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(Dia)logics of difference disability, performance and spectatorship in Liz Crow's Resistance on the Plinth

Hadley, Bree J. (2011) (Dia)logics of difference disability, performance and spectatorship in Liz Crow's Resistance on the Plinth. Performance Research, 16(2), pp. 124-131.

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Abstract

In this article I examine how artists with disabilities use public-space performance to encourage passersby to reflect on the construction of public discourses about disability – and, therefore, the construction of publics that are potentially inclusive of people with disabilities. I concentrate on British storyteller, artist, filmmaker and activist Liz Crow's Resistance on the Plinth, one of four pieces Crow has produced over the past three years as part of the Resistance series, an examination of the Nazi regime's Aktion T4 programme, which resulted in the mass murder of a quarter of a million people with disabilities. Created in August 2009 as part of Antony Gormley's One & Other public art project, the piece featured Crow dressed in a Nazi uniform and seated in a wheelchair on the Fourth Plinth in London's Trafalgar Square. For Crow – who creates work in a British context where public debate about the eugenics of genetic testing, euthanasia and assisted suicide is prevalent in the media – the Nazi atrocity is still rich in confronting imagery, resonant and relevant in a contemporary context. In this article, I consider the challenges that Gormley's extremely public One & Other presented for professional artists like Crow, who are committed to intervening in public perceptions of identity, community and culture. I describe the structural choices Crow made to provoke debate about the cultural logics embodied in the image she presented, and analyse some of the spectatorial responses from online forums such as the One & Other website, Facebook and Twitter immediately following the event.

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ID Code: 50269
Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Special Issue: Performing Publics
DOI: 10.1080/13528165.2011.578843
ISSN: 1352-8165
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > PERFORMING ARTS AND CREATIVE WRITING (190400) > Drama Theatre and Performance Studies (190404)
Divisions: Past > Institutes > Institute for Creative Industries and Innovation
Deposited On: 15 May 2012 10:53
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2013 00:46

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