Performing social labour : digging, dwelling and the city

Roubicek, Bruno Peter (2017) Performing social labour : digging, dwelling and the city. Doctoral thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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Abstract

This thesis asks how performing the labour of digging can be a social process that engages with the ecologies and economies that define our experience of dwelling in the city. The thesis contributes to understanding in the field of performance practice and theory by developing original performances that experiment with degrees of audience participation and proximity. I ask how my performances of digging respond to the particular regulatory, social and ecological conditions of a public park, the garden of a theatre and Birkbeck’s School of Arts. Anthropologist Tim Ingold’s understanding of dwelling as a function of human activity through the landscape has framed my analysis of the ecologies of digging and dwelling. Henri Bergson’s concept of duration frames discussions of temporality. Karl Marx and economist John Maynard Keynes provide insight into the economics of digging as wage labour and as a ‘theatre of social labour’. My performances of digging holes to plant flora, digging holes for wildlife ponds and digging to restore a pathway are critiqued and developed with theatre philosopher Antonin Artaud’s ‘theatre of cruelty’ and Jacques Rancière’s ‘emancipated spectator’ in the light of three historical case studies. I ask how and why radical performance group The Living Theatre, performance artist Allan Kaprow and land artist Agnes Denes performed the labour of digging and how they used digging to negotiate the economic and/or ecological conditions of life in the city. The cities of New York and London are an essential part of the global financial system and I examine how localised performances of digging in these cities can enact pharmacological economic strategies of care and the generation of knowledge.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Arts > English & Humanities
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2018 12:39
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2018 12:39
URI: http://bbktheses.da.ulcc.ac.uk/id/eprint/316

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