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This article was posted on 20 Jun 2012, and is filed under e-Journal, Volume 2, Issue 1.

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Intervention of the “Sensible” in the Globalized Society: David Greig’s “Aesthethics” in The American Pilot (2005)

Verónica Rodríguez 

Abstract:
‘Aesthethics’ designates the simultaneous prominence of aesthetics and ethics in David Greig’s The American Pilot (2005) in the context of globalization and the frame of the ethical turn, which in recent reassessments emphasizes the centrality of form, notably in Nicholas Ridout’s Theatre & Ethics (2009). Taking Nicolas Bourriaud and Jacques Rancière’s notions of aesthetics and Judith Butler and Helena Grehan’s conceptualizations of ethics as theoretical framework, I will exemplify this two-fold paradigm with the above-mentioned play. The idea of intervention of the ‘sensible’ has been prompted by Greig’s statement in Rough Theatre that the global-media institutions colonize perception by posing a single narrative superstructure around which imagination grows. Drawing on Rancière and Butler, I argue that the ‘sensible’ implies mental and bodily dimensions in the globalized milieu exploring the ways in which the play’s characters are entrapped in a global-media inflicted picture of themselves resulting in the most disastrous consequences. By positing various radical alterities to the spectator, the play abounds in ’aesthethic’ micro-situations (Rancière), which in turn foreground the reversibility of proximity and distance (Butler) that, as examined, is the mechanism whereby the ‘aesthethico’-political resonances are generated. An intervention of the ‘sensible’ emerges as a result of the utilization of ‘aesthethic’ strategies I have identified as stage ‘ghostings’ and grotesque bodies. The article concludes that theatre’s emphasis on form is particularly relevant in terms of intervention of the ‘sensible’ in the media-saturated globalized society.

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Verónica Rodríguez is Ph.D. candidate at the University of Barcelona and research assistant for “The representation of politics and the politics of representation in post-1990 British drama and theatre”, a three-year research project funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (FFI 2009-075981FILO) currently under the Ministry of Economy and Competence. She graduated from the University of Murcia with a major in English Studies. In 2011, she completed an MA in Comparative Literature (University of Murcia). She is currently working on her Ph.D. thesis, which focuses on David Greig’s plays and globalization and is supervised by Mireia Aragay. She was awarded a Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst bursary in October 2011, which allowed her to have her work supervised by Martin Middeke, executive member of CDE. She has recently given papers at the colloquium “NOW, Legacies, Amnesia” (Goldsmiths College, February 19, 2011) and the symposium “Theatre and Alternative Value A TaPRA Posgraduate Symposium“ (Royal Holloway, January 28, 2012).

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