Unmarked: The Politics of Performance
Feminist film theory has made the psychic and political limitations of representational visibility abundantly clear. Yet the Left continues to promote visibility politics as a crucial aspect of progressive struggle. Unmarked examines the fraught relation between political and representational visibility and invisibility within both mainstream and avant-garde art. Suggesting that there may be some political power in an active disappearance from the visual field, Phelan looks carefully at examples of such absences in photography, film, theatre, the iconography of anti-abortion demonstrations, and performance art. A boldly specultative analysis of contemporary culture, Unmarked is a controversial study of the politics of performance. Situating performance theory within emerging theories of psychoanalysis, feminism, and cultural studies, Phelan argues that the non-reproductive power of performance offers a different way of thinking about cultural production and reproduction more generally. Written from and for the Left, Phelan's readings of the work of Robert Mapplethorpe, Cindy Sherman, Mira Schor, Yvonne Rainer, Jennie Livingstone, Tom Stoppard, Angelika Festa and Operation Rescue radically rethink the politics of cultural representation.
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abortion abortion debates argues artists attempt balls believe binary body Brian Ridley camera castration Cindy Sherman continually culture desire disappearance discussion displacement dissipative structures double economy Envied Women erotic failure female feminine feminist Festa fetish fetus Figure filmic frame Freud fundamental gaze gender Hapgood heterosexual identity ideology imitate impossible invisible Jack Jack's Kerner Lacan Livingston's look looker male marks metaphor Mira Schor mother narrative negative nonreproductive notion object one's ontology Operation Rescue painting Paris Is Burning paternity penis phallus photograph physics Piper political possibility power-knowledge pregnant woman promise psychic psychoanalysis quantum racial Rainer Rainer's film Randall Terry relation relationship representation reproduction Ridley Robert Mapplethorpe secret seduction seen sexual difference Sherman space spatial speaking spectator spycatching Stoppard's suggests Symbolic tation theatre theatrical theory transformation Trisha unmarked Venus Xtravaganza visible visual wants Willi Ninja words writing Yvonne Rainer