Dr Mischa Twitchin
British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow
I have a British Academy Post-doctoral Fellowship in the Drama Dept., where I also completed my PhD, which explored the possibility of an iconology of the actor with the work of Tadeusz Kantor and Aby Warburg. I have taught at various institutions, including Goldsmiths College, Central School of Speech and Drama, and the University of Kent. Besides my academic work, I am a founder-member of the performance collective Shunt, and I have worked as a freelance lighting designer. I also make my own performance projects, examples of which are accessible on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/user13124826/videos; and my website: http://shunt.co.uk/OLD/mischa_twitchin/.
In the 2016-17 academic year, I am teaching on:
My primary research interests include:
- European theatres of the avant-garde
- the cultural politics involved with concepts of empathy and mimesis
- performance philosophy
- the dialogue between anthropology and art
Recent and On-Going Research:
My British Academy Post-doctoral Fellowship is concerned with investigating the fantasy life of modernity as expressed in (or as shaped by) encounters staged with ethnographic artefacts in metropolitan museums. This question of fantasy addresses (with Latour) a “mode of existence” of (not) being modern, where it is the ambivalence of this “not” that is expressive or symptomatic. While suppositions about the relations between past and future (as also between tradition and innovation) inform a universalist history of modernity (in which such museums participate), they have also long been in question through ways in which both art and anthropology problematise their own histories, as both object and mode of enquiry. My research explores, in particular, questions of animation in relation to the artefact (at least, in its image), where the visible acts as a screen for the invisible (which is not necessarily reducible, or confined, to powers of speech). What makes it possible to see, or to conceive of, the (post-)colonial in the “contact zones” of ethnographic museums? What is the enduring fascination of ethnographic objects – or at least of their exhibition – for modern visitors? How is the staging of these objects animated by noetic practices that are not limited to (or by) the scholarly; still less to the digital sense of a reality that is virtual? How, then, might questions of screen and mask animate questions (as practices) of “knowledge” within both the anthropologies of art and the arts of anthropology?
2016: “Between my two disappointments there was perhaps not only this resemblance, but another, deeper, one...” in Maska, special issue on the concept of repetition, eds. Bara Kolenc and Amelia Kraigher (forthcoming).
2016: “European Ghosts: the Representation of Art from Africa in the Twentieth Century”, exhibition review in Museum Anthropology (forthcoming).
2016: The Theatre of Death - The Uncanny in Mimesis (Palgrave Macmillan).
2016: “Kantor After Duchamp”, in Polish Theatre Perspectives 1.2, eds. Michal Kobialka and Natalia Zarzecka.
2016: “A View from the Malta Festival (Poznan), 2015”, review article in Contemporary Theatre Review 26.2.
2015: Review of “The Post-Traumatic Theatre of Grotowski and Kantor: History and Holocaust in Akropolis and Dead Class” by Magda Romanska; and “Tadeusz Kantor Today”, eds. Katarzyna Fazan, Anna Burzynska, and Marta Brys, in Theatre Research International, 40.3 (October 2015).
2015: “Re-enchantment”, in the 15th anniversary programme of the FIMFA Festival, Lisbon.
2014: “Mise-en-scène: Beckett’s Field of Memory”, in special issue of Critical Stages (the journal of the International Theatre Critics Association) on mise-en-scène, ed. Patrice Pavis.
2014: “On the ‘difference between preaching an ideal and giving artistic form to the historical tension inherent in it’”, in Adorno and Performance, eds. Will Daddario and Karoline Gritzner, Palgrave Macmillan.
2014: Review of “Performing European Memories: Trauma, Ethics, Politics” by Milija Gluhovic, in Contemporary Theatre Review 24.3.
2013: “On Man and Machine”, a review article on the Malta Festival (Poznan) in Contemporary Theatre Review 23.4.
2013: “In Search of an Audience”, in Theatrama, eds. Daniel Austerfield and Katharina Herold.
2013: “On ‘the Live Effigy of Man Emerging out of the Shadows...’” in Übermarionettes and Mannequins, ed. Carole Guidicelli, L’Entretemps and the Institut Internationale de la Marionette.
2012: “Making Sense of ‘Seeing’”, article in Frakcija Performing Arts Journal 62-63, special issue on “the actionable image”, eds. Tomislav Medak and Ivana Ivkovic.
2012: “What kind of play is it?” Article in special issue on Object Theatre, ed. Shaun May, Puppet Notebook, n.22, Winter 2012-13 (Journal of British UNIMA).
2008: “The Invisible Theatre of Antonin Artaud”, in Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies: http://liminalities.net/4-3/
2008: “Shunt”, an article on Shunt and the ‘avant-garde’, in Théâtre/Public n.191 (Dec. ‘08).
2007: “The Dreamwork of Hearing in the Age of the Technological Reproducibility of Secrets” in Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies: http://liminalities.net/3-3/dreamwork.htm
2016: Dahlem Dorf (a five-part essay-film on the Africa Galleries at the ethnographic museum in Berlin, with text by Bernard Stiegler).
2016: The Human Face (an essay-film, with text by Artaud, in English and French versions).
2016: Métro: Trocadéro (an essay-film on the re-opened Musée de l’Homme, Paris, with text by Marie-José Mondzain, in French).
2016: Phantom Europe (an essay-film in two parts, with text by TJ Demos).
2015: Masters of African Art: Ivory Coast (film project).
2015: The Utopian Body (essay-film with text by Foucault, in English and French versions).
2015: The Destruction of Experience: Klamm’s Dream (performance film with Britt Hatzius, at the Palais du Justice, Brussels).
2014: Loving Memory: The Book of Life (essay-film, with text by Bernard Stiegler, in English and French versions).
2014: (Un)Timely: Thoughts on Death and War (performance-film, with text by Samuel Weber).
2014: Oedipus I & II: Between Synopsis and Exponierung (performance-film, with text by Samuel Weber).
2014: “...et cet ailleurs, c’est évidement le temps” (performance about Duras, Labo 5(1), Brussels).
2013: A Catastrophe (after Beckett), a film and live performance.
2011-13: Four Impromptus: Beckett and Bernhard (with Penny Francis, Hans-Thies Lehmann, Patrice Pavis, and Jose Luis Ferreira), combinations of which have been shown at the Shunt Lounge (London), Judith E Wilson Drama Studio (Cambridge), Mica Moca (Berlin), BHUV Gallery (London), FIMFA Festival (Lisbon), Show Time Festival (Rich Mix, London), Nightingale Theatre (Brighton), AAA Gallery (Berlin), Labo 5(1) (Brussels), the Old Market (Brighton Fringe Festival), in English, French, German, and Portuguese versions.
2011: The Ecstatic Truth of Bruno S., at the Pleasance (London), part of the Suspense Festival.
2010-12: Thanatoscope, a film installation shown at the Shunt Lounge, the York Festival of Ideas, at Mica Moca (Berlin), and the Institut International de la Marionnette (Charleville-Mézières).
2010: Island of Voices, an audio piece for Locus Solus, a multi-media exhibition about Raymond Roussel, Benaki Museum, Athens; and at Labo 5(1), Brussels (2013).
2010: 1945: A Passion at the Manipulate Festival, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh.
2009-10: Interjections, ongoing performance project (exploring a “dialogue” between Breton and Artaud), at the Shunt Lounge, the BAC, and at the Artfart Festival, Reykjavik.
2009: I Was the Eyes of the ICRC (text from Maurice Rossel’s interview with Claude Lanzmann), a film with Britt Hatzius.
2009: Carmilla, a commissioned film, with Britt Hatzius.
2009: Bruno Walter’s Last Concert, performance and film at the Shunt Lounge.
2009: Eye Lust (text by Paul Virilio), a film with Britt Hatzius.
2009: The Destruction of Experience: Klamm’s Dream, a play (concerning Kafka and his “doubles”), at the Shunt Lounge, and at the Artfart Festival, Reykjavik.
2009: Postcards from Vienna: (I) Reading Clausewitz; (II) Reading Benjamin, performance (and film) at the Shunt Lounge.
2008-09: I wonder sometimes who I am, performance exploring art and politics with the music and voice of Arnold Schoenberg, one performer, and a piece of furniture (Shunt Lounge; Forest Fringe at Edinburgh; Judith E Wilson Drama Studio, Cambridge; Rosemary Branch Theatre, in the Suspense Festival, London).
2008: The Piano Tuners (after Beckett’s Watt), performance (& film), Shunt Lounge.
2008: For Nothing (after Beckett’s Texts for Nothing), performance piece, Shunt Lounge.
2008: Is Art Lighthearted? & The Famous Yoghurt Scene – two films (with Britt Hatzius), exploring aesthetics in dialogues between Beuys & Adorno, and Negri & Derrida (shown at the Art Claims Impulse Gallery in Berlin, 2008; and Labo 5(1) in Brussels, 2013).
2008: The Last Man: Prologue & 1945: A Concert, performance piece at the Shunt Lounge.
2008: The Children’s Emperor & The Pianist, performance piece at the Shunt Lounge (also shown, in its film version, at the Different Directions Festival in Galway 2009, and at Labo 5(1), Brussels, 2013; and, in its live version, at the Fimfa Festival, Lisbon, 2011).
2007-08: Figments of Company (after Beckett), Shunt Lounge, Judith E Wilson Drama Studio, Cambridge, and Resonance Radio.
2007-08: Reading Clausewitz: Postcards from Vienna, performance (& film), Shunt Lounge.
2007: Laika in the Rust of Utopia, performance piece at the Shunt Lounge.