(In) the Person of the Author

Ana Vujanović (2012)

Being invited to collaborate on Four Choreographic Portraits by Christine De Smedt, I was immediately intrigued by the cluster of questions that lie behind the project: Why don’t I, an author, involve the personal in my artistic work? Do I resist it? Or, do I hide it? Why?[1] Taking this further, the following questions arise: What does this avoidance result in? In an artwork which is less authentic, less sincere, less credible, less my own? Which is more general, more indifferent, more technical, more a cold speculative construction? What intrigued me in this was not the author as a person; I wasn’t curious to reveal the secret of the personal that supposedly had been hidden – supposedly for a good, personal, reason – by the gesture of exclusion. No, what challenged me was exactly how these basic concerns were constructed in the epistemic and socio-political senses, namely, how the paradigm of art predicated on the expression, manifestation or actualization of a person’s individuality, her will and creative force, has been silently naturalized to the extent that these questions seemed a reasonable concern of an author herself. Indeed, there is no stronger paradigm of art today, and it looks like the personal and authorship are inseparably connected in an organic liaison that renders what we call art as such. The liaison is so smooth that it directly leads to the ultimate question: What is art if not an expression of individual will and creative force? Apart from the last instance, it appears in many variations, and today – when the artist’s name functions as brand, and when she with her individuality and personality is the art product par excellence – it is gaining momentum.

christine de smedt-alain platel_chris_van_der_burght

Since starting out from the initial questions, the project has been carried out as artistic research and four solo performances that examine the ways in which the person and the work of art are related in contemporary performing arts. However, the ‘object’ of examination is shifted from the author herself to other authors: the choreographers and theatre directors Alain Platel, Jonathan Burrows, Xavier le Roy and Eszter Salamon. In this way, instead of a self-examination that would give us an answer to the question of why the author doesn’t involve personal elements in her art, thereby reaffirming the imperative to fuse the two, Christine De Smedt makes the portraits of the named authors, (re)constructing the relations between how they think, their artworks, and the ways they work.

In this essay, I wouldn’t analyse what this artistic process produces, but would rather step back from the project’s initial questions in order to understand better the conceptual ground that makes these questions reasonable and worth worrying about. In this, I will start off with the Foucauldian premise that the tie between the personal and authorship, however ‘solid’ it looks, in fact ‘came into being’ at a particular moment in Western history, and it may pass out of being in some other social context or historical moment. Thus my concern is not ‘What is the problem with me, an author, not including the personal in my artwork’ but ‘What is the problem with the art for which the personal is an essential condition for it to be art?’

A stuttering vocabulary

But first of all: what does the personal mean? We all know, of course. Or do we? I have an idea in my mind, but when it comes to saying it, I start stuttering: individual, unique . . . probably distinctive, also particular, authentic . . . sometimes private, even intimate . . . somehow one’s own . . . . The problem is that we cannot induce a coherent definition from this, as the same term has some quite different denotations. On the other hand, the notion of the ‘person’ is close to concepts of individual, self and identity, which, from a theoretical viewpoint, deserve serious definition. Still, the way they operate in the Artworld doesn’t presuppose a clear demarcation line, and the terms often overlap, from which I would assume that the overlapping is a part of how we understand the personal in this context. And while I will discuss its foundational status in a moment, at this point I would like to introduce a basic systematization of the ways in which the term ‘personal’ is employed in art, wherein it addresses:

  • unique and associated qualifications, like particular, distinctive, one’s own, etc., which refer to the particular and distinctive identity and individuality of the artist, expressed in art by her specific ‘signature’, by the artwork that only she can do
  • the private and the intimate, which address the life-story and related experiences, thoughts, feelings and self of an author as individual human, which serves as a repository of her inspiration or even forces her to make art
  • the authentic and the original, which refer to the proximity of a work of art to the model-image shaped in the mind of its author, then materialized in the unrepeatable piece of art, whose aura of authenticity provides the audience with a unique artistic experience.

Although I would refrain from hasty conclusions, I cannot but remark that the systematization given above already demonstrates that the personal signifies at least three different concepts as well as different registers of the realm of art, hence being a quite elusive object of analysis or critique. Yet it leaves enough space for a problematization orientated towards pointing to and discussing the constructive seams of the seemingly smooth and organic tie between art and the personal, which is my priority here.

A Critical Historical Perspective

If we look into history, we might face a quite surprising trajectory of the construction of the liaison in question, alongside contextually conditioned changes of the notion of ‘art’ itself.

Greek legacy: art as poiesis

According to the traditional Western division of human activities into labour, work/production and action/practice, which can be traced back to ancient Greece, labour responds to the general human cyclic metabolism with nature, while production and practice distinguish the human being as specific and unique on Earth. According to Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, the distinction between the two was fairly sharp in his time.[2] Production (poiesis) is the act of shaping, of ‘coming into being’ in a particular shape, and practice (praxis) implies a performed action, intervention – a voluntary activity in public. Poiesis claims a value, a goal beyond itself: it results in a product, a piece of work that invests in the civilization. Unlike poiesis, praxis results in the public action itself and, accordingly, it focuses on structuring actual social relations. Paradigmatic instances of production are craft and art, and of practice – politics and free speech (parrhesia).

At this point, the central concept concerning art is poiesis. In classical Greece, from Plato to Aristotle, the understanding of it changed. For Plato (in Symposium), poiesis means each cause for the creation of something previously not in existence. It may relate to nature or man, Plato doesn’t make a distinction, and he conceives the poiesis as the unique activity of creating. The difference came with Aristotle, who distinguished (in Physics) what exists by nature and claims a cause and origin in itself from what exists by other causes – the principle of its creation being the productive activity of man. Art was, consequently, related to the latter form of poiesis and distinguished from natural creation, and, as such, for a long time it made no reference to the personal, individual, self or related categories. In classical Greece, such understanding was very explicit and was confirmed in Aristotle’s Poetics, where poetics refers to poiesis and designates art as a paradigmatic form of the human capacity to make, to create, to produce.

Later in modern Western society, the definition and social position of art changed. The changes relate to the circumstances of production in industrial capitalist society and its liberal and individually oriented epistemology, which feature divisions of production, a transformation of practice, and a reconfiguration of the public and the private.

The industrial revolution: Art as aesthetic production

The division of poiesis that is crucial to understanding the increased interest in the figure of the author is the division into aesthetical and industrial production. According to Giorgio Agamben[3], the division and the related distinction of human products into works of art and products in the strict sense (industrial, technical) corresponds with the development of modern technology and the first industrial revolution in the second half of the 18th century. Then the following characterization was introduced: the aesthetic products have authenticity, and the technical have reproducibility. At this point the artist as a person entered the art sphere. The notion of authenticity or originality has been widely embraced by Western art since the 19th century, with different connotations. Apart from any connection with the ideology of individualism, which promotes the figure of the individual throughout modern Western society, all these connotations share a common production basis, i.e. its 19th-century interpretation. According to Agamben, the principle of originality basically implies the individual proximity of an artwork to the origin, the ‘image-model’ in the artist herself, which is lost in technical products due to their mass reproduction. Consequently: unique, unrepeatable, credible and similar modern features of the artwork all derive from the basic principle of originality, made possible by the proximity of an artistic product to its origin in the artist’s particular mind, in her mental image that functions as model for the product. Once introduced, this principle provided artworks with the aura of authenticity and, in the long run, distinguished art from the other, reproductive forms of poiesis, like industrial production and technics. However, in the early 20th century, according to Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, the aura was endangered by the new art forms – photography and film – that involved reproducibility, depriving the audience of the unique experience of art. This caused a shift in the focus on authenticity during the 20th century from artworks to artists, which I will explain later.

The metaphysics of will and of private life: Art as practice

One more historical process that should be explained here is the gradual change in the relations between poiesis and praxis, as well as the transformation of the notion of praxis.

In his essay Poiesis and Praxis,[4] Agamben demonstrates how, throughout Western history after the classical age of Greece, these changes have happened on a conceptual level. According to him, the process of the convergence of poiesis and praxis may be traced back to the Roman era, and it is already manifest in the translation of the Greek term poiesis, which designates human ‘pro-ductivity’ into the Latin agere/actum, to act, to do – which means ‘the manifestation of a will that produces concrete effect’. Later, Christian theology proclaimed the Supreme Being as an actus purus, and firmly tied the interpretation of being as actualization and act to Western metaphysics. However, the process of converging wouldn’t be possible without a radical change in the notion of practice. Agamben made an important point in this respect when he noticed that, in the modern Western world, all human doing began to be perceived as practice – now conceived as a productive activity. In this process, the meaning of praxis was not only broadened to such an extent that it became a general term for all human activities, but it went through a complete transformation to the point where it started to signify a manifestation of the human being’s will and vital impulse with their concrete effects.

In these epistemic and social processes, the conception of art changed accordingly. During the 19th and even the 20th century, it was dominantly considered that art is also practice; but practice is now seen as an expression, manifestation, and actualization of the artist’s will and creative force. Agamben underlines: ‘The metaphysics of will has penetrated our conception of art to such an extent that even the most radical critiques of aesthetics have not questioned its founding principle, that is, the idea that art is the expression of the artist’s creative will.’[5] This is another path through which the importance of the personal has been promoted in art, where it was identified as the essence of the unique creative will of the artist – now seen as ‘the creative genius’ – that forced her to do art. In this paradigm, the personal mostly refers to her biography, experience, private life, inner self or, in more picturesque words, her traumas, failures, loves, dreams, fears, adventures and miseries, which in a stereotypical vision function as the strongest creative forces.

Besides the metaphysics of will, the social process that influenced the promotion of the personal in art, especially connoting the private, was the reorganization of public and private life, which began in the second half of the 18th century. Richard Sennett, who describes the process meticulously, names the change sharply as ‘the fall of public man’.[6] It addresses the new configuration of bourgeois society, where public life is conceived as being based on artificial social roles and relations, while the private is the domain of the authenticity of the human being, the domain where we are the closest to our-selves. This giving preference to the private as authentic resulted in its mystification and the escalation of curiosity about it – as it provoked the suspicion that the public subject is only a mask that hides the real person and her motives and reasons – and, on the other hand, in a privatisation of the public sphere, which has gradually replaced political practice with activities based on intimacy, warmth, friendship and similar personal qualifications and virtues.

As a consequence of these processes, since the 19th century the ‘monograph’ has become the crucial text in art history, presenting certain artistic opuses as intertwined with the life-story of the author, which is supposedly deeply inscribed in her work and hence can explain it. Apart from not being very believable – we all know the boring people who make very exciting art and those who are quite extravagant yet make kitsch – one of the most serious problems with such a conception is that it largely deprives art of any social concerns it might have as a practice and reorientates it entirely towards the individual and her private matters. And if we return to the Greek conception, practice is basically something quite different – public action, free citizens’ doing carried out in a social situation. The political implications of the rejection of such a conception of practice are far-reaching. First of all, it redirects art as a practice from the citizen’s public action for and with the social community to the individual’s public action against the communal background, or in other words, her personal accomplishment in the public domain.

Making and Doing Art in The Century of the Self

Art production and the cult of personality

After the historical construction of the conceptions of art explained above, what we encounter in the 20th century as commonsense is a personalization of art sustained by the consensus of creative will. Agamben’s list of the 19th– and early 20th-century art practices, in which we may come across such a conception, might be broadened by many recent inputs such as abstract expressionism / action-painting, the majority of emancipatory and ludic neo-avant-garde theatre, humanistic theatre anthropology, expressionist dance, post-modern autobiographical and identity-based literature and performance, graffiti and similar street art forms, numerous contemporary open and processual formats of work, including the expanded notions of energy, creativity, liberation, expression, impulses, etc. From a critical standpoint, it may be claimed that these artistic forms and concepts tend toward an atrophy of the political potential of art practice. This criticism rests upon the notion that, in these cases – which are many and paradigmatic for the 20th-century Western Artworld – the aspect of free human doing in the social realm is, in principle, replaced by a creativity that strives for the humanistic emancipation of the artist as an individual: her personal realization, affirmation and liberation.
This trend was fostered further by the emancipatory politics of the 60s that was condensed into such slogans as ‘be individual’, ‘be unique’, ‘be different’, ‘be yourself’, etc. This kind of celebration of the individual, invested in resistance to the mass society developed after World War II, gradually led to the cult of personality in many social spheres. Accordingly, in the art field, the artistic aura has shifted from artworks – which since then have been able to be produced both as unique objects and reproduced copies – toward artists themselves, who are assigned the social role of being authentic, different, outstanding and above all non-conformist personalities.

christine de smedt-xavier-leroy

Today, we may observe how this trend is gaining momentum in the course of further blurring the borders between practice and production, understood – by post-Operaist and bio-political theorists such as Negri, Hardt, Virno, Lazzarato, etc. – as the general human condition of contemporary Western capitalist society, the production of which is based on the post-industrial fostering immaterial labour and on the post-Taylorist and post-Fordist organization of work. The theorists I mention above claim that post-industrial production is more concerned with the cultural-informational content of material products than the products themselves: the production of images, tastes, opinions – and subjectivity. Likewise, as Lazzarato warns, in the work process, management is based on the slogan ‘become a subject (of communication)’ and tends to become more totalitarian than the old divisions of poiesis due to its attempt to engage the whole worker’s personality and subjectivity in the production of value. Thus the expression of a supposedly unique individuality becomes a social imperative in the capitalist world. An employee is no longer obliged merely to ‘get the job done’; in Lazzarato’s words, ‘one has to express oneself, one has to speak, communicate, cooperate’,[7] therefore: ‘Actually, subjectivity is capitalism’s biggest output. It’s the single largest commodity we produce, because it goes into the production of all other commodities.’[8] The same is true for the Artworld, where the imperative is reflected, for instance, in the proliferation of artistic events organized as ‘encounters’ between artists, whose primary task is to be present, in person. The imperative has resulted in the glorification of the artist’s signature, in establishing the artist’s name as a brand, and in promoting the artist’s personality as the art product par excellence. Thereby, the principles of work in production and in art overlap, and artists are becoming the paradigm of immaterial workers – but in a quite opportunistic sense. In saying this I am trying to focus attention on the fact that, apart from being romantic and metaphysical, the exaggerated role of the personal in art is also very profitable for the capitalist art system.

The Author is dead – Long live the scriptor, narrator, and social engineer!

And if, in spite of this criticism, it still seems difficult to speculate on an art practice that is extricated from the organic ties between the personal and authorship, I would like to give some concrete 20th-century examples of different or even opposite conceptions of art.

Firstly, we should depart from the idea of the Western Artworld as the only possible horizon for thinking about art. And we don’t need to travel far; the paradigm of art in real socialist states – except Yugoslavia – already faces us with a quite different perspective: socialist realism. It can be traced back to the post-Revolutionary Soviet Union, and then it became prevalent in the whole post-war Eastern block, where it affirmed the socialist social order, also functioning as a counterpoint to the abstract expressionism that was promoted in the US as a paradigm of art as an expression and actualization of the artist’s personality and creative impulse. In the socialist realist conception of art, instead of being regarded as a creative genius, the artist is seen as ‘a social engineer’. That is to say, she is a cultural worker who works in the domain of the social super-structure and who – like all other workers – deals with and works for society in her own domain and by her own means instead of expressing her unique personality against the community. Moreover, focusing on the individuality of the artist is seen rather as a ‘bourgeois luxury’, quite inappropriate in the situation where the new social order, based on collectivity and equality as a radical critique of Western capitalism and individualism, was meant to have been established.

Although this approach gives us an example of the real, existing conception of art in which the personal is an irrelevant or even a forbidden aspect of making or doing art, it has its widely discussed shortcomings. First of all, since it developed in the states that tended toward totalitarianism, the approach often resulted in replacing the Western pressure put on artists to be unique and to invest their unique personality in art with the even bigger pressure to exclude any particular, individual or personal elements from art. This way, socialist realism finally affirmed the figure of the ‘artist as party member’, an impersonal art maker who was subsumed under, and thus merely promoted (by artistic means) the party’s politics and its vision of society. And this is surely not a solution that I would propose to ‘the personal troubles’ of contemporary art.

The other case that I would mention is the famous theoretical debate on the relation of the author to the artwork, which belongs to the 60s-70s theoretical platform marked by (post-)structuralism and was opened by Roland Barthes’s ‘death of the author’, followed by Michel Foucault’s rethinking of the discursive position of the author subject. Barthes[9] breached the commonsensical thinking of art by (revealing) its connections to the author as a person and claimed that the author was ‘dead’ since: neither is she the one who controls the meaning of the artwork regarded as text, nor does she, accordingly, have the key to reading it. Namely, in the complex cultures of signifying practice, meaning is determined only intertextually, whereby artworks interact freely among themselves and are closer to each other than to their authors. From this perspective, the author as an individual human is completely irrelevant to the functioning of artworks in society, and the artist is more a ‘scriptor’, an operator of the surrounding texts, than a lone genius from which the artworks spring. Foucault[10] will agree that the author’s personality is not essential for an artwork, and the notion of ‘author function’ which he affirmed shouldn’t be confused with the person of author, nor does it refer to the real individuals. However, according to him, we still need the author as an artistic/textual subject in order to reconstruct a genealogy of a discourse, to link it, and to understand it in this linkage. And while the author’s name here has a primarily classificatory role, the ‘author function’ is rather a ‘narrator’ who is only a part of a larger social and discursive system of beliefs and assumptions that limit the meaning. This determination is associated with Foucault’s great resistance to the vision of the artist as an individual isolated from the rest of society, and it further implies that even that which is seen as the individual personality of an author is always-already a socially constructed subjectivity.

Seeing the author constitutively involved in social contexts and discursive frames instead of as an isolated unique individual – which the Four Choreographic Portraits performances latently reason out as well – might be a direction that overcomes its withdrawal, as implied in Barthes’ proposition. Keeping this remark in mind, at this point I would leave the Barthes/Foucault debate and once again change the terrain of discussion.

Nota Bene: To Be a Person, I Need the Mask

The last topic that I would open here is triggered by the fact that the Four Choreographic Portraits are solos, all performed by one person, the author herself. Taking into account that these performances are the portraits of other authors, we find ‘this person’ in a double position – as the performer speaking and doing in the first person singular, but not acting, she embodies the others on the stage, at the same time keeping the position of the author who constructs them as portrayed figures. While this implies, in some interpretations which appeared in the course of the project, that the four portraits are ultimately about creating the self-portrait of Christine De Smedt, she explains the decision this way: ‘The fact that one person performs four different portraits is a ‘gesture’ towards the multitude of interests, recognitions and possible positions, inconsequence and paradoxes.’[11]

In thinking about this topic, I would keep going backward and concentrate on how ‘the multitude of interests, recognitions and possible positions’ relates to the supposedly unique and relatively long-lasting entity that we call a ‘person’, and how the ‘inconsequence and paradoxes’ may be seen as its integral elements instead of as that which undermines it. This could require a broad rethinking of the notion of the person, but I will narrow the discussion down to the performing arts framework.

The performative situation as I described it above opens the issue of the disidentification or destabilization of the person as a unique individual and, as regards the basic questions of Four Choreographic Portraits, can be seen as a corporeality of the constructive, performative and changeable character of the personal. A verbal explication of such a conception can be found in the inference that the author drew at the end of her research:

‘On the other hand I would consider that what is my personal is not only a private, intimate or biographical matter, but a particular perspective, as well private as public, since my personal is already being a construction in larger and in different contexts, my personal as a shared identity, which involves different identities, with a lot of contradictions and paradoxes.’[12]

In some aspects, these two explications resonate with postmodern thought, where well-known theses about multiple identities have been articulated. I will now skip them and focus on the branch of social constructivism that sees performance as constitutive of the person as a social subject. It can be traced back to one of the first 20th-century analyses of the theatricality of everyday life: Erving Goffman used the theatre model to explain the social construction of self and put forward the notion of the ‘performance of self’.[13] His basic premise was the constructivist claim that there is no preexisting inner self that is to be expressed, but foremost a learning of patterns of expression that we subsequently enact in order to construct our-selves, in certain socio-historical conditions. Thus, according to Goffman, without understanding performance, we cannot understand what the person is, as it is nothing other than a social role or, in other words, its own performance.

Goffman’s theses interfered radically in the prevalent Western understanding of the person as formulated over the last few centuries. As I already mentioned, Sennett[14] notes that from the late 18th century on we have faced the fall of public man caused by the view that while the public is the sphere of artificial social roles, the private is the domain of the human being’s authenticity, the realm where we are closest to ourselves. In this sort of interpretation, it stands to reason that the authentic, private person needs to wear a costume or a mask to go public, and that public social performances are exactly what depersonalize us. However, only a few decades earlier, the ‘man as actor’ had quite a different connotation. In his study, Sennett describes[15] how the early bourgeois public sphere at the time of the ancien régime was formed in the theatre during and after performances, and then how conventions of social relations and behaviour in the theatre passed into the street by way of two conceptions: body as mannequin and speech as sign (instead of symbol). From this point of view, what a person did in the social situation had a founding role; it was real and not what masked the real.

The etymology of the term ‘person’ signals the same reversal of our habitual thinking. The ‘person’ and ‘personal’ come from the Latin persona, from the Greek prosopon, which meant ‘mask’ and derived from Greek theatre, then migrated to theatrical vocabulary as dramatis persona, meaning ‘theatrical character’, and further ‘persona’ in current everyday speech. So originally the person is used to refer to someone other than oneself, someone other than we ‘are’, and obviously other than that which we today consider ‘person’ to be. In a word, the person is a persona, not its opposite. This brings us in medias res of the ambivalent title of this essay, which oscillates between theatrical and legal denotations, suggesting that the person (of the author) is what emerges from being in the person (of the author). In other words, the person is a persona since there is no individual human who is not a social being from the start, constituting herself with and before others. Seen in this way, what seems to be a complicated situation in which we are put by the Four Choreographic Portraits performed by one person in fact evokes that the personal is basically about founding self-performances in their own right. This constellation was almost lost in the later history of Western thought – theatre discourse included – due, partly if not entirely, to the influence of the Christian understanding of the person in terms of hypostases as different appearances of the same, of the essence of being.

Such reasoning still reverberates in the dilemma that we have today when speaking about the person and the performance, be it in art or in the wider socio-cultural sphere: Is there such a thing as the person who performs different personas, or is the person an outcome of these performances? Although postmodern multiple identities and Barthes’ dead author can give us a clear answer and contest the traces of Christianity in this matter, I would take the problematics further. The reason is that this answer cannot resolve the problem of the responsibility for doing art, which latently resides in the dilemma and which I will introduce as the final point of my discussion in order to open it up to future debate. These conceptions point precisely to and relieve us from the pseudo-essential constitution of the author by means of the personal. I find it their biggest achievement, since what is latently present throughout the text as my standpoint could be summed up in the thesis that the essentialization of the author by the personal, that is, her personalisation, means a privatisation of the author subject and ultimately leads to its depoliticisation. However, in order to repoliticise the author, de-essentialization is not enough. And at this point we meet the limit of the Barthesian and postmodern theses which empty the locus of responsibility, either as a result of the author’s loss of control over meaning, playing freely in intertextual space, or by a dispersion of the author subject to multiple identities. This is why I found Foucault’s remark worth keeping in mind, as it implies that although the author as an individual human does not control the artwork, as a part of larger social and discursive systems she determines it – or at least takes part in determining it, thereby taking part of the responsibility for it as well. Therefore, what seems to me politically more radical than the withdrawal of the author is to reassign her the responsibility for what she does in art as a public matter. Not in this case due to a pre-existing personality expressed or actualized in her doing, but because one is what one does in a certain context, wherein ‘self-construction work’ is shared among self-awareness, bodily existence and social agencies. In the end, I would reverse the entire problem of art and the personal by concluding that no one can indeed escape this responsibility, and ‘the person’ is too weak an alibi to mask it for long.

An epilogue

It looks like I have used too many words to say such a simple thing – you are what you do, though what you do might have nothing to do with you personally. However, I’m completely aware that all I have said – contributing to the huge theoretical effort to contest the essentialization and depoliticisation of the author as a social subject by the personal – is still not enough, since it can explain the ways in which this conception of art is constructed, but cannot really destabilize it. It cannot do this because the cult of personality in art, as well as in all other spheres of contemporary Western society, has nothing to do with its conceptual strength, nor with a humanistic concern for the fragile human being terrified of false public life. It is rather an aspect of the overall privatisation of the social, which has to do with (neo)liberal capitalist social and production relations, which promote individualism and personal rights, thereby legitimizing private interests, and, if you will, property, as publicly relevant.


The work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

The text was the point of departure of the public lecture "(In) the Person of the Author" I gave on 11 April 2012, at the Universiteit van Amsterdam, Department of Theatre Studies.

Its shorter version is published in 4 Choreographic Portraits – booklet, Ghent: les ballets C de la B, 2012.

[1] ‘I realized that in my work there was a hidden premise not to involve biographical and personal elements. But what do I mean by personal? What is the relationship between how I think the personal and the work I make?’, Christine De Smedt, “4 Choreographic Portraits”, in 4 Choreographic Portraits – booklet, Ghent: les ballets C de la B, 2012, p. 3.

[2] Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, transl. W. D. Ross, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980; http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/nicomachaen.html.

[3] Giorgio Agamben, ‘Privation Is Like a Face’, in The Man Without Content, Stanford Ca: Stanford University Press, 1999.
[4] Agamben, ‘Poiesis and Praxis’, in ibid.
[5] Ibid., p. 72. See further Critique of Creativity: Precarity, Subjectivity and Resistance in the ‘Creative Industries’, Gerald Raunig, Gene Ray, Ulf Wuggenig (eds), London: MayFlyBooks, 2011.
[6] See Richard Sennett, The Fall of Public Man, New York and London: W. W. Norton, 1992.
[7] Maurizio Lazzarato, ‘Immaterial Labour’, in Radical Thought in Italy, Paolo Virno, Michael Hardt (eds), Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 1996; www.generation-online.org/c/fcimmateriallabour3.htm
[8] Maurizio Lazzarato, ‘Conversation with Maurizio Lazzarato’, in ‘Exhausting Immaterial Labour in Performance’, Joint issue of Le Journal des Laboratoires and TkH Journal no. 17, 2010, p. 14.
[9] Roland Barthes, ‘The Death of the Author’, in Image, Music, Text, New York: Hill and Wang, 1977.
[10] Michel Foucault, ‘What is an Author?’, in Aesthetics, Method and Epistemology, James Faubion (ed), London: Penguin Books, 2000.
[11] Christine De Smedt, After-talk, Buda Kunstencentrum, Kortrijk, 23 February 2012
[12] Cristine De Smedt, “4 Choreographic Portaits”, in 4 Choreographic Portraits – booklet, Ghent: les ballets C de la B, 2012, p. 3.
[13] See Erving Goffman, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, New York: Doubleday, 1959.
[14] See Sennett, The Fall of Public Man
[15] Sennett, ‘Public Roles’, in The Fall of Public Man, pp. 64–89.