image credit: "Mouchette in Tbilissi" by Martine Neddam
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 theatre, music, the visual arts, film, 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/ displeasure are mobilized by Power in the service of what Michel Foucault calls "dividing practices."
My scholarship pays particular attention to media-based fine art and popular 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 explore 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 engage with the disciplines of digital culture studies, media studies, animation studies, girlhood studies, art history, and performance studies, among others. My scholarly research has led me to the costume designs of artist-provocateur Leigh Bowery, the groundbreaking Internet art of Martine Neddam, the stop-motion animations of Jan Svankmajer and the Quay Brothers, Kas Oosterhuis's e-motive architecture, and the writings of computer science visionary J.C.R. Licklider. I am currently developing a project about the hubbub around vocal fry and other markers of girly speech and writing 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 am working on bringing physical anthropology, my undergraduate minor--specifically, research on human origins and hominin evolution--into discussions of animation and dance.
While most of my publications are traditional in format, I also publish performance texts and event scores as extensions of my scholarly research.