Reengaging, reenacting and reenvisaging discourses of disaster through public space performance: Austerity, art, and the art of protest
Hadley, Bree J. (2015) Reengaging, reenacting and reenvisaging discourses of disaster through public space performance: Austerity, art, and the art of protest. In On Tilted Earth - PSi#21 Fluid States: Performances of Unknowing, 5-8 November 2015, La Salle University, Manila, Philipines. (Unpublished)
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This paper offers a mediation on disaster, recovery, resilience, and restoration of balance, in both a material and a metaphorical sense, when ‘disaster’ befalls not the body politic of the nation but the body personal. In the past few decades, of course, artists, activists and scholars have deliberately tried to avoid describing personal, physical and phenomenological experiences of the disabled body in terms of difficulty and disaster. This has been part of a political move, from a medical model, in which disability, disease and illness are positioned as personal catastrophes, to a social model, in which disability is positioned as a social construct that comes from systems, institutions and infrastructure designed to exclude different bodies. It is a move that is responsible for a certain discomfort people with disabilities, and artists with disabilities, today feel towards performances that deploy disability as a metaphor for disaster, from Hijikata, to Theatre Hora. In the past five years, though, this particular discourse has begun rising again, particularly as people with disabilities fact their own anything but natural disasters as a result of the austerity measures now widespread across the US, UK, Europe and elsewhere. Measures that threaten people’s ability to live, and take part in social and institutional life, in any meaningful way. Measures that, as artist Katherine Araniello notes, also bring additional difficulty, danger, and potential for disaster as they ripple outwards across the tides of familial ties, threatening family, friends, and careers who become bound up in the struggle to do more with less. In this paper, I consider how people with disabilities use performance, particularly public space interventionalist performance, to reengage, renact and reenvisage the discourse of national, economic, environmental or other forms of disaster, the need for austerity, the need to avoid providing people with support for desires and interests as well as basic daily needs, particularly when fraud and corruption is so right, and other such ideas that have become an all too unpleasant reality for many people. Performances, for instance, like Liz Crow’s Bedding Out, where she invited people into her bed – for people with disabilities a symbolic space, which necessarily becomes more a public living room restaurant, office and so forth than a private space when poor mobility means they spend much time it in – to talk about their lives, their difficulties, and dealing with austerity. Or, for instance, like the Bolshy Divas, who mimic public and political policy, reports and advertising paranoia to undermine their discourses about austerity. I examine the effects, politics and ethics of such interventions, including examination of the comparative effect of highly bodied interventions (like Crow’s) and highly disembodied interventions (like the Bolshy Diva’s) in discourses of difficulty, disaster and austerity on a range of target spectator communities.
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|Item Type:||Conference Paper|
|Keywords:||Performance, Disability, Austerity|
|Subjects:||Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > PERFORMING ARTS AND CREATIVE WRITING (190400)
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:||Current > Schools > Drama
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Past > Institutes > Institute for Creative Industries and Innovation
|Copyright Owner:||Bree Hadley|
|Copyright Statement:||Not for circulation|
|Deposited On:||26 Apr 2016 23:12|
|Last Modified:||01 May 2016 05:49|
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