The process of creating the Self--whether the Self is understood as individual or multiple, bounded or fully enmeshed in the world, possessing agency or determined by external forces, primarily stable or always in flux--has formal and material parameters. Subjectivation, in other words, is an aesthetic practice. Consequently, I believe that film, theatre, music, the visual arts, and everything in between have much to offer a study of subject formation. Tools developed for the analysis of works of art (their perceptual and affective impact, the forces that shape their generation and dissemination, etc.) can also be used to understand the making of aesthetically pleasing/displeasing subjectivities. Moreover, aesthetic pleasure and displeasure are mobilized by power in the service of what Michel Foucault calls "dividing practices."
My scholarship pays particular attention to popular and fine arts-based media as practices that reinforce and contest, reflect and produce, the aesthetics of the Subject. More specifically, since my graduate coursework in the fields of performance studies and film studies at UC Berkeley, I have repeatedly returned to two areas of inquiry: a) the media aesthetics of girlhood (and youth more generally) in American and European contexts, and b) animation and dance film as art forms that investigate the relationship between movement, liveliness, and human as well as nonhuman agency (what I call the choreography of life). More recently, as my creative practice has dovetailed with my scholarship, I have become interested in the vocal aesthetics of music, sound art, and everyday life.
Interdisciplinary in nature, my publications have engaged with the fields of digital culture studies, media studies, animation studies, girlhood studies, disability studies, art history, and performance studies, among others. My scholarly research has led me to the costume designs of queer artist-provocateur Leigh Bowery, the groundbreaking Internet art of Martine Neddam, the stop-motion animations of Jan Svankmajer and the Quay Brothers, the interactive architecture of Kas Oosterhuis, the infamous parked domain girl, and the writings of computer science visionary J.C.R. Licklider. I recently completed a monograph, Girlhood and the Plastic Image (Dartmouth College Press, 2014), that contributes to the surge of academic interest in girlhood while "troubl[ing] hierarchies at the heart of new media studies and question[ing] some of girls studies’ central identity claims” (Catherine Driscoll, Associate Professor of gender and cultural studies, University of Sydney).
I am currently working on a project about the hubbub around vocal fry and other markers of girly speech and a short book on the impact of Tiqqun's Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young-Girl on art and social media. Additionally, I have a new area of inquiry that brings physical anthropology, my undergraduate minor, to bear on animation and dance.