The disturbance of one system by another

Claudia Kappenberg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterpeer-review


I encountered Roland Barthes' writing at a time when I was trying to articulate and define key concepts and strategies in my performance practice. In particular his resistance to meaning in writing was a kind of crossroads for my endeavour to outplay ‘doing’ in performing, that is the kind of doing that colludes with expectations of usefulness, productivity and purpose. Barthes’ writing on the Amorous Dedication in A Lover’s Discourse and key terms such as “disruption” and “silent expenditure” informed the making of a performance entitled Flush or the possibility of moving towards an impossible goal (Kappenberg, 2004), performed in the city centre of Geneva, and also underpinned some of my later work including Swan Canal (2011), an unofficial intervention in Venice that was part of a city take-over initiated by an association of performance artists under the name of Infr’Action. This chapter will focus on these two performances and the questions they raised, namely how interventions in the street could both enchant and challenge the passers-by and how this work could promote non-activity in resistance to a systemic oppression of the individual for the sake of wealth creation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoland Barthes in/and/through performance
EditorsHarry Robert Wilson , Will Daddario
PublisherBloomsbury Methuen Drama
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023

Publication series

NameThinking Through Theatre


  • site specific performance
  • dance
  • angel
  • stranger
  • mute
  • Pasolini
  • The Neutral


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