Purcell-Gates, L (2017) Spectacular bodies, unsettling objects: material performance as intervention in stereotypes of refugees. In: Migration/Representation/Stereotypes, 28 - 30 April 2017, University of Ottawa, Canada.

Official URL: http://artsites.uottawa.ca/studies-migration/en/co...


The body of Palestinian refugee puppetry artist Husam Abed co-exists in The Smooth Life as spectator, puppeteer and performer as he manipulates tin cans, wire, wood and grains of rice to construct his story of growing up in a refugee camp. Given the recent attention to the ways in which material and technological intersections with human bodies reconstruct stereotypes in liberatory ways in performance (Parker-Starbuck 2011, Posner 2014), this paper asks in what ways can material performance practices intervene in stereotyped media-driven representations of refugee bodies? Refugees have become spectacular in the Debordian sense: mediated, materially absent, unmournable. These spectacular bodies circulate in multiple media narratives that represent the refugee body on a spectrum from threat/contamination to pitiable/victim, stereotypes that provoke affective responses while foreclosing meaningful intervention. Through analysing the object performances of Abed, this paper explores how these material performance practices unsettle and disrupt this spectrum of stereotypes.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2017 14:15
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2017 14:17
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