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We announce the third lecture of the Reflection on Contemporary Art Seminar organized by Maska in cooperation with Cankarjev dom:

Lev Kreft
Drama in Theatre, Drama in Sport

Public lecture 

Monday, 7 December 2009, at 19:00

Cankarjev dom, M3/M4


Free admission


Anthony D. Buckley's article “Aristotle and Cricket: Drama in Retrospect” (2006) is a continuation of a discussion initiated by F. Keenan with his text “The Athletic Contest as a ‘Tragic’ Form of Art”. Buckley concludes his contribution with the thought that “although not a work of art, a token game is likely to have an orderly unity with the form of Aristotle's 'complex drama'”. At the same time, David Osipovich addressed the question “What is a Theatrical Performance?” (2006), referring to the discussion triggered by the 2001 symposium on “Staging Interpretations” where

David Z. Saltz, James R. Hamilton and Noël Carroll confronted their views on opposing interpretations and the history of the theories of theatrical performance. Opposed to interpretational theories of theatre, Osipovich claims that “the performance has its own aesthetic identity, separate from the play”. There are many important historical differences between the Ancient Olympic Games and the modern ones, and no smaller are the differences between Greek – Athenian Dionysian festivals, which included tragedy competitions, and contemporary theatre. Nowadays, the traditional modern, already non-Aristotelian theories of a theatrical event are contested by postmodern theories of theatre, some of which can justifiably be called theories of performance art and the theatre of performance art. At first sight, these theories seem more ‘sports-friendly’ than those insisting that theatre is about an interpretation of a literary dramatic text. And while Keenan and Buckley still try to study sport competitions with Aristotelian instruments, a question arises: can a contemporary discussion on the ontology of a theatre performance provide a basis on which one could develop a non-Aristotelian but still fruitful approach to the ontology of modern sports games? And: can we proceed from contemporary theatre and its theory to another art field, the field of performance art in general, to find sport also there? In the final instance, this translates into the question of whether the aesthetics of sport starts with the beauty of sport or should it focus on its performing theatricality.

About lecturer

Dr. Lev Kreft is a professor of aesthetics at the University of Ljubljana. Since 2004, he has been Director of the Peace Institute – Institute for Contemporary Social and Political Studies. He has written several books in the fields of aesthetics and cultural history, his last one, Vstop v estetiko (2005), together with dr. Valentina Hribar–Sorčan as an academic textbook. In recent years, he has specialized also in the philosophy of sport, his articles in this field being published in international journals. For the first time this year, he lectures on it at the Faculty of Arts, where the philosophy of sport was introduced as an optional course. He is President of the European Association for the Philosophy of Sport.