The fourth issue of the ArteActa academic journal draws its inspiration from the international conference Bertolt Brecht: Contradictions as a Method, which took place in fall 2019 at the Theatre Faculty of AMU. Several of the publications found in the issue are extended versions of papers presented at the conference, while others were composed specifically for this edition of the journal. For its other sections, we sought out texts which approach the work, significance, and reception of Bertold Brecht’s works from other angles, or we incited the creation of such texts.
In the section devoted to academic papers, we present three texts. Kent Sjöström, in his article Authenticity, Copying and the Critical Gaze – the Crisis of Representation, investigates various traditions of the actor’s work relating to representation, the construction of identities, authenticity, and self-expression. For all of Sjöström’s efforts to get closer to the sources of the transformations of these phenomena throughout the historical development of European theatre, the aim of his text remains, first and foremost, the reflection of these notions in the works of Walter Benjamin and especially Bertolt Brecht from the point of view of the post-dramatic tendencies found in contemporary European theatre. Michael Wehren’s article, under the title The Institution of Class and Collective: Remarks on Fatzer and The Measures Taken, analyzes, with assistance from Brecht’s didactic games (the so called Lehrstücke), the notion of class in relation to classic Brecht studies. Veronika Darian continues in the spirit of the Leipzig academic in her article Position of Trust: Drafting Gender/Class. Utilizing the example of Job, one of Brecht’s games unknown in Czech, Darian widens Wehren’s work from the perspective of gender studies.
The Essays/Translations section opens up with a performative lecture by Anders Carlsson, Alice Koubová and Kent Sjöström, which was first held at the conference. The essay Buying Brass: A Method Re-Examined is an original look back on Brecht’s text Der Messingkauf, on the basis of which the authors critically reflect on the position of the theatre artist, the theatre theoretician, and the philosopher as they relate to contemporary theatre practice, the theatre as an institution, and art school. We decided on having Marc Silberman’s Brecht, Realism, and the Media translated into Czech for the issue. Here, on the basis of the disputes surrounding the film adaptation of The Threepenny Opera and coming about of the film Kuhle Wampe, Silberman focuses on Brecht’s hitherto seldom discussed and reflected work for film.
The review essay by František A. Podhajský, which opens the final part of the issue, continues in the vein of Silberman’s prespective. Against the background of the missing Czech reception of Brecht, Podhajský summarizes Brecht’s works on and for film, and, primarily, their critical appraisal in the English-speaking world, which has been most recently taken up by Angelos Koutsourakis’s monograph Rethinking Brechtian Film Theory and Cinema. The last three texts are devoted to Petr Zvěřina’s review of the book Hudba prorůstající časem (Music Growing in Time) by Miroslav Pudlák and his reflections on the conference Bertolt Brecht: Contradictions as a Method and the Chaos and Method symposium.
We would like to bring our website to your attention as well (www.arteacta.cz) where we publish texts from the sphere of artistic research in its On-line Special section. Last but not least, we recommend not missing out on the three-day international symposium 3times Artistic Research which we have prepared with the Fresh Eye Platform and during which we focus on the phenomenon of artistic research from the points of view of both Czech and international praxis as well as from the perspective of the artistic doctorate of art. The symposium ran in the first week of December (December 2-4, 2020) and the available is retrievable at www.umelecky-vyzkum.cz.