Looping and moving-image media: opening up a queer feminist space in performance

  • Claire Ridge

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    How might time be experienced in ways that challenge and offer alternatives to classical modernist understandings of time, the subject, and knowledge? This is a question significant to choreographers representing and manipulating time in performance. It is also important to those who have been marginalised through particular temporal regimes underpinned by Western notions of progress and development.

    There have been recent discussions within queer theory on performance practices which challenge regressive and entrenched temporalities and explore alternative relations to time and history. This discourse has parallels with a concern within performance theory on the potential of suspensions, breaks, and simultaneities in ‘digital performance’. Through my practice-as research of looping I think through what it might mean to apply a queer feminist lens to alternative temporal experiences that emerge through looping in performance. This project sits within a context of performance practices exploring digital strategies, post-internet aesthetics, and/or looping temporalities. Its primary inquiry is the question: how can temporalities and aesthetics of looping and its effects on ways of seeing be generative for a queer feminist chronopolitics?

    This practice-as-research was presented in the performance work The Night is Red (2019). I explore how looping which reiterates a dominant, limiting, non-linear post-modern temporality might also produce the seeds for more generative alternative temporalities. I reflect on my experience as maker-viewer of The Night is Red, and how I am invited to experience a destabilising corporeal experience of stasis and the affective potential of a present brimming with a multiplicity of possible pasts and futurities. I also consider how particular practices of looping characterised by ‘temporal drag’ and ‘retranslations’, invite the viewer to look askance and anew at familiar dominant cultural texts and highlight potential queer desires that travel through images; while also obfuscating meaning. I ask, how might these strategies be desirable and useful as alternative modes of knowledge production?

    I also reflect on the ambivalence and uncertainty I have around my proposition that The Night is Red opens up a space in performance that can generate a queer feminist chronopolitics. I suggest that by proposing that The Night is Red opens up a queer feminist space in performance I call the reader/viewer to take up the invitation afforded by the artistic mechanisms in the practice. I explicitly invite a dissenting reader to this thesis to disagree, make alternative interpretations, or find moments where we may coalesce, as a way to inspire a continuing discussion and continue the multiple possibilities of the practice.
    Date of Award2022
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorVictoria Thoms (Supervisor) & Simon Ellis (Supervisor)

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