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Macmillan Higher Education Palgrave Higher Education

Performance and the Contemporary City

An Interdisciplinary Reader

ISBN 9780230527195
Publication Date June 2010
Formats Hardcover Paperback 
Publisher Palgrave

Cities, with their rising populations and complex configurations, have become key symbols of a fast-changing modernity. This timely collection gathers together various urban writings from a range of relevant disciplines, including architecture, geography, sociology, visual art, ethnography and psychoanalysis. Its focus, however, is performance. Underscoring the importance of the field, it shows how performance functions as a dynamic, interdisciplinary mechanism which is central not only to understanding the multiplicity of urban living but also to the way the identities of cities are shaped.

Gathering together key writings on the city and performance by authors ranging from Walter Benjamin to Tim Etchells to Carl Lavery, the reader can be navigated in any number of ways. Supported by extensive introductory material, it will be essential and evocative reading for anyone interested in making connections between performance and urban life.

NICOLAS WHYBROW is Associate Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Warwick, UK. He is the author of Street Scenes, linking Brechtian and Benjaminian ideas to an experience of contemporary Berlin, and Art and the City (I.B.Tauris, 2009).

List of Illustrations
How Scratched Car Revealed the Price of a Peasant's Life; J.Watts
Naples; W.Benjamin and A.Lacis
Eight Fragments on Theatre and the City; T.Etchells
Sleepwalking in the Modern City: Walter Benjamin and Sigmund Freud in the World of Dreams; S.Pile
Moving in the Cityscape: Performance and the Embodied Experience of the Flâneur; P.Küppers
A Manifesto for a New Walking Culture: 'Dealing with the City'; Wrights and Sites
Situationism; C.Lavery
'The Map is not the Territory': The Unfinished Journey of the Situationist International; A.Hussey
'The Accident of Where I Live' Journeys on the Caledonian Road; R.Wentworth
'How Long I 'Been On?': Marc Dion's Performative Archaeology of the City; A.Coles
What a Carry On; L.Gardner
Nosing Around: A Singapore Scent Trail; P.Rae with L.K.Hong
The Pepys of London E11: Graeme Miller and the Politics of Linked; C.Lavery
Wandering and Wondering: Following Janet Cardiff's Missing Voice; S. Gorman
Attempt at Rhythmanalysis of Mediterranean Cities; H.Lefebvre and C.Régulier
Rumours: A Conversation Between Francis Alÿs and James Lingwood (extract)
Graffiti; S.J.Smith
Skating on Thin Eyes: the First Walk (extract); I.Sinclair
The Policing of the Artist; M.Bunting
Horror Vacui; U.Hofbauer and F.Derschmidt
Radioballet; LIGNA
Circle Line Party; Space Hijackers
Paris Plage; B.Delanoë
An Explosion of Delight; G.Dyer
Non-places; M.Augé
All the World's a Car Park; J.Winter
By Way of a Conclusion: One Place After Another (extract); M.Kwon
Performing the City: Kyrysztof Wodiczko; N.Kaye
Introduction.-The Right to Participate in the Work of the Imagination; A.Appadurai
Zero Tolerance, Maximum Surveillance?: Deviance, Difference and Crime Control in the Late Modern City; N.Fyfe
A Nigger in Cyberspace; K.Piper
Cyborg City; J.Harkin
25 Instructions for Performance in Cities; C.Lavery


This is essential reading for those approaching the city through the lens of live performance' - LAURA LEVIN, Assistant Professor of Theatre Studies, York University, California'The material in this book is intellectually and poetically rich, suggestive, informative and engaging. The book ranges impressively and enticingly across different critical and creative practices, as well as from the early twentieth century to the present and to different parts of the globe.' - JEN HARVIE, Reader in Theatre and Performance, Queen Mary University of London, UK
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