Staging Crisis: Performance and Financial Collapse in 21st Century Argentina
Access StatusFull text of the requested work is not available in DASH at this time ("dark deposit"). For more information on dark deposits, see our FAQ.
MetadataShow full item record
CitationWhite-Nockleby, Anna. 2020. Staging Crisis: Performance and Financial Collapse in 21st Century Argentina. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractTheater and performance that contended with Argentina’s 2001 crisis was marked by a paradox. Despite the great instability during this period, including a massive sovereign loan default, record-high unemployment and widespread poverty, alternative theater production flourished. Indeed, artists and theater makers responded to this crisis by using performance to enact and transform their economic circumstances.
Through analyses of some of the most ambitious performances between 1998 and 2015, Staging Crisis argues that Argentine artists appropriated the conditions of financial collapse to invent new theatrical forms. In doing so, they staked out alternative modes of aesthetic value amidst the collapse of state institutions. These projects developed spaces for self-sustaining markets, while enacting biting critiques of both financial systems and their own complicity as mostly middle class artists. Building on scholarship in performance studies and economic theory, and drawing on dozens of interviews, this dissertation makes the case for theater as an essential tool for understanding contemporary capitalism and crises.
Each chapter ties the development of an aesthetic form to an aspect of life reshaped by the financial crisis, which coalesce around 1) money; 2) labor; 3) property; and 4) spectacle. Chapter 1 opens with the devaluation of the Argentine peso after the 2001 financial collapse, tracing the work of Roberto Jacoby and fellow artists who intervened in failing markets by designing new currencies that formed the basis for innovative social connections. Building on the implications of “Moneda Venus” for changing forms of labor, Chapter 2 turns to the rise of unemployment, detailing how theater makers from Vivi Tellas to Mariano Pensotti staged the search for work by dramatizing the labor of acting. Shifting to the transformations of urban space, Chapter 3 looks at dramatists such as Claudio Tolcachir who performed plays in their own homes, producing intimate domestic theater that generated a clandestine community of spectators. Finally, Chapter 4 analyzes plays by Rafael Spregelburd and others that challenged the all-consuming mass media coverage of the crisis by incorporating the aesthetics of television spectacle into stage performance.
By enacting an economy in crisis, Argentine artists moved beyond theatrical representation to invent micro-worlds, interweaving performance with new modes of living. In the process, they reassembled elements of capitalism for creative purposes, while also exploring the performativity of economic relationships at a moment of crisis.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365817
- FAS Theses and Dissertations