Event Date: 29 April 2016
Performing Arts Studio 5
The University of Winchester
Winchester SO22 4NR
David Calder (Manchester) – Thinking Theatrically: The Spatial and Temporal Logics of Post-industrial Europe
The European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH) is a network of over 1300 former industrial sites spread across 45 countries from Iceland to Turkey, with 90 “anchor points” concentrated in northwest Europe. The sites range from derelict factories to eco-parks to prominent museums of science and technology. The goal of the network is twofold: first, to protect Europe’s industrial heritage sites, considered by ERIH to be a key component of a continental European identity; second, to use the preservation of these sites as a motor for development in regions suffering from economic decline. The ERIH strategy is thus to use the remains of one structural transformation to navigate another.
Theatre and performance play crucial roles in “bringing to life” Europe’s industrial heritage. Some of the sites along the ERIH have been converted into arts centres or performance venues. Others feature re-enactments of industrial labour by tour guides, professional actors, and/or former industrial workers. But in this paper I will analyse how the production of post-industrial space and the imagination of post-industrial Europe rely on the spatial and temporal logics of theatre and performance. Drawing on theories of situation and event from Alain Badiou, Lauren Berlant, and Hayden White, among others, I discuss how the event-ness of theatre and the sedimented acts of performance work in tandem to posit an endpoint of crisis from within crisis itself.