KEYWORDS : reception, publics, theatre, gaze, Mediations, controversy
Many activists engaged in the protest movement against Brett Bailey’s theatrical performance Exhibit B publicly declared that they hadn’t seen it. In the controversy following the protests, the question of whether the work had been seen or unseen even surfaced as a central mode of disqualification. However, excluding the protesters from the very category of ‘‘public’’ on the pretence that they haven’t seen the performance tends to obscure the fact that the show has moved them to the point of demonstrating against it. Conversely, one could ask what these publics are really the publics of, if not of the performance itself? And what kind of reception is this? In other words, by what processes does a meaning come to be attributed to an unseen show – a meaning so powerful that it makes demonstrations against it possible? Through the study of the refusals to see and of the injunctions to look facing each other in this controversy, this contribution proposes to explore the dissociation of the positions of ‘‘public’’ and ‘‘receiver’’.
(Français) La réception les yeux fermés ? Spectacles non vus et controverses théâtrales