[NetBehaviour] History Will Repeat Itself Strategies of Re-enactment in Contemporary (Media) Art & Performance

netbehaviour netbehaviour at furtherfield.org
Tue Oct 15 12:22:01 CEST 2013


History Will Repeat Itself Strategies of Re-enactment in Contemporary 
(Media) Art & Performance

A little more than a century ago, the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud wrote 
that hypnosis makes it possible for a patient to fulfil “one of the most 
fervent wishes of humankind”, namely, “to experience something twice”.1 
The main character in Tom McCarthy’s novel Remainder (2005)2 fulfils 
precisely this wish — not through hypnosis, but through ‘re-enactments’. 
The novel’s protagonist is disabled after an accident but is very 
wealthy as he received a lot of money as compensation. He has banal 
scenes from his own life, and later also spectacular events that were 
hyped by the media, re-enacted in public spaces and in apartment blocks 
bought specifically for this purpose. Through these re-enactments, in 
which the protagonist is always the main actor, he hopes to recapture a 
particular, but diffuse, feeling again that he has only felt very 
vaguely since his accident. The re-enactments, which are staged with an 
absurd amount of work and an enormous number of helpers, allow the 
protagonist to experience the repeated situation in full consciousness 
(of his own role), and at the same time to observe events from the 
centre yet from a distance.

Inke Arns - http://s.shr.lc/1bu4K5j



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