Prof. Dr. Claudia Benthien
'Performing Poetry‘: Medial Translations and Situational Framings of Contemporary Poetry
The research project looks at orally performed contemporary poetry from a perspective of media and performativity theory. The initial thesis is that the medial and perceptive framing of a performance situation generates the poetic work as an aesthetic event. Framings are to be understood as (medial) paratexts that contextualize poems by arranging them e.g. into a cycle, an anthology or an event. In the case of live performances, the theatrical setting functions as a specific medial and situational framing. Yet, from the perspective of performativity theory, any form of presentation or cultural appropriation of poetry is a ‘performance’, even a silent reading of a poetry book. The category of situatedness is relevant whenever (for example) written texts are translated into spatial, social and aesthetic settings.
The investigation focusses on the possibilities of translating parameters specific to poetry, such as verse, stanzas or punctuation, into bodily-vocal presence. Moreover, processes and formats of mediatization and remediatization are considered. Recordings of readings or poetry slams in tv, video, internet, audio books and so-called ‘poetry clips’ not only store poetry performed in live situations but also de-situate it. The collaborative research project understands these medial translations as techniques of both recontextualization and transcription. Therefore, the project is concerned with presentations of audio poetry in live situations in front of an audience (poet readings, recitations through actors, poetry slams), as well as with the various mediations of audio poetry.
The project is funded by the Landesforschungsinitiative Hamburg (Authority of Science and Research Hamburg; start of the project: Jan. 2015). Within its frame, several individual articles as well as a dissertation (working title: “Contemporary Audio Poetry. Theory and Aisthesis of Auditory Poetry within Digital Media” [to be written in German]) will be published.
Research fellow: Wiebke Vorrath