Spectacular bodies, unsettling objects: material performance as intervention in stereotypes of refugees

Purcell-Gates, L (2020) 'Spectacular bodies, unsettling objects: material performance as intervention in stereotypes of refugees.' In: Meerzon, Y, Dean, D and McNeil, D, eds. Migration and stereotypes in performance and culture. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, pp. 39-55. ISBN 9783030399146

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Official URL: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-03...

Abstract

The body of Palestinian refugee puppetry artist Husam Abed co-exists in Dafa Puppet Theatre’s 'The Smooth Life' as spectator, puppeteer, and performer as he manipulates pieces of wood, cardboard, photographs, and grains of rice to construct his story of growing up in a refugee camp. Given the recent attention to how material and technological intersections with human bodies reconstruct stereotypes in liberatory ways in performance, this analysis explores the ways in which material performance practice can intervene in stereotyped media-driven representations of refugee bodies. Refugee bodies in such representations are fixed outside of agentive possibility: mediated, materially absent, unmournable. These stereotyped bodies circulate in multiple media narratives that represent the refugee body on a spectrum from threat/contamination to pitiable/victim, narratives that provoke affective responses while foreclosing meaningful intervention. Through analysing the puppetry/object theatre piece 'The Smooth Life', Purcell-Gates explores how these material performance practices unsettle and disrupt this spectrum of stereotypes.

Item Type: Book Chapter or Section
Keywords: puppetry, theatre drama, abjection, Dafa Puppet Theatre
Divisions: Bath School of Music & Performing Arts
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-39915-3_3
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Date Deposited: 05 May 2020 14:00
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2020 09:27
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