An Introduction to the Theater Interculturalism

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An Introduction to the Theater Interculturalism

Seen from this perspective which I here offer, it can be seen that postmodernism, in a personified sense of the word, is positioned in the frames of the role of Jago. He is throwing values, growing hatred, – and maybe I would not overdo if I added even offensive. The postmodernism does not recognize to the other the same status which he has himself. The balance, which he offers to us, is false. In a final context, the determining itself of an issue as something else talks about a manipulative act. And the fact that some component can be determined as something else is an act of a doubtful value, the pragma would say. Let’s take for example the work of Roland Barthes – The Kingdom of Signs. In this work the author talks about the Japanese culture and he determines it as something else. The author represents the Japanese culture, which is, like any other culture, a specific way of living, with various authentic motivations, as a strange phenomenon. It is clear; in this case the perspective is totally egocentric, th.i. the author doesn’t take into account the fact that (literary: in the reality) is indispensable – the fact that a Japanese doesn’t regard the strangeness of an European as such. On the contrary, that is through centuries a naturalized habitus, an everyday life and usuality – a way of such and such a way of perception and of thought, and is not at all false or strange. That is, for these (the Japanese) something perfectly clear and non-enigmatic.
We wonder, in this case, what kind of range of semiosis can be brought by what we previously said? By other words: if we say that all the three conceptions are intertexts of interculturalism, then, do we have to accept transculturalism as a phenomenon confirimed in the same non-flexible context?
My answer would be the following: no. Not at least totally. Why do I think in that direction will be further explained.

Transculturalism as an deduced intertext

Every society has and represents a special culture. For one society “these” regulations are valid, and “those” regulations for the other. For one society can be positive exactly what is negative for the other and, of course, the opposite. On the other hand, the understanding of the symbolical structure of a society (as aesthetics is found in the internal strucutre of the symbolical structure) is something essential if we try to understand the products of a given society, if they are products of aesthetical kind or unaesthetical kind. Here the key problem appears: in what a way the understanding will be applied of a given symbolical structure – by way of induction or deduction? Or: who will write the history of a “usual” nation: the nation itself or the imperialistic culture? Will the culture or the civillization be given the word?
It is clear that these and other questions, which can come out of these, wouldn’t be put forwards here, if those questions weren’t implied in the very conception of interculturalism. Anyway, we should analyze them by order.
Interculturalism is being conceptualized concerning the question of the autonomy and the authorization. Its structure of ideas, more or less said in a figurative way, would be the following: how should we succeed to gather the differences, and not destroy them at the same time. We should understand from this thatinterculturalism is different from multiculturalism and syncretism. The aim of multiculturalism is the gathering of the various cultures in one place, because of the interest of an ideological charactrer. If we witness the fact that various cultures have succeeded together because of various ideological reasons (either in the field of art or in some other field of the societal activities), then we can see in front of us a typical multicultural example. These gathering ideologies could in turn be democratic, feministic, homosexual, communist, Marxist, etc. In the case of multiculturalism it doesn’t matter whether the specificities will me assimilated (or be lost, by other words), by their existance in a wholesome issue. It’s true that this question in this case is being moved up in the second-hand level, but it’s also true that the including of the human being in a such self-chosen, or rather a common ideological totality, leads towards the melting of the given individual values.And what clearly leads towards the way of the melting, the alineation and the losing (of the culture, under the challenge of civillization offered by the imperialistic culture), is the syncretism. The syncretism says: let’s get together, and let’s offer what we feel as our authentic value, but not in order to cultivate these authentic values9F, but in order to mix and use them, as long as the conditions for giving and offering10F of a new kind, new language.
Now, let’s analyze what interculturalism is.
The using of the given elements in the determined symbolical system by the side of some other symbolical system undoubtedly requires a lot of work. Even more than that: it is an extremely complicated task! The question about which I consider to have a key importance, which here I have put to the transculturalism is as follows: how do we identify that special moment when one side has a dominant position, when it gets established in a superior level in comparison to the other side? Or even clearer: when does the dominating of one culture start over the other culture? When can we say that transculturalism gets transformed into a multiculturalism or syncretism?
The gathering of the differences in one place (excluding the ones that are comprised in the multiculturalism or syncretism) should be an act with a very clear aim. But by which aim? Which is the goal of this gathering? What does this act have to talk about: that it is an existing information of the other cultures (here is again this provocative word!)? Is it difficult today to create such a thing (what immediately includes the question of the theatrical transcultural business)? Does it mean that we have to understand each other? Isn’t it better, if we really want to understand each other, maybe to go through the way, said in grotowskyian way, of via negativa? Or: in order that tranculturalism remains a means of cross-cultures understanding: it should remain as we consider it is – a means of cultural understanding – or, it should become a means of cultural distancing?
I will answer the last two questions during the rest of this paper, through concrete answers of the theatrical transculturalism, but first, let me say what follows.
Tranculturalism will have a full authentic meaning if it succeeds to be determined among the snags and the failures of the multiculturalism and syncretism, if we could learn through them, through the procedures and mistakes. Intrculturalism will gain its full authentic sense if it succeeds to determine in between the discrepancies and failings of the multiculturalism and syncretism, if it succeeds to learn from them, from their procedures and mistakes. The interculturalism will gain its authentic sense if it becomes one of those decisions and ways through which the put elements will again be restored into the real artistic field, by way of their repetitional incorporating into the whole discourse of the given work of art or of the given process. The general and wholesome discourse (which is to be detrmined in the frames of the dominant and imperialistic culture) must not even deform the other cultures, not even force them to express in the language of the “domination”. And even the clear-cut determining of that whether in the frames of the general discourse exists or not the imposing of the “dominant” language, should tell us whether transculturalism has been transformed into a multiculturalism or syncretism, or simply it has remained in the limits of its authentic semantic sense. Let’s say for example, that a certain aspect of some other given culture (which is not dominant) affects the enriching of the aesthetics of the imperialistic culture. Allow me to make a little digression here: the fact that the first (the one) recognizes the second (the other), tells us that her the pluralism is included – and only in this aspect we can confirm that pluralism is an intertext of the transculturalism, but except that of multiculturalism or syncretism. Nevertheless, if only because of these momentary reason “the first” culture starts to rspect “ the second” culture, then we face an exclusively multicultural atmosphere, but not also an impuls for transcultural barters11F. In other words, this momentary exciting of the dominant culture in relation with another culture would be rather demagogical, but not transcultural, if the “first” begins to get released from all of its prejudices in relation with that “second”, only because this “second” stylizes and enriches the dominant art, and not because it is something authentic which, as such, has to be respected12F.
Interculturalism would have a real authentic (and I insist on that: a positive one) meaning, if it’s a synonym of the rcognizing of the various values, without aspiration or pretensions of any kind. Is this determination utopical or not, for us is still an open question.
This is as to the transculturalism as an idea. The questions, which after this explanation will follow are such as: what does transculturalism represent as a pragma? What do we learn from the examples of the theatrical transcultural practice? Is it that the practice can be identified with theory, or that it is a more specific ethnicum? Then, could we at all talk for a theatrical transcultural work in the same way in which we talked for a multicultural theatrical work? Can transculturalism be understood as a separate working methodology?

9. After the establishing of the difference between the person and the individual in his book Someone, No one: An essay on Individuality (1975), Kenelm Burridge analyzes the conception individuality. The person is a statical entity, and it means the order or formation satisfies that. By the other hand, the individual establishes an alternative of moral differences. He is, as matter of fact, a movement, an energy, which oscillates between the structural person and the antistructural individual. However, even after some people have been expressing themselves as individuals, and the other as persons, the experience shows that the biggest number of the people in some views are more often persons, and in other views and times, individuals. That sort of movement between the person and the individual can be called individuality. The individuality represents a possibility and a capability of movement of the person towards the individual and the opposite.
10. It’s worth adding here that the word leisure is ethimologically derived from the Old French word leisir , which means offering for a sale, or trading. Compare this etimological derivation and the phenomenon of the transcultural business of which we’ll further talk.
11. About the fact what in the narrowest sense of the word presupposes a transcultural barter, there’ll be few words in the continuation of this paper.
12. Cubism has been born through the influence of the African masks. That is the reason why the Europeans for the first time start to show systematic sympathy and excite towards the art of “the black continent”. It’s difficult to evaluate whether Europe has started to respect Africa because Africa as well, like each other community is worth respecting, or because of this momentary inspiration.

AuthorMiruše Hodža
2018-08-21T17:24:01+00:00 January 1st, 1999|Categories: Theory, Blesok no. 06, Theatre/Film|0 Comments