Friday, May 23, 2008

Why this book?

A few people have asked me, "Why this book?" It might seem odd to choose a book on performance and hemispheric studies, as I know very little about performance and didn't even know the term hemispheric studies until I read the introduction.

My friend Katie Hargrave recommended the book to me some time ago. We both work inter-disciplinarily. Reading this book as a methodological model for inter-disciplinarity is easier NOT knowing the subject well. I appreciate the broad approach and expanse language Diana Taylor uses. She sees each subject in conversation with each other (pg.xvii). The way she asks questions of each appeals to my open-endedness.

I have been accused many time of having performance in my work. When Taylor writes- “Civic obedience, resistance, citizenship, gender, ethnicity, and sexual identity, for example, are rehearsed and performed daily in the public sphere.”- performance bleeds into critical spatial practice, history, and gender studies. Nice. I was at the train Metra station reading that sentence. The two platforms, divided by track, had benches facing one another. Suddenly I was performing reading for the folks opposite me while they were performing a variety of things, boredom, mating rituals, and a race politics, to name a few. I love the idea of public spaces as sites of performance where we both influence and are.

I tend to shy away from the diaristic. Not so with this reading. This entry in written in the first person as an experiment in directness. This writing, while deeply personal, still manages to appeal to broad interests. Another nice model.


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