrations of sounds to which we are absolutely unaccustomed, qualities which contemporary musical instruments do not possess and which compel us to revive ancient and forgotten instruments or to create new ones. They also compel research, beyond the domain of music, into instruments and devices which, because they are made from special combinations or new alloys of metals, can achieve a new diapason of the octave and produce intolerable or ear-shattering sounds or noises.

SPECTACLE: The idea of total spectacle must be revived. The problem is to make space speak, to enrich and furnish it; like mines laid in the wall of flat rocks which suddenly give birth to geysers and bouquets.

CRUELTY: Without an element of cruelty at the foundation of every spectacle, the theater is not possible. In the state of degeneration, in which we live, it is through the skin that metaphysics will be made to enter our minds.

–Antonin Artaud, The Theater and Its Double



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Comments
  1. Natalie Van Orden says:

    When I think about Woodstock, the first thing that always comes to my mind is Joni Mitchell (she’s my favorite singer-songwriter). Although she never actually made it to Woodstock, she was emotional that she made the choice not to attend and wrote a song describing the festival.
    Her lyrics describe hundreds of thousands of children of God coming to Woodstock and realizing that they are part of a bigger picture of change and desire for peace.

    “By the time we got to Woodstock
    We were half a million strong
    And everywhere there was song and celebration
    And I dreamed I saw the bombers
    Riding shotgun in the sky
    And they were turning into butterflies
    Above our nation”

    I enjoyed watching these videos of The Who performing. They are clearly taking the turn towards Artaud’s revolutionary approach to performance, but it’s also informative to learn more about the types of performances at Woodstock. Artaud’s approach wasn’t the only radical theme taking root and growing at Woodstock, and I like being able to see different ideas and methods that were explored at the festival.

    • Folk, blues, and country music were also a part of the Woodstock festival. I must confess I don’t have as much love for those musical genres, and they don’t align as well with our readings as the rock music. Nevertheless, they were extremely influential, especially folk music in the 60s. I could have done a post here on Bob Dylan but didn’t. Way back at the beginning of the semester I posted a piece of music composed entirely out of applause at Dylan concerts spanning the length of his career – that in connection with an essay by virtuoso pianist Glenn Gould, “Can We Please Do Away With Applause?”

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