Numero 9 – 2019

A Fatal Retaliation

On the one hand, it would be impossible not to introduce this issue of «Mantichora» without a reference to the impending pandemic tragedy (when this issue will come out, we will probably be experiencing even more its sad effects). On the other hand, our intention is to say as little as possible. Not only because at this time we know little or nothing about it, but also because, consistently with our performative vocation, we believe that it is now time for action, and not for speculation. Thus, if we host, with gratitude towards his author, an apocalyptic contribution by Richard Schechner, this happens because we bow to the oracular power of Performance Studies. Although it seems written in the present time and for the present, such contribution has long preceded today’s events.

Now, in fact, we will witness the avid enthusiasts of media and technology verifying their privileged field of study, transformed, once and for all, into the only playground in which the game of our existence can be played.

We limit ourselves to assume what is happening constitutes, by paradox and constraint, the (definitive?) radicalization of a long-term process. Can we dare to say that we have privileged Mediascape as the pervasive and conclusive horizon of our life to the point that, as a continuously relaunched promise, such commitment has now been kept and at a very high price?

It is not up to us to answer, but we cannot refrain from noticing how mocking is this fatal retaliation, quite in a dantesque sense. It reminds us of how, by dint of attending certain prisons, one ends up by becoming fond of it, losing the memory of life en plein air, or feeling an invincible nostalgia (which is then an essential element in any medium, old or new) for that.

At least, today (and, we fear, in the forthcoming months), it will become clear how live performance cannot be re-mediated by those devices that, seemingly, favor communication and, in reality, move us away as the evidence of the truth: vanished in the air and its bubbles.

Anyway, to be consistent with what we said in the introduction, we only add that, as Theater teaches, silence is also a form of action, or in a certain sense a preparation for it, beyond an ocean of many useless words.

Definitely, it is time to keep us silent, but before that we wish to express all our gratitude to the “Pasqualino Museum”, which, starting with this issue, sponsors our journal and gives it a new, crucial, impulse towards the PS epistemological horizon, with all that concerns in our latitudes.

This issue contains, largely, the outcome of the seminar Performance Studies in Italy. A Transdisciplinary Paradigm, organized, last year, on June 13th, in Palermo at the Pasqualino Museum.

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Mantichora 2019, n. 9

a cura di Katia Trifirò e Paolo Pizzimento

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Saggi

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