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Spectatorship that Hurts: Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio as Meta-affective Theatre of Memory

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 September 2012


This article argues that the theatre of Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio constructs a meta-affective practice of spectatorship that engages with an ethics and politics of contemporary cultural memory. The promise of theatrical meta-affect can be found in the ontological surprise or rupture that enables feelings, if we understand them as the embodied archival trace of an affect, to be re-felt. In crafting an inversion of the mechanics of representation, Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio generate a particular affective dimension that remediates the function of affect as it works to empathically bind spectator subjectivities through relations of power to images of suffering others. This generates a form of spectatorship that hurts: morally, emotionally and physically.

Copyright © International Federation for Theatre Research 2012

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1 Kelleher, Joe and Ridout, Nicholas, ‘Introduction: The Spectators and the Archive’, in Castellucci, Claudia, Castellucci, Romeo, Guidi, Chiara, Kelleher, Joe and Ridout, Nicholas, The Theatre of Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio (London: Routledge, 2007), pp. 122, here p. 12Google Scholar.

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42 Romeo Castellucci quoted in Ridout, ‘The Worst Sort of Places’, p. 7.

43 Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio, ‘Use of the Truth in the Sound of Scott Gibbons’, in Tragedia Endogonidia notes to the DVD, p. 77.

44 My response to this performance is documented in Bryoni Trezise, ‘History's Imprints’, RealTime, 90 (April–May 2009), available at, accessed 12 January 2012.

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70 Anna Caraveli quoted in ibid., p. 150.

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73 Ibid., p. 10.

74 ‘The proposition is that touch – every act of reaching forward – enables the creation of worlds. This production is relational. I reach out to touch you in order to invent a relation that will, in turn, invent me.’ Manning, Erin, The Politics of Touch: Sense, Movement, Sovereignty (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007), p. xvGoogle Scholar.