Developing a Concept of Performance
Erika Fischer-Lichte, FREIE UNIVERSITÄT BERLIN
During recent years our understanding of cultural processes has changed considerably; and so has our concept of culture. We no longer proceed only from the assumption that culture has to be understood as text made up of signs that have to be read, as the concept of culture that dominated since the linguistic turn in the seventies prescribes it: “culture as text”. We have come to understand that culture is also performance. It is difficult to overlook the extent to which culture is created as and in performances – not only in performances of the different arts but, first and foremost in performances of rituals, festivals, political rallies, sports competitions, games, fashion shows and the like – performances which, in a mediatized form, reach out to millions of people. Hence it follows that the concept of performance, that performance theory, is in the centre and at the heart of all debates in cultural, social and art studies.
In the following, I shall propose a concept of performance which is derived from the experimental theatre and perfor-