Memorial to Domestic Energy: Domestic Spaces and Regulating Institutions
What energetic shifts occur when domestic spaces are replaced by regulating institutions? In 1958, the residential neighborhood of San Juan Hill in New York City was demolished to construct the Lincoln Center performing arts campus. Far from a simple repurposing of urban space, thousands of private, working class domestic spaces were replaced with a few large state-owned theaters.
Part site-specific art, part academic paper, this work explores Lincoln Center’s architecture and the choreography that collections of bodies reproduce on and off stage within its walls. Building on Foucault’s concept of the docile body, this paper proposes that Lincoln Center’s theater seating arrangements and adherence to performance etiquette, derived from Western European aristocratic traditions, reshapes the body of the concert-goer en masse into the idealized compliant form. The frequency of reiterative rituals of decorum has shifted the responsibility of compliance from the institution and onto the audience members themselves. Audience bodies have become hyper self/other regulating, thus tapping into a collective affective energy that differs dramatically from the independent, and often chaotic, energy pockets of domestic life formerly experienced within the residential neighborhood of San Juan Hill.
The academic paper portion of this work will be presented at the Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Association 28th Annual Conference in November 2017.
Transparent Ballet Program Notes
This ongoing written work explores the role of program notes in audience interpretations of ballet storylines. Program notes prepare the audience and instruct them on how to interpret the choreography they see on stage. When the program notes use euphemisms for racist or sexist acts that take place on stage, the euphemisms condition the audience to accept the onstage behavior as acceptable. For instance, a male character’s nonconsensual sexual contact with an unconscious woman is romanticized into the prince kissing sleeping beauty to break the kingdom’s sleeping spell.
The Performance of Giving