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Dissertation
Location Vacations: The relationschip Between Film, Tourism and Community
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Year: 2016 Publisher: Leuven KU Leuven. Faculteit Letteren

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There exists a fascinating relationship between the world of film and the tourism industry, at times symbiotic and increasingly complex. This thesis sets out to explore and better understand this relationship by looking at the various ways in which film and tourism interact, with special attention paid to what is occurring on the level of the so-called #local# community, namely those locations widely considered off-the-beaten-path and generally less visited than more popular and established tourist destinations. The interaction between these two seemingly unrelated industries manifests itself in many unique and remarkable ways, particularly with regard to smaller communities, resulting in both positive and negative effects for the community. By utilizing a combination of research methodologies, including literature review, quantitative and qualitative analysis, as well as taking into consideration a select number of specific film media case studies, I offer an in depth analysis of film tourism, the concept of community, and finally how the two work together and against each other, with the goal of understanding the many ways in which film-tourism directly and indirectly effects local communities on the economic, environmental and socio-cultural level. I also examine the modern tourism trends associated with the Indian Hindi language film industry known as Bollywood, using it indicates that film tourism#s impact on destinations is highly subjective and can have a profound and far reaching impact on communities.

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Dissertation
Rethinking the Spectatorship Case Study: Studying the Spectators of Ta'ziyeh
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Year: 2016 Publisher: Leuven KU Leuven. Faculteit Letteren

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Spectatorship has a bad reputation, which equals it to passivity and ignorance. In the course of this thesis, an attempt is made to absolve the spectators from these blameworthy characteristics by reviewing the framework that has been used to study spectatorship for years. The review begins with Plato and his condemnation of spectators as people who were bewitched by the spectacle. Later, Guy Debord will be discussed through his critic against spectacle that causes its spectators to be separated from their community and from themselves. Bertolt Brecht and Antonin Artaud are discussed as the example artists who tried to solve the problems of the spectator through innovative theatre practices. Jacques Rancière in his book #The Emancipated Spectator# tries to look at the issue of the spectator from a new perspective by building his theory on the pedagogic model by Joseph Jacotot. According to Rancière, the teacher does not have the upper hand over her pupils, and what she teaches is not the knowledge itself but an urge to use their inherent ability to learn new things. Learning new concepts by comparing them to the prior knowledge or #the poetic of the translation# is that inherent ability. The same model can be applied to the relationship between spectators and the creators/performers. As a result, what they see on stage will not teach them what the creators already know, but it will have an effect that is mostly unpredictable. In the Second phase of the text, Ta#ziyeh as an indigenous Iranian passion play is studied as the case in point. Ta#ziyeh retells the dramatic story of the death of the Shia#s third Imam, as an act of mourning. It has had a great impact on its audience, in terms of bringing them to laughter and in tears whenever it is supposed to do so. The audience of Ta#ziyeh has had quiet an impression on famous theatre directors like Peter Brook and Jerzy Grotowski, during the seventies. The resemblances between some dramatic traits in Ta#ziyeh and modern theatre practices like epic theatre or poor theatre are studied, focusing on the fact that similar techniques were used to achieve opposite effects based on the difference in spectators. The tradition of mourning for Imam Hussein in a theatrical manner was supported by Safavid dynasty as an attempt to create a new religious/national identity for Iranians and throughout the years, all the Iranian kings had different approaches toward Ta#ziyeh based on the political atmosphere: some supported it as a political device or as a form of entertainment in a deeply religious nation, others dismiss it as an obstacle in the path to modern Iran. What remains is the undeniable importance of Ta#ziyeh in a political context. To the Iranian religious clerics of the eighteenth century, Ta#ziyeh seemed to be too risky and to the Iranian intellectuals, it was a degenerate tradition. Moreover, the homogenous reaction of the Ta#ziyeh#s spectators seems to be in odd with Rancière #the emancipated spectators#. The closer examination of Rancière# theory, proves to be problematic in an Iranian context. The text deals with these problems and comes to a conclusion: while Ta#ziyeh proved to be too risky to many religious clerics, its audiences do not fit into the emancipated spectator framework, since they do not live in an emancipated society.

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Dissertation
The town's house in not scary. Architecture's uncanny dimensions; Case study on the Town Hall of Leuven
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Year: 2016 Publisher: Leuven KU Leuven. Faculteit Letteren

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The thesis is grounded on three main frameworks: architecture as art, the everyday life theory and the uncanny concept. I discuss the importance and impact of architecture on the everyday life of individuals through the use of the uncanny developed by Sigmund Freud. By putting into perspective the way architecture instigates an uneasy feeling through the mind's projection, I underline the influence architecture and spatial configurations have on our daily lives and the way they determine our feelings, thoughts, emotions and experiences, past, present and future. I argue that it is not as much architecture in itself that holds inherent uncanny or estranged elements or aspects that determine the uneasiness of individuals when faced with, in my case study, the Town Hall of Leuven, but rather it is the individual's mind's projections of past experiences alongside similar Gothic buildings that triggers the uncanny taste for the person. It is not architecture that is inherently uncanny, but the experiences, memories, history and the mind's understanding and angle through which the person sees the monument standing on the Grote Markt for over half a century, that determines the alienated and estranged uncanny feelings for the individual.

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Dissertation
The Walking Archive Exploring the walking aspect in archive practices: The case of Walk+Talk
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Year: 2016 Publisher: Leuven KU Leuven. Faculteit Letteren

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Abstract: This thesis aims to explore the function of walking in archiving dance practices. The case that will be used is Walk+Talk, a project that was initiated by Philip Gehmacher in Vienna, in 2013 and continued also in Brussels, Stockholm and Reykjavik. In this project, the invited artists were expected to create, each one on their own, lecture- performances under the instruction of the simultaneous use of walking and talking in order to reflect on their own methods and practices. Due to the vast amount of the material created, only the first series of lecture-performances that took place in Vienna will be used and analyzed. The concept of the walking archive is a contemplation consisted of notions taken from the writings of Michel de Certeau, Bruno Latour, André Lepecki and Lena Hammergren. The notion of walking as a creative device and the relationship between walking and thinking are not new ideas; this thesis attempts to be a valid account of this connection in relation to the notion of the archive, a complex notion that its relationship with the human body is rather recent. In dance as a performing art, until recently, archiving had been considered only through notation systems. Therefore, in the present thesis, a sub-chapter on the relationship between dance and notation was necessary, along with another one on the current shifts in dance archiving and the problems and challenges related to the notion of the archive. The analysis of Walk+Talk is based in the theoretical model that I call 'a walking archive'. The definition constructed is 'the walking archive', which is a body that expresses a singularity which performs the archive through walking. Walking is an action that functions in time and space. Each singularity expressed through a walking archive has also the ability to affect and be affected by the other walking archives. Spatial poems are created on stage, collections of memories, reflections, expressions of experiences that consist an assymetrical and fragmented whole, #a portrait of a generation#, as Jeroen Peeters successfully has pointed out. The performative aspect of archive is taken from Lepecki's concept on the body as archive, where he explains that the archive can only act and that choreography is a perfect medium to do so. The view of the use of space as the creation of fragmented, invisible poems is taken from Certeau's poetic view on walking and its relationship to language. Also, Hammergren's notion of the 'flâneuse' is a segment of a walking theory that is related to the writing of the history. A 'flâneuse' is someone who during writing about the past, experiences a walking, a wandering with her senses, attempting an embodied approach on the writing of history. This is also a concept that is included in that of the 'walking archive' presented here. The relationship between walking and talking is also explained with Latour's proposition on the notion of the body and especially on his approach on what it means to be an articulated subject: articulation is not only about speech, either oral or written, but it extends to include the notion of embodiment.

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Dissertation
Representation of Stereotypes in Postmodern Comedy. A Case Study on Community
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Year: 2016 Publisher: Leuven KU Leuven. Faculteit Letteren

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This thesis discusses the representation of stereotypes in the postmodern comedy, exploring its intentions and functions, as well as differences compared to the traditional comedy. This thesis elaborates key concepts relevant to the topic including representation, stereotype and postmodernism by summarizing major ideas from influential theorists, critics and writers. It also examines the sitcom Community’s postmodernity through a range of textual analyses, and conducts a systematic semiotic analysis on the show’s stereotypical characters.

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Dissertation
A Deconstruction of the relatable in Girls. "A young woman tells you what she's 'learned'"
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Year: 2016 Publisher: Leuven KU Leuven. Faculteit Letteren

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When a TV show claims to represent the trials and tribulations of my twenty-something life such as an unhealthy relationship with finances, cupcakes and a quarter-life existential crisis without me even needing to tell family and friends what they already know, I feel represented. Successful TV shows establish a connection with their viewer that leads to mutual investment and emotional capital. With Girls (2012), a sense of connection and being able to relate has been a crucial factor in how it established its audience. Girls validates by both trivial and monumental issues such as if you should pull off wearing red and pink together or how do you find a lucrative but fulfilling career. Yet, this has equally proved to be the greatest criticism as all audience expectations are not met to satisfaction as per these claims. Three major factors which this thesis attributes to the problem field are archetypes beyond the reach of the audience, the influence of creator Lena Dunham in interrupting the fictional connection between audience and Girls and the controversial usage of body image. Whether it is a look at friendship dynamics with their frivolities or existential crises about career paths, Girls offered an insight into a microcosm of twenty-somethings in the millennial generation. There was seemingly an archetype to represent the average viewer. However, the issue plaguing the relatable quality of Girls is the subsequent responsibility to cater to the “everygirl”. Indeed, these lines of fiction and reality were blurred even further by the influence of its creator, Lena Dunham. Dunham was herself the very audience she sought to represent which led to convolution of product and producer, the latter successful while the former plagued by narrative setbacks. The themes of representation and identification were hindered by this relatable construction and the blurring of reality and fiction. In this thesis, the methodology includes a marketing, psychology and feminist studies approach. A marketing case study of DOVE® will be used to illustrate how more relatable average bodies help promote a connection between product and consumer but dallying with the notion of representing all can serve to a backlash. For instance, the brave portrayal of average bodies, warts and all, can lead to troubling rejection should their domain tread into critique and moralising of. Thus, this thesis aims to deconstruct the relatable with an examination of the lines running through the fiction and reality.

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Dissertation
Social Choreography on Stage
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Year: 2016 Publisher: Leuven KU Leuven. Faculteit Letteren

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The term social choreography has enjoyed an increasing popularity over the last decade, in the dance and performance field as well as beyond. We investigate in this thesis first and foremost how the term is used in a contemporary dance context. We take a detailed look at the theoretical concept of social choreography proffered by literary scholar Andrew Hewitt, who proposes dance as a playground where new political and social ideas are tested. Hewitt mainly presents social choreography as an analytical object and tool, but also suggests it as an artistic strategy, although without making any prescriptions in this regard. We apply the theory on one specific contemporary dance performance, On Trial Together, which the artists Saša Asentić and Ana Vujanović describe as a social choreography. What does it mean to talk about a dance performance as a social choreography? Can a social choreography be intentionally instilled, to what extent and what are the hopes and the results thereof? With these questions in mind we test social choreography as artistic strategy, which is trying to rethink the theatre as a place of the performative that could potentially bring about social change. This leads us to classic questions about the role of art in society and to recent discussions on the political potential of contemporary dance. Looking at dance and performance studies texts of for example Claire Bishop, Bojana Cvejić, Bojana Kunst, Rudi Laermans, Jacques Rancière and Ana Vujanović, and on the basis of our case study, we take a rather critical stance towards social choreography as artistic strategy. On Trial Together formulates a critique of the complex working conditions of the (German) dance scene. Our finding is that this critique loses its credibility as it is formulated by means of and serves as an ideal example for these conditions. Furthermore we conclude that On Trial Together, using social choreography as artistic strategy, fails to exhaust the theory’s true potential, which lies in its rather unconscious persistency and slow development over a period of time and is mostly only visible retrospectively. Therefor, finally, we return to social choreography the way Hewitt describes it and conclude that it makes most sense to use it like he suggests, as analytical object, which also means that we will only really know the social choreographies of today in the future, as they will develop without our knowledge or conscious initiative. Nevertheless, specific performances are singular movements inside these social choreographies and can play a decisive role in their slow development and direction.

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Dissertation
Criticism Performing Art
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Year: 2016 Publisher: Leuven KU Leuven. Faculteit Letteren

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The art world in the sixties was shattered by the advent of conceptual and performance art. Artists rejected aesthetic norms and picked up the avant-garde legacy in their anti-institutional critique. “Every man is an artist” said Joseph Beuys, giving voice to the aesthetic anarchism of the times. The pluralism that dominated this artistic panorama gave way to “endist” theories as well as poststructuralist criticism. As conflicting as they may be, both critical tendencies agree that art is at a crucial turning point. In this moving context, art critics need to reinvent their discourse in order to make it fit the new dynamics of an art world in phase of transformation. This thesis will treat the question of criticism’s social function once it has abandoned its judging role. Indeed, we see criticism everywhere without actually reading it. So why does criticism keep proliferating, and how does it relate to the multiplicity of un-aesthetic objects to which it is confronted? In a race against obsolescence, critics tend to emphasize the “arty” side of their writing by affirming openly their subjectivity and playing with artistic devices. By doing so, they join the team of “artists” and adopt their transgressive drive. The critical text thus mirrors its object in a process of performative re-adaptation. And the result of this operation suffers the same fate as the “marginal art” that was appropriated by the art market and its institutions. The critic’s voice is clustered in an institutional frame that silences it and at the same time legitimizes it. Postmodern art critics are trapped in this vicious circle dominated by “fashionability” and exclusiveness.

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Dissertation
The notion of technique in contemporary dance: a study of the shift from the body to the network, from bodily discipline to dance in general
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Year: 2016 Publisher: Leuven KU Leuven. Faculteit Letteren

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The 20th century has been witnessing a double crisis: one on the notion of the body and the other on the notion of the human. In the context of our post-modern world, where humanity has to deal with globalization, decolonization and numerous wars, a complementary view on the body arose, underlying the body’s recognition and its dissolution or disintegration at the same time. In dance, there has also been a shift in the understanding of the body. The body has traditionally been considered as the major medium of the choreography. If we take the example of classical ballet, it is clear that the body was a vehicle for narration. It was considered a mere anatomical element that had to surpass its natural boundaries. This “dream of transcendence” characterizing ballet fostered the artifice. But in the course of the 20th century, dance has been moving towards a more essential expression, in its search for the pure movement. In the text Terpsichore in Sneakers, Sally Banes coins the notion of post-modern dance to refer to a purely formalist dance . Contrary to modern dance which dealt with embodied expressionism, post-modern dance searches for “formal autonomous movement” . Therefore, this new form of dance is self-reflexive and conceptual, since it re-defines choreography beyond the human. Consequently, “successive generations of choreographers stripped away the expressive resources of dance such as the dramatic story musical visualization” . In 1960 Trisha Brown made her dancers walking on walls with the help of a climbing device. She stated that “the dispositive through which a body is able to perform the impossible [must] show the limits that are surrounding the body” . In this case, the body is integrated into all sorts of mechanisms which actually reveal the constraints and the capacity to overcome them. The dance technique is no longer something that must be hidden. This had an impact on the representation of the body on stage. Nowadays in society as well as in performing arts, bodies are hyperconnected. Becca Wood assumes that there is an “increasing ‘instability’ of the body in a contemporary world where the digital screen images mediate and renegotiate our physical encounters” . She proposes to reconsider how we can strategize new possibilities for somatic practices and performance. . In this thesis, we will try to draw a portrait of the dancing body in its relation to technique and technology. We will argue that technique in dance in an essential element to achieve a process of subjectification which itself allows the dancing body to reconnect with its identity. And as identity is shaped by both subjectivity and the relation to the others and to the environment, we will state that the body in dance is necessarily related to its material surroundings on stage. With the help of the Foucauldian concept of the technologies of the self we will analyze the notion of technique and its meaning in the field of contemporary dance. This will lead us to study the relations of power that are underlying in every artistic process of creation and the shift in the representation of the body in dance.

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Dissertation
Body (com)Modificiations
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Year: 2016 Publisher: Leuven KU Leuven. Faculteit Letteren

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In the high-technological world that we live in, body modifications have become extremely common by shaping individuals identity. Within the different body modifications movements, the case of Modern Primitives has raised many controversies and debates both within academics and lay press. It is widely accepted that as a (sub)cultural movement that emerged in the 1980s in San Francisco, modern primitives are pioneers in the use of body modifications and have opened many doors to many professional body modifiers. Highly inspired by ‘tribal’ cultures, however, modern primitivism does not escape criticism, especially from anthropologists who see their practices as an idealisation of the racial ‘other’. Since the 1990s – thus – modern primitives have become object of both affiliation and criticism. It is the aim of the present paper to study what has remained today of this (sub)cultural movement and – if still exist – how does the commodification of some practices such as tattooing or piercing, affect the supposed ‘modern primitives’.

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