Actualizing a Spectator Like You: The Ethics of the Intrusive-Hypothetical | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 3, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1757-1979
  • E-ISSN: 1757-1987



A stream of performance pieces over the last five years – including The Author (Tim Crouch), Tough time nice time (Ridiculusmus), Beachy Head (Analogue) and Make Better Please (Uninvited Guests) – have addressed the ethics of dramatic narrative via narratives that are presented as possible rather than actual. Mooted, proposed, quoted, imagined, these real yet hypothetical narratives court and assault their audience. Mocking our wish to make a difference while offering no genuine invitation to do so, these works script our failure to intervene. Drawing on Ganaele Langlois’s discussion of online participatory media platforms, and on Zygmunt Bauman’s ethical-existential view of ‘the liquid, modern world’ of digital, cognitive capitalism, I read these works as a distinct mode that I call intrusive-hypothetical performance. It is a mode that poses important ethical questions about the reification of the self in a digital-capitalist economy in which personality must, above all, be readable.


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