Abstract

Centering on My Dream, the signature piece of the Chinese Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe, this essay traces the ways in which it utilizes classical imageries grounded in Chinese traditions and turns them into a distinct movement of evocative signification across established cultural boundaries. The unusually intense energies engendered by this troupe, whether in its performance at artistic institutions, non-profit public venues, politically significant national theatres or fluid sites of the commercial markets around the world, amounts to a complex re-making of “the Chinese” amidst drastic changes while simultaneously drawing attention to the specific materiality of the performers irreducible to any “Chinese-ness” as such. The special capabilities required for and attained by these artists in order to redefine their otherwise marked “deficiency” on stage leverage as much as un-conceal the fecundity of human performance through which they also come to terms with the rubrics of “everyday life,” its mechanism of power relations, and its regimes of intelligibility. My Dream therewith dislodges the binaries between the normal and abnormal, the able and disabled, or the productive and superfluous, actualizing a form-giving process at odds with the logic of global capital and its “liquidating” motions of spectacle industry. This essay argues how an intermedial aesthetic of the special performer transpires amid such a process, as a mobile method of being and becoming that invites reconsiderations of the relationship between the conditions of the historically (de)formed and the dynamics of embodied images of the cosmopolitan human.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6539
Print ISSN
0300-7162
Pages
pp. 32-57
Launched on MUSE
2014-02-01
Open Access
No
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