Volume 6: Anxieties of Overexposure: Enlargements, Contagions, & the Dark

Released: Oct. 2010
Issue Number: 6

Extensions is proud to publish content from UCLA’s 2010 national graduate student conference in performance studies, “Anxieties of Overexposure:  Enlargements, Contagions, & the Dark.” Set in the quintessentially spotlighted culture of Los Angeles, papers and performances from this conference explored how performance processes of exaggeration, display and mystification interact with meaning-making and critique. As brightness obscures detail in overexposed images, panels and performances addressed the political and cultural consequences of this “blowing out,” paying particular attention to their underlying anxieties. Discourses of marginalization address this simultaneous hypervisibility and indistinction, and performance studies is rooted in deconstructing and negotiating these racialized, disabled, queer, indigenous, gendered, classed and transnational terrains. The conference also addressed that which is “drowned out” due to selective amplification, thereby facing underexposure, containment and even erasure. Productive questions posed during the conference included how performance studies both invests in and critiques national (de)formation, sensationalism, corporeal manipulation, canonicity and their attendant abjections--how does performance as an artistic form, a quotidian method and an academic field reproduce these overexposures while also intervening in them? What are the political possibilities, as well as the limits, of overemphasis?

The current issue features work by the conference’s Spotlight Scholars: Aliza Shvarts on the fetish of the rape kit; Ryan Hartigan on rugby, the Haka and performing disunity; and an interview with Khai Thu Nguyen regarding her work on the history, performance and politics of cải lương. It also presents papers from conference participants Jessica Jacobson-Konefall, on popular dance in fin-de-siècle Paris; and Lorenzo Perillo, on the robot and anxieties of racial futures.

The board of Extensions would like to thank all participants in the Anxieties of Overexposure conference and the UCLA Center for Performance Studies for providing the opportunity for a rich and engrossing conversation. Our thanks, too, to our contributors; we enthusiastically share their work with you.

The Editorial Board of Extensions

About the Contributors