Uninvited Guests' Make Better Please: Profaning the News Media, Democratic Apparatus and Political Consensus

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Abstract

Giorgio Agamben’s essay ‘In Praise of Profanation’ proposes “profanation as the political task of the coming generation”. This paper uses Agamben’s text as a frame through which to think about Uninvited Guests’ Make Better Please, and thinks through this performance about Agamben’s proposal. Rather than being site-specific, Make Better Please was specific to the date on which it was performed, with each day’s unique script emerging from conversations with audience members, prompted by reading the day’s newspapers. The audience-generated content fed into a structure that borrowed from other forms and media; Quaker meetings, shamanic rites, rock gigs and radio broadcasts. Both performers and participating audience profaned the practices and means of print and broadcast media, from which the public tend to be separated, they put to new uses political debate and news reporting: democratic processes, press and media apparatuses that tend to be out of the public’s hands.
Unlike polemical, socialist theatre of the past, Uninvited Guests’ agenda was not to persuade or unite the public around an issue, or to assemble them for or against a cause. In conclusion I will turn to Chantal Mouffe and Ernesto Laclau, who critique the possibility of “the democratization of democracy” and profane the concept of consensus, which they suggest has become sacred within leftist politics. In Make Better Please, multiple voices retain their precarious identity and singularity; are not subsumed into a collective, unified or fully inclusive “we”. I will argue that there is a relationship with Mouffe and Laclau’s conception of a pluralist democracy, constituted by sustained relations of antagonism as well as processes of identification.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventMedia, Politics, Performance: The Role of Intermedial Theatre in the Public Sphere - Fast Forward Festival, Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens, Greece
Duration: 5 May 20146 May 2014

Conference

ConferenceMedia, Politics, Performance
CountryGreece
CityAthens
Period5/05/146/05/14

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