ISSN 2451-2966


Paweł Mościcki

Engagement and Autonomy of Theatre


Can a play both be politically engaged and remain serious art (whatever these two phrases may mean)? Can it retain its 'artistic value' when entering the space of political discourse? Can political effectiveness and aesthetic subtlety be combined, or does creating art with a socio-political dimension automatically preclude the possibility of creating 'true art', asks Paweł Mościcki. 'Engaged theatre' is a term that caused much heated debate and fierce argument in Poland in recent years. The question of theatre’s political and social mission has clearly not only divided artists, but also demonstrated obvious dividing lines among critics, theatre scholars and above all audiences. Mościcki distinguishes in today’s debates three particular meanings of politics, and also three resultant models of the relationship between art and politics. He argues that neither an engaged nor engaging art can occur in a pure state, untainted by its opposite. These two concepts should thus perhaps be treated as certain ideal types, blended together in particular artistic endeavours, and perhaps even co-existing with forms of post-political art.


engaged art; engaging art; political art; parapolitics; politics; metapolitics; post-political play; subtraction

Full Text:


Paweł Mościcki

(1981), PhD, philosopher, essayist and translator. Assistant professor at the Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences. His articles and translations have been printed in such, publications as Principia, Sztuka i filozofia, ArteriePamiętnik Literacki, Res Publica Nowa, Kresy, Glissando, Literatura na Świecie, Dialog and Teatr. The translator of books by Alain Badiou, Derek Attridge, Slavoj Žižek, and Jacques Rancière. Editor of the volume Maurice Blanchot: Literatura extremalna (2007) and author of the books Polityka teatru. Eseje o sztuce angażującej (2008), Godard. Pasaże (2010), Idea potencjalności. Możliwość filozofii według Giorgio Agambena (2013), and My też mamy już przeszłość. Guy Debord i historia jako pole bitwy (2015).