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Prof. Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht
PRESENCE, CHARISMA AND PERFORMANCE. Spring Academy with Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht
EVENTS Spring Academy // Performative Poetics

Some have it, others don’t, but everyone wants to posses it. Or at least, experience it. Charisma, presence, aura – that hard to define little something that enables a player to surpass herself whenever she walks onto the stage or the film set. It’s the material performance is made of. However, in its condensed form, it remains unique and occurs rarely. What is it exactly? Does it exist in language? Does it emerge in space? Does it change through time? Is it above all corporeal? Is it reciprocal, an expression of the pact between the actress/actor and his/her audience? 


We are inclined to think that aura appears through an interaction with media, like the film star emerged against the backdrop of the silver screen. Charisma certainly entails power – the power to enthral the spectator and to take hold of the gaze of the other. Perhaps it is an innate quality, rooted in personal intuition and in the exceptional ability to attain, seemingly without effort, an undistinguishable presence. Or is that idea a mystical presupposition, refuted by the existence of art education and actor’s training? Can presence be taught, cultivated and developed?


Through a symposium, a public lecture and a research seminar, organised by Research Centre for Visual Poetics, we will attempt to respond to these and related questions. We will try to flesh out the concepts ‘charisma’, ‘presence’ and ‘aura’ in a dialogue with theoreticians and practitioners.



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