Theatricalising terrorism: Johann Kresnik’s Ulrike Meinhof and the Red Army Faction

Kolb, Alexandra (2009) Theatricalising terrorism: Johann Kresnik’s Ulrike Meinhof and the Red Army Faction. About Performance (9). pp. 127-148. ISSN 1324-6089

Full text is not in this repository.

Official URL:;dn=9...

This item is available in the Library Catalogue


This article considers the relationship between terrorism and the performative act, taking the campaigns of the German RAF and associated New-Left groups as a historical paradigm. The opening theoretical section compares the analysis of terrorist practices in terms of theatricality or spectacle with the ascription of terroristic attributes to certain performance genres. A detailed case study of "Ulrike Meinhof" (1990/2006) by the Austrian choreographer and avowed communist Johann Kresnik examines his revisionist depiction of 1970s left-wing violence, which depicts the state authorities rather than the RAF guerrilla movement themselves as the principal perpetrators of terror in West German society. Kresnik’s harsh and sensational choreographic style, characterised by frequent use of crude and violent imagery, seems designed to reflect both the mindsets of the activists concerned and the artist’s own view of the state and economic structures they sought to overthrow. The contrast between the strongly critical press and public response to Kresnik’s piece in 1990, with a more sympathetic reaction to its restaging in 2006, might indicate a changing perception of historical left-wing extremism over the intervening period.

Item Type:Article
Research Areas:A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Performing Arts
ID Code:8626
Useful Links:
Deposited On:10 Oct 2012 08:10
Last Modified:18 Mar 2015 15:59

Repository staff only: item control page

Full text downloads (NB count will be zero if no full text documents are attached to the record)

Downloads per month over the past year