Learning and Playing: re-enacting feminist histories
Grant, Catherine. 2017. Learning and Playing: re-enacting feminist histories. In: Victoria Horne and Lara Perry, eds. Feminist Art Histories: Renewing Radical Critiques of Theory and Practice. London: I. B. Tauris. ISBN 9781784533250 [Book Section]No full text available
Official URL: http://www.ibtauris.com/Books/The%20arts/Feminist%...
Abstract or Description
The title ‘Learning and Playing’ invokes Bertolt Brecht’s idea of the learning-play (this is his translation of the German Lehrstück). For him, this was a suggestive, rather than programmatic theory of how to break down the interface between rehearsal and performance, actors and spectators, discussion and enactment. This chapter returns to his theorisation of the learning-play, rather than the particular plays he wrote under this title, to think through its potential to conceptualise uses of re-enactment in contemporary art as forms of learning about history to inform our present. It is argued that re-enactment is one way to engage with the past as a site of fantasy, creation and possibility for the future. Two contemporary artworks that utilise re-enactment as scenes of learning in a variety of ways will be explored: Olivia Plender and Hester Reeve’s re-booting of The Emily Davison Lodge and their involvement in the display of Sylvia Pankhurst’s artworks at Tate Britain (2013-14) and Canadian artists Allyson Mitchell and Deirdre Logue’s installation Killjoy’s Kastle: A Lesbian Feminist Haunted House (2013), particularly its incarnation at the BFI in London in 2014.