The article explores the potential “healing” role performance art can have when representing disabling trauma, and engaging, as part of the creative process, participants who have experienced in their lives significant trauma and physical, as well as mental health concerns arising from gender violence. It focuses on the show cicatrix macula, performed during the exhibition Speaking Out: Women Healing from the Trauma of Violence (Leicester, 2014). The exhibition involved disabled visual and creative artists, and engaged participants in the process of performance making. It was held at the Attenborough Arts Centre in Leicester (UK), a pioneering arts centre designed to be inclusive and accessible. The show cicatrix macula focused on social, cultural, mental, and physical representations of trauma and disability, using three lacerated life-size puppets to illustrate these depictions. Working under the direction of the audience, two artists attempted to “repair” the bodies. The creative process was a collaborative endeavour: the decision-making process rested with the audience, whose privileged positions of witness and meaning-maker were underscored. Fayard demonstrates the significance of cicatrix macula in debunking ablist gender norms, as well as in highlighting the role played by social and cultural enablers. She calls attention to its potential for mobilizing positive identity politics, including for viewers who had experienced trauma. For example, the environment of the participatory performance space offered some opportunities for the survivor to become the author or arbiter of her own recovery. In addition, the constant physical exchange of bodies within this space of debate was well-suited to the (re)connection with the self and with others.
Film is a powerful medium that can influence audience’s perceptions, values and ideals. As filmmaking evolved into a serious art form, it became a powerful tool for telling stories that require us to re-examine our ideology. While it remains popular to adapt a literary novel or text for the screen, filmmakers have more freedom to pick and choose the stories they want to tell. This freedom allows filmmakers to explore narratives that might otherwise go unheard, which include stories that feature marginal figures, such as serial killers, as sympathetic protagonists, which is what director Patty Jenkins achieves in her 2003 film Monster. Charlize Theron’s transformation into and performance as Aileen Wuornos, and Jenkins’s presentation of the subject matter, make this film an example of rogue cinema. In addition, Aileen Wuornos is portrayed as a clear example of the rogue character. This character trope frequently defies social standards, suffers from past trauma, is psychologically complex, and is often exiled. As a prostitute and social outcast, Aileen Wuornos exists on the fringes of society and rejects the hegemonic power structure and later heteronormativity of society, which makes her a rogue figure. While there are several aspects to consider when analyzing Jenkins’s film, my intention is to argue that this film is an example of rogue cinema because of its content. In order to accomplish this task, I examine Theron’s bodily transformation and her performance as Wuornos. Furthermore, I look at how Jenkins handles the depiction of romantic love and gendered violence and argue that her treatment of this content renders this film rogue.
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The paper gives insight into the revaluation of popular Gothic aesthetics in Jim Jarmusch’s 2014 production Only Lovers Left Alive. Drawing on critical theory and the postmodern theoretical framework, the article suggests that the film transgresses contemporary culture immersed in a “culture of death” that has produced a vast amount of cultural texts under the rubric of “Gothicism.” By considering Jean Baudrillard’s concept of transaesthetics and Judith Halberstam’s writings on contemporary monstrosity, the paper shows that a commodified Gothic mode has lost its older deconstructive functions that operated on the margins of the mainstream. Now entirely focused on the duplication of the same aesthetic codes and signs, Gothic productions conform to the rules of postindustrial culture, enriching entertainment imagery with the neutralized concept of “otherness.” Hence, the article engages primarily with Jarmusch’s indie aesthetics that goes beyond easily recognizable patterns and generic conventions and allows the director to emphasize that the arts are rejuvenating forces, the antidote to a commoditized environment. Then, the focus is on the construction of main characters—Adam and Eve, ageless vampires and spouses—who thanks to nostalgic theatricality and performance reconfigure the mainstream monstrosity. Ultimately, the article emphasizes that Jarmusch’s film, to a large extent, becomes a warning against the inevitable results of advanced capitalism practiced on a global scale.
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