'The Shadow of One’s Own Head' or The Spectacle of Creativity

Susanne Valerie Granzer


When acting, the actor/actress experiences a complex regime of signs in his/her body, mind, mood and gender. These signs are both disturbing and promising. On the one hand, the act of creativity makes a wound obvious which has been incarnated within man. It tells him/her that he/she is not the sole actor of his/her actions. On the other hand, precisely this way acting on stage becomes an event. The act of this event reveals a way of be-coming in which one acts while at the same time being passive, in which the actor/actress is both agent and patient of his/her own performance. This complex artistic experience catapults actors/actresses into an open passage, into an in-between where they are liberated from the illusion of being the sole actors of their performances. One might even say that by this turn an actor/actress experiences a change, an “anthropological mutation” (Agamben). Or, to have it differently: the artist suffers a kind of “death of the subject”.

It is remarkable that this loss of the predominance of subjectivity is a crucial aspect of acting which may affect the audience in a particularly intensive way. Why? Perhaps because it updates an extremely intimate connection between audience and actors/actresses which vicariously reflects the in-between of life and death. A passage by which life presents itself as itself? Life – by its plane of immanence?


immanence; Agamben; creativity; philosophy; performance studies; theatre studies; performativity and theatricality; Actors; Performing Arts; Acting; Process of Creativity; Arts-based-Philosophy; Artistic Research; Philosophy on Stage;

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.21476/PP.2017.33151

Copyright (c) 2017 Susanne Valerie Granzer

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