S is for Spectate the Spectator

| April 30, 2014

This post, like my post on the “enslaved performer,” is a semantic play on the idea of the emancipated spectator. My idea is this—and it’s a chain connection, so bear with me: for Rancière to write his book on the emancipated spectator, he has to be an especially emancipated spectator himself. He needs to be especially active and participative in the performance/artistic/aesthetic process he is documenting. He needs to observe the act of spectating taking place, evaluate it as passive or participatory and “emancipator,” and document the whole thing through his argument. (You see how I pulled in documentation and evaluation there, which were in one of my other recent posts?)

That first part is the key: to develop his theory of the emancipated spectator, my man Jacques needs to observe and study the act of spectation (not a word, I assume).

He needs to spectate the spectator.

If Colbert were looking the other way, he'd be Rancière.