Queer, crip live art in the post ‘trans tipping point’ era: an archive of affect
University of Roehampton, London
Year of enrolment: 2019
Combining social science and performance methods and theory, this interdisciplinary research centres on generating new methods of historicisation and theorisation of spectatorship through an intersectional critical queer, trans- and disability-inclusive conceptual lens. This project applies affect theory and sensory ethnography to analyse live art by disabled, queer, trans- or gender-non conforming (DQTGNC) artists in the United Kingdom, documenting live art in the post ‘trans-tipping point’ era.
TIME magazine’s 2014 heralding of a ‘tipping point’ for transgender civil rights exposed trans and gender non-conforming lives to unprecedented public visibility, legal scrutiny and debate. While equality, inclusivity, diversity and accessibility appear in mainstream discourse, the UK’s Equality Act (2010) paradoxically preceded a year-on-year increase in recorded cases of hate crime based on protected characteristics such as gender identity, sexuality and disability (ONS 2017). This suggests that visibility is no panacea for discrimination. In this context, in/visibility and accessibility will underpin this critical analysis of how live art can address and counter the historical invisibility of DQTGNC people and their ongoing marginalisation.
Tracing intersections of critical ‘crip’ and queer theoretical stances in inclusive, accessible live art by queer and disability-led research partners Culture Device, Vital xposure, Raze Collective and Southbank Centre Unlimited Festival, this ethnographic research will provide a basis to investigate normative notions of embodiment and to theorise the roles of affect and activism in contemporary live art. The overall objective is to unpack how and why disidentified live art, which neither assimilates nor strictly opposes dominant cultures (Muñoz 1999) can operate as an oppositional gaze (hooks 2003), as provocations, acts of resistance and of survival. The resultant archive of live art performances by disabled, queer performers in the UK, centred on the affective, sensory crip-identified experience of the spectator will propose new praxis to influence the future of live art production.