‘Violence without Violence’: Spectacle, War and Lola Arias’s MINEFIELD (CAMPO MINADO)

Finburgh, Clare. 2017. ‘Violence without Violence’: Spectacle, War and Lola Arias’s MINEFIELD (CAMPO MINADO). Theatre Research International, 42(2), pp. 163-178. ISSN 0307-8833 [Article]

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If spectacles are effects of power, designed to win wars, win elections and win customers, then how can these spectacles be better understood, so that we can better understand how they seek to work on us and others around us? And what part can theatre play in developing this understanding? In this article I explore Jean-Luc Nancy's notion of ‘violence without violence’, as set out in his essay ‘Image and Violence’ (2003). The synthesis of life's variety and disarray into an artwork is a violent act for Nancy. But if this violent act itself explodes the very seams which hold it together, it can enable ruptures or openings that prevent its violence from becoming ideologically oppressive. In this way the image inevitably participates in the ‘violence’ of representation, but simultaneously avoids the ‘violence’ of ideology. By way of an example I analyse the singular ways in which Lola Arias's production MINEFIELD – first staged at the Brighton Festival in 2016 before transferring to the Royal Court Theatre during the London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT) – disarticulated the spectacles of power, heroism and virtuosity that are often weaponized by leaders and by the dominant media for the purposes of fighting and winning wars.

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Theatre and Performance (TAP)


14 August 2017Published

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Date Deposited:

30 Mar 2017 12:13

Last Modified:

17 Oct 2017 13:08

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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