In late September, Lexington Books, Rowman & Littlefield, one of the better American publishers specializing in the humanities and social sciences – cultural and artistic sciences in particular – published Leo Rafolt’s book “MONTAŽSTROJ’S EMANCIPATORY PERFORMANCE POLITICS: NEVER MIND THE SCORE”.
Leo Rafolt’s book deals with the broader theoretical and philosophical context of performance arts and the art of performance in the former Yugoslavia, focusing on more than three decades of politically engaged performance activity of the MONTAŽSTROJ group. For the author, their activity is only a starting point for a deeper analysis of some of the key notions of contemporary “art-ivism” in a much broader post-political and globalized context before, during, and after the collapse of Yugoslavia and its Socialist paradigm. The author analyzes and sets notions of agonism, engagement, terrorism, post-war trauma, political populism, social Darwinism, participation and publicness, and the public sphere into different theoretical matrixes, tuning into their resonances in art, culture, politics, etc.
The author, Leo Rafolt, was born in Zagreb. He graduated from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of Zagreb in 2003 and received his doctorate in 2006. He went on to work at the faculty from 2003 to 2017. He currently teaches performance studies, theater theory, and transcultural studies as a full professor at the Academy of Arts and Culture of the Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek. He has spent time at a dozen European, American, and Asian universities as a guest lecturer and trained in the US, France, Poland, and Japan.
About the book:
“Montažstroj’s Emancipatory Performance Politics confronts us with the necessity of writing and performing theory in a time of permanent global crises, pandemics, war conflicts, terrorism, economic fractures, and broken public narratives. The starting points are in performance studies and applications to real life forms. Leo Rafolt constantly provokes his reader and interprets, transgresses, reveals potential traps, gives answers, and turns answers into challenges of performativity.”
Miodrag Šuvaković, Singidunum University
“Rafolt’s book is an excellent insight into cultural theory and performance relations, open to anyone interested in performance studies and interdisciplinary research in art, since the author, in the manner of Hal Foster, seeks to give the ethnographic method a kind of licentia hermeneutica, the right to interpret the performing art.”
Suzana Marjanić, Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research
“Rafolt’s inspired, theoretically grounded, and detailed analyses represent a significant contribution to performance studies, as well as to the analysis of interconnections between emancipatory regimes in arts and society as such and will be therefore read both for their depth of insights and for the wealth of information they provide.”
Zoran Milutinović, University College London
“Rafolt’s latest book has every reason to become an academic classic, in theater and performance studies, cultural studies, as well as Slavic studies. It is a well-written, heavily documented, and theoretically grounded analysis of the contemporary world performatively structured on two dogmas: the free market and liberal democracy. Rafolt weaves a critical tale based on an analysis of the performative production of the internationally renowned group Montažstroj.”
Maciej Falski, University of Warsaw
“This book captures those elusive folds of performance-with-resistance, reading them against the backscreen of Eastern European and Pan-European political and intellectual histories. It uses a long-standing project to showcase an intricate and fascinating theoretical analysis of performing practices as they play with, within, and against violent capitalist modernities. Students and scholars across the overlapping fields of performance studies, dance studies, post-communist studies, queer studies, European studies, and those familiar with various left-wing traditions of critical theory and intellectual history will find this book to be an elucidating and inspiring contribution to their respective fields.”
Aljoša Pužar, University of Ljubljana