The Performer :Art, Life, Politics
An exploration of public performance in everyday life, by the leading cultural and social thinker
The Performer explores the relations between performing in art (particularly music), politics and everyday experience. It focuses on the bodily and physical dimensions of performing, rather than on words. Richard Sennett is particularly attuned to the ways in which the rituals of ordinary life are performances.
The book draws on history and sociology, and more personally on the author’s early career as a professional cellist, as well as on his later work as a city planner and social thinker. It traces the evolution of performing spaces in the city; the emergence of actors, musicians, and dancers as independent artists; the inequality between performer and spectator; the uneasy relations between artistic creation and social and religious ritual; the uses and abuses of acting by politicians. The Janus-faced art of performing is both destructive and civilizing.
This is the first in a trilogy of books on the fundamental DNA of human expression: performing, narrating, and imaging.
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