An atmosphere of entropy

Berger, C. (2015) An atmosphere of entropy. Platform: Journal of Theatre and Performing Arts, 9(2), pp. 12-29.

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This paper emerges from experiences collected by staying in a city, Budapest, as a visitor. Building on Gernot Böhme’s theory of atmospheres that insists on feeling and sensing, rather than decoding, as an approach to the world, I chart how the cityscape lends itself to an atmospheric reading and how this in turn gives way to thinking about performance. The particular atmosphere investigated is one of entropy that is an atmosphere of decay and deterioration, which I contrast with what I term ‘entropic signs’, which I conceive as an inversion of Roland Barthes’s notion of the mythical function of signs. Through documenting an embodied engagement with the sites under consideration, I propose that rather than producing a feeling of nihilism or futility, an entropic atmosphere cultivates a sense for creative becomings. In the final part of the essay I discuss what an atmosphere of entropy reveals about performance, suggesting that that an entropic aesthetics allows us to conceive of performance as an activity that cultivates a sensibility for how the present gives way to an unpredictable future.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Berger, Dr Cara
Authors: Berger, C.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts
Journal Name:Platform: Journal of Theatre and Performing Arts
Publisher:Royal Holloway, University of London
ISSN (Online):1751-0171

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