1/27/21 – “Beneath this Flag Stands a Body: On the Human Form as Final Technology” Anna Jayne Kimmel (Stanford)

Please join the Theater and Performance Studies Workshop for:

Anna Jayne Kimmel

Ph.D. Candidate Performance Studies | Stanford University

Who will Present:

Beneath this Flag Stands a Body: On the Human Form as Final Technology

Respondent: Clara Nizard, PhD Student, TAPS/English, University of Chicago

Wednesday, January 27,

12:00 – 1:30 PM

Please register HERE to receive a link for the workshop. Pre-circulated paper available HERE. 

We are committed to making our workshop fully accessible to persons with disabilities. Please direct any questions or concerns to the workshop coordinators, Arianna Gass (ariannagass@uchicago.edu) and Catrin Dowd (catrindowd@uchicago.edu).

Abstract: Scenes of bodies en masse have become commonplace, political protests and demonstrations habituated by less polarized assemblies of parades, conventions, and stadiums. But as technologies advance at warp speed—in public health, space exploration, artificial intelligence, and commercialized machinery—in ways that alter and displace the human form, there is cause to wonder if humanity has lost sight of how and why this body remains ever salient. In response, this essay argues that physical and material bodies continue to be a requirement of political dissent, an unchanging technology in spite of the times.

To construct its argument, this essay surveys aesthetic works with flags, some with and some without bodies, to consider the resulting variances in the relationships between body and object.  Subsequent themes of animation, automation, and deanimation guide the writing as theoretical terms that give language to the shifting potentialities revealed by the art. Implicit is the negotiation of vulnerability, precarity and risk involved in these scenes. By centering the flag as a metonymical object that can potentially extend, replace, or displace the protesting body, this essay considers the corporeal role in the space of appearance in material terms. The aim is not to fetishize presence, but to take seriously the particular properties afforded to technologies of flesh.

Author Bio: Anna Jayne Kimmel is a PhD candidate in Performance Studies pursing a minor in Anthropology and graduate certificate in African Studies, with an emphasis in dance, memory, and public performance as politics. Her current research intersects critical dance studies and crowd theory, to analyze the resulting representations of race, national identity, and democratic affect, especially as motivated by contemporary Algerian demonstrations. As a dancer, Kimmel has performed the works of: Ohad Naharin, Trisha Brown, John Jaspers, Francesca Harper, Rebecca Lazier, Olivier Tarpaga, Marjani Forte, Susan Marshall, Loni Landon, and Christopher Ralph, amongst others. Kimmel holds an AB from Princeton University in French Studies with certificates in African Studies and Dance. Her writing appears in Performance Research, with reviews published in The Drama Review (TDR) and Dance Research Journal. She currently serves on the Future Advisory Board to Performance Studies international, and as the reviews editor of Performance Research.

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