Beckett: Seeing Red on Stage

The major winner at the Tony Awards this year was Red, a biographical play about abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko, with six wins including the award for best play. The action surrounds Rothko’s commission for paintings to be hung in the Four Seasons restaurant in New York. While Rothko did complete the paintings he ultimately refused to hand over the works after taking exception to how pretentious the restaurant was. He returned the commission money, derided the restaurant, and the paintings are instead on display in various other galleries. Recently the Four Seasons got in contact with the Red production team and requested for some of the paintings created during the show’s performances to be displayed in the restaurant. The request was denied to the bewilderment of the restaurant. A spokesperson from representatives of the Rothko estate thought it would be quite bizarre when “an almost-completed-but-fake painting is hung in the place where the artist decided he was not going to let the real painting hang.”

Another artist whose wishes have been respected from beyond the grave, though with much greater determination, is playwright Samuel Beckett. Continue reading “Beckett: Seeing Red on Stage”

Twittering On

The Thread begins a new series on London’s Resonance FM, starting with an episode entitled ‘The Poetics of Twitter‘. The Twitter device reveals interesting and often counter-intuitive phenomena that challenge pre-conceived philosophical and aesthetic notions – about formation of the self, about Ego, about what ‘space’ or ‘network’ might mean, about semiotics.

Most fascinating are the multifarious manipulations of the Twitter form by artists, poets, academics: a piece of software designed to attract followers according to an exponential scale and then groom these followers according to a specific demographic; another that posted every letter typed into a particular PC directly onto a Twitter account, revealing intimate details of a person’s activities; another using Twitter as the structural framework for a kind of automatic poetry.

Fascinating also is what the response to such new media may be from traditional academic circles. In an attempt to keep up with hyperspeed technology, will we see more fragmentary, topical discussion-based analysis and less long-form literature?

Related articles:
Experimental Philosophy
By Joshua Knobe , University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
(Vol. 1, November 2006)
Philosophy Compass

The Text-Performance Relation in Theater
By James Hamilton , Kansas State University
(Vol. 4, June 2009)
Philosophy Compass