Queer fun, family and futures in Duckie’s performance projects 2010-2016
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This thesis argues that participatory performance projects can materialise better worlds for marginalised subjects. Drawing on and contributing to performance studies, queer studies and fun studies, it proposes a concept of reproductive queer futurity. This concept expands José Esteban Muñoz’s work on queer futurity (a utopian position rooted in collective hope for better worlds for marginalised subjects) by foregrounding the intentional reproduction of technologies of hope. The thesis argues that reproductive queer futurity is well served by forms and processes that emerge from lived experience and operate autonomously and adaptively to generate hope in routine ways. The operation of these homemade mutant hope machines (as the thesis calls them) is powerfully supported by queer understandings of family (framed here in relation to material support and intergenerational transmission) and fun (framed here in relation to the perception of low stakes and the capacity for civic intervention). Participatory performance projects can make good homemade mutant hope machines. Chapter One articulates the concept of reproductive queer futurity. Chapters Two and Three respectively conceptualise revised understandings of queer family and fun. Subsequent chapters illustrate these concepts through case studies of participatory projects by the London-based queer performance collective Duckie (1995-), analysed primarily through participant observation, interviews and surveys. Chapter Four analyses the Duckie Homosexualist Summer School (2015-2016), a training programme for young LGBTQI+ performers. Chapter Five analyses the ‘vintage clubbing’ cycle of immersive nightlife events (2010-2016) reanimating past instances of queer socialising. Chapter Six analyses the Posh Club (2012-), an afternoon cabaret for older people at risk of isolation. These analyses show how low-stakes situations, material support, intergenerational transmission and reproducible forms and understandings enable self-expression, relationality and agency in contexts of marginalisation. Collectively, they show how structures of queer fun and family mobilised through participatory performance can generate hope and materialise better worlds.
AuthorsWALTERS, B; Queen Mary University of London
- Theses