Project

Back to overview

Beckett's Media System: A Comparative Study in Multimediality

English title Beckett's Media System: A Comparative Study in Multimediality
Applicant Schweighauser Philipp
Number 162939
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Englisches Seminar Universität Basel
Institution of higher education University of Basel - BS
Main discipline German and English languages and literature
Start/End 01.11.2015 - 31.07.2019
Approved amount 227'252.00
Show all

Keywords (9)

literary studies; screen works; media archaeology; Samuel Beckett; multimediality; stage plays; materiality; radio plays; mediality

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
“Beckett’s Media System: A Comparative Study in Multimediality” ist ein dreijähriges Forschungsprojekt, welches Samuel Beckett als wegweisenden Multimediakünstler versteht und sich als Ziel setzt, seine Werke in verschiedenen Medien vergleichend zu untersuchen und die Dynamik seines Mediensystems zu beschreiben. Projektleiter: Prof. Dr. Philipp Schweighauser, Universität Basel. Doktorand: Balázs Rapcsák, MA. Laufzeit: 11/2015-10/2018.
Lay summary

“Beckett’s Media System: A Comparative Study in Multimediality” ist ein dreijähriges Forschungsprojekt, welches Samuel Beckett als wegweisenden Multimediakünstler versteht. Es geht von der Annahme aus, dass Technologien und Medien wie die Schrift, elektromagnetische Tonaufnahme, Radio, Film und Fernsehen in seinem Werk eine zentrale Rolle spielen, und zwar in dreierlei Hinsicht. Sie werden in der Produktion seiner Werke eingesetzt, haben einen wichtigen Platz in den fiktionalen Welten seiner Theaterstücke, und die Struktur seiner Texte und Aufführungen folgt oft einer technologischen Logik. Wir verstehen Becketts Arbeiten als intensive Auseinandersetzung mit dem grossen Einfluss, den mediale und technologische Entwicklungen auf grundlegende menschliche Aktivitäten wie Sprechen, Hören, Sehen und Erinnern haben.

 

In theoretischer und methodologischer Hinsicht greifen wir auf die reichhaltige zeitgenössische Beckett-Forschung im englischsprachigen Bereich zurück und ergänzen diese Zugänge mit Theorien und Methoden, die innerhalb der deutschsprachigen Kultur- und Medientheorie entwickelt wurden, insbesondere die Medienarchäologie, aber auch die Systemtheorie und die historische Epistemologie. Unser besonderes Augenmerk liegt auf Becketts Auslotung der medialen Formung von Wahrnehmungs- und Kognitionsprozessen. Was dabei in den Blick gerät, ist Becketts Werk als komplexes, dynamisches Mediensystem.

 

Projektleiter: Prof. Dr. Philipp Schweighauser, Universität Basel. Doktorand: Balázs Rapcsák, MA. Laufzeit: 11/2015-10/2018. Projektsumme: CHF 184'468.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 10.10.2015

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
“‘Gut’: Becketts Verhandlungen von Macht in seinen Fernsehspielen für den Süddeutschen Rundfunk.”
Schweighauser Philipp (2018), “‘Gut’: Becketts Verhandlungen von Macht in seinen Fernsehspielen für den Süddeutschen Rundfunk.”, in Festl Michael G., Schweighauser Philipp (ed.), Wilhelm Fink, Paderborn, 169-195.
Angles of Immunity: Beckett's Film
Schweighauser Philipp, Angles of Immunity: Beckett's Film, in Nixon Mark, Rapcsak Balazs, Schweighauser Philipp (ed.), Manchester University Press, Manchester, 75-100.
Beckett and Media: Introduction
Rapcsak Balazs, Schweighauser Philipp, Nixon Mark, Beckett and Media: Introduction, in Nixon Mark, Schweighauser Philipp, Rapcsak Balazs (ed.), Manchester University Press, United Kingdom, 9-23.
Beckett the Spiritist: Breath and Its Media Drama
RapcsakBalazs, Beckett the Spiritist: Breath and Its Media Drama, in Samuel Beckett Today / Aujourd'hui, 32(1), 171-186.
Beckett's Latent Media Discourse in the 1950s: Rough for Theatre II
Rapcsak Balazs, Beckett's Latent Media Discourse in the 1950s: Rough for Theatre II, in Rapcsak Balazs, Schweighauser Philipp, Nixon Mark (ed.), Manchester University Press, United Kingdom, 78-103.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Prof. Nicholas Johnson, Trinity College Dublin Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Prof. Jonathan Bignell, University of Reading Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Mark Nixon, University of Reading Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Dr. Pim Verhulst, University of Antwerp Belgium (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Dr. Armin Schäfer, Ruhr University of Bochum Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Dr. Dirk Van Hulle, University of Antwerp Belgium (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Ernst, HU Berlin Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Julian Murphet, University of New South Wales Australia (Oceania)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Dr. Ulrika Maude, University of Bristol Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Theater and Performance Colloquium, Harvard University Individual talk 45 Degrees: Autoimmunity in Beckett’s Film 11.10.2018 Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., United States of America Schweighauser Philipp;
Beckett and Technology. International Conference Talk given at a conference On Beckett’s Techno-Aesthetics 13.09.2018 Prague, Czech Republic Rapcsak Balazs;
Beckett and the Media. International Conference Talk given at a conference Angles of Immunity: Beckett’s Film 24.03.2018 Mariastein, Switzerland Schweighauser Philipp;
Beckett and the Media. International Conference Talk given at a conference Beckett the Spiritist, or: Breath as ‘Media Play’ 23.03.2018 Mariastein, Switzerland Rapcsak Balazs;
Kolloquium Literaturwissenschaft Individual talk Beckett's theatre play Breath 12.12.2017 Basel, Switzerland Rapcsak Balazs;
Kolloquium des Fachbereichs Medienwissenschaft Individual talk Beckett's Media System 03.06.2016 Basel, Switzerland Rapcsak Balazs;


Self-organised

Title Date Place

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Talks/events/exhibitions Beckett: Discussion w/ Margrit Tröhler on Beckett’s Film and Lipman’s Notfilm. Videoex Festival, ZH German-speaking Switzerland 2017
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Website Beckett's Media System WWW International 2017

Abstract

“Beckett’s Media System: A Comparative Study in Multimediality” is a 3-year project that aims to explore and describe the dynamics of Beckett’s media system. Technology shapes Beckett’s output in crucial ways on three levels: it plays a pivotal role in the production of his work, appears prominently on the diegetic plane of his plays, and shapes the textual and medial organization of his texts and productions. Yet it has only recently been recognized that Beckett is a pre-eminent multimedia artist whose innovations influence media art to the present day. The excitement of this recognition is coupled with a challenge posed by the realization that much of the technology, which the aesthetics of Beckett’s media works depend on, belongs to the past. Since the reflection on the effects of media technologies on culturally established norms of representation define Beckett’s work in fundamental ways, this historical distance creates the need for technologically informed re-readings of a representative cross-section of Beckett’s work in several media.At the same time, the significance of the project can be understood in broader terms. For Beckett is a privileged observer of a medial transition whose subtle artistic negotiations of newly emerging systems of cultural exchange, which also define our present, offer unique insights into how the epistemological and anthropological parameters of culture change. Our project applies a comprehensive multimedial perspective to Beckett’s work, combining media archaeology with close reading, transformational analysis, and media- and genre-historical contextualization. Our main analytical focus is on Beckett’s creative combination of varying medial configurations and communication paradigms, including writing, electromagnetic sound recording, radio transmission, cinematography, and audiovisual broadcasting. In staging these combinations, Beckett reflects upon and enacts the radical impact that medial and technological developments had on basic human activities such as reading, speaking, listening, seeing, and remembering. In Beckett’s plays, dismembered organs (Mouth), disembodied human faculties (Voice), media fields (Music, Word), and apparatuses (Tape) are dramatic characters that attain a status equal to human beings. Beckett not only thematizes technology and uses it in the production of his work; he also abuses apparatuses in the sense that he disrupts their functioning by staging processes of interference (remediation, mimicry, hybridization) between them to expose how they shape perception and cognition. In the framework of our project, we analyze a range of materials available in The Samuel Beckett Collection of the University of Reading Library, some of which have not been discussed by scholars, while this body of material has not been researched from a sustained media-theoretical perspective yet. Much of the project's innovative thrust stems from its sustained effort to bring together some of the most powerful voices in contemporary anglophone Beckett scholarship and German media analysis (especially media archaeology but also Luhmannian systems theory and historical epistemology) to think anew the interplay between media, materiality, aisthesis, and the discursive processes in Beckett’s work. Our ultimate aim is to rethink Beckett’s oeuvre as a complex, dynamic media system.
-