Johnson-Brown, R. B. (2018). Staging "Impossible Tension": The Brechtian Gestus as a Disruptor of Progress. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.14418/wes01.1.1502
Bertolt Brecht's concept of Gestus opposes the perceived monotonous mundanity of the everyday and incites audiences to examine the hilarious and insufferable contradictory nature of reality. Translated by scholars as a "gist" of an attitude, Gestus serves as a textual, temporal and kinetic disturbance in which the entire stage halts in stillness. Using Brecht's Frankfurt School peers, Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno, along with 21st century dance theorist Andre Lepecki and philosopher Peter Sloterdjik, I trace how we have come to define Progress as a homogenous trajectory of uninterrupted movement. Though this trajectory is posed as a path towards necessary improvement, its inescapable kineticism reaps detrimental forces that conveniently exclude and forget non-dominant bodies and cultures.The Brechtian Gestus disrupts the motility of Progress and imagines a moment in which we can acknowledge the present and think critically about our place in it.