Beckett, Feldman, Salcedo… Neither

Tubridy, Derval. 2010. Beckett, Feldman, Salcedo… Neither. In: Daniela Caselli, ed. Beckett and Nothing: Trying to understand Beckett. Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 143-159. ISBN 978-0-7190-8019-7 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

Drawing together prose, music and sculpture, the paper investigates the role of nothing by way of three works called Neither: Beckett’s short text (1976), Morton Feldman’s opera (1977), and Doris Salcedo’s sculptural installation (2005). Columbian artist Doris Salcedo’s work explores the politics of absence, particularly in works such as Unland: Irreversible Witness (1995–98) which acts as a sculptural witness to the disappeared victims of war. Her installation Neither draws on both Feldman’s music and Beckett’s text, creating a sculpture that has much in common with the negative spaces of Beckett’s theatre. American composer Morton Feldman’s Neither has been called an ‘anti-opera’, a stripped down, minimalist monodrama. Feldman compares his opera with Beckett’s text as ‘really the same thought said in another way’. Taking Feldman’s quotation as a starting point, the paper explores the traces left in the move from one genre to another. It elaborates the minimalism of Beckett’s later work and explores the ways in which this aesthetic has significantly influenced contemporary music and fine art, arguing that Morton’s music and Salcedo’s sculpture make manifest Beckett’s ‘unheard footfalls only sound’.

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Book Section

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature
Research Office > REF2014
Visual Cultures



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Date Deposited:

28 Nov 2017 14:57

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:42


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