Law’s lost presence
Reading law’s lost presence through Vaughan moves theatricalisation into the dramaturgical, as a studied means through which a text is revived, and which then manifests the challenge to an existing set of assumptions, such as a key doctrine or principle in law. Law is imagined as a complete system, holding within it all the principles needed to deal with any new situation that comes its way, as updated and reordered through each new iteration. The conjunction between Vaughan, the reprise of Thomas Talfourd’s tragedy, and his fame remind us that old cases aren’t just antiquarian footnotes, but that like all law, emerge from their own time and place. The first is to theatricalise what is assumed to be a principle in law and correct its history, and the second is to use it to return to the Trier Social Stress Test, and what it would entail in the circumstances of any widespread adoption of artificial intelligence in law.