Aesthetic relationships and ethics in 'The Oh Fuck Moment'

Breel, A (2015) 'Aesthetic relationships and ethics in 'The Oh Fuck Moment'.' Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, 20 (1). pp. 39-49. ISSN 1356-9783

Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13569783.2014.985643

Abstract

This article explores the aesthetics and ethics of participatory performance through 'The Oh Fuck Moment' by Hannah Jane Walker and Chris Thorpe, a performance that aesthetically explores ethically troubling material and manipulation. Ethical criticism of participatory art in recent years has focused on the way the audience member is treated during the process, which has led to a critical approach that is solely based on the ethical values demonstrated by the work. Such an ethical focus is not appropriate for participatory performance and creates an environment where the capacity for participants to deal with challenging situations is routinely underestimated. Instead, this article explores the aesthetic nature of the interpersonal relationship between the artist and the audience and considers the way in which manipulation becomes an artistic tool to create an aesthetic experience. Arguing that participation sets up a productive dialogue between aesthetics and ethics, this article examines agency as an example of an ethical concern with clear aesthetic consequences. A cognitive and phenomenological approach to agency provides a way to explore the participant's experience of agency whilst frame analysis, which White has adapted to participation, is used to examine the agency of engagement of the participant, which shows the ability of the audience to decide the way they wish to interact within the performance. Considering the interpersonal relationship as not only an ethical but also an aesthetic element of the work suggests a new way of considering the ethics relevant to participation, which is applied to 'The Oh Fuck Moment'.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: participation, aesthetics, ethics, agency, performance
Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2019 12:58
Last Modified: 16 Jul 2019 13:15
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