Unruly Gestures: Seven Cine-Paragraphs on Reading/Writing Practices in our Post-Digital Condition

Janneke Adema, Kamila Kuc

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Unruly gestures presents a hybrid performative intervention by means of video, text, and still images. With this experimental essay we aspire to break down various preconceptions about reading/writing gestures. Breaking away from a narrative that sees these gestures foremost as passive entities – as either embodiments of pure subjective intentionality, or as bodily movements shaped and controlled by media technologies (enabling specific sensory engagements with texts) – we aim to reappraise them. Indeed, in this essay we identify numerous dominant narratives that relate to gestural agency, to the media-specificity of gestures, and to their (linear) historicity, naturalness and humanism. This essay disrupts these preconceptions, and by doing so, it unfolds an alternative genealogy of ‘unruly gestures.’ These are gestures that challenge gestural conditioning through particular media technologies, cultural power structures, hegemonic discourses, and the biopolitical self. We focus on reading/writing gestures that have disrupted gestural hegemonies and material-discursive forms of gestural control through time and across media. Informed by Tristan Tzara’s cut-up techniques, where through the gesture of cutting the Dadaists subverted established traditions of authorship, intentionality, and linearity, this essay has been cut-up into seven semi-autonomous cine-paragraphs (accessible in video and print). Each of these cine-paragraphs confronts specific gestural preconceptions while simultaneously showcasing various unruly gestures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-208
Number of pages19
JournalCulture Unbound: Journal of Current Cultural Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

Culture Unbound is an Open Access journal (CC BY-NC)

Copyright for all manuscripts rests with the author(s).


  • reading/writing gestures
  • gestural agency
  • corporate gesture control
  • textual media
  • cutting
  • iteration
  • media archaeology
  • gestures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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  • Unruly Gestures - performative essay

    Kuc, K., 2017

    Research output: Practice-Based and Non-textual ResearchDigital or Visual Media

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