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Feeling Queer: The Affective Histories of State of Darkness

Date and Time: 
Monday, November 30, 2015. 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
Meeting Location: 
Terrace Room, Margaret Jacks (building 460)
Workshop: 
Feminisms & Queerings
Meeting Description: 
Speaker:
Rebecca Chaleff, PhD candidate in TAPS and PhD minor in FGSS
 
Meeting description:
In this presentation, Rebecca Chaleff will analyze State of Darkness at the critical edge of feminist and queer theory to ask how queer histories become felt through feminist performances. In 1988, Molissa Fenley premiered State of Darkness as the first solo work ever choreographed to Igor Stravinsky’s Sacre du Printemps. Her muscular, androgynous body, highly physical style, and stamina explicitly challenged the normative roles of contemporary female dancers. As a feminist act that expanded the range and possibility of the female body in performance, Fenley’s State of Darkness also doubles as a queer performance that complicates cultural structures of both of gender and time through atemporal invocations of feeling. Fenley’s State of Darkness explicitly calls forth the legacies of queer artists from Vaslav Nijinsky to Arnie Zane through visceral choreographies that shudder and surge forth to both celebrate and mourn the queer lives that inspired the work.
 
Fenley’s dance does more than bear witness to the devastation of queer lives during the AIDS epidemic, however; it revivifies the affective charge of a historical moment through feminist performance. How do these invocations mobilize disenfranchised subjects to move from the margins? How are these histories translated through the moment of performance? What does State of Darkness teach us about which queer deaths are folded into life, and how?

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