Reading against futural accounts of utopia in the work of Jill Dolan and Jose
Esteban Muñoz, this chapter examines the significance of solo works which
emphasise the ‘here and now’ as a space of personal, social and political
intervention. By juxtaposing shows which tackle the uncertain task of
planning for a future with intimate, one-to-one performances, it suggests
how vulnerability may be deployed to address the exposure to harm faced by
marginalised and/or minority subjects while also inviting audiences to
recognise alternatives to the status quo. Understood as a focused
attentiveness to the present that is not straightforwardly affirmative – and
which may paradoxically involve feelings of doubt and vulnerability –
optimism in performance describes how opportunities for resistance and
change already exist. Such opportunities, though, are also riven with risk –
particularly for queer, trans and other non-conforming
subjects. Featured practitioners: Deborah Pearson, Ivana Müller, Duncan
Macmillan, FK Alexander, Rosana Cade, Nando Messias.
As moving pictures became a reality during 1895-6, Europe's crowned heads discovered the new medium and what it could do for their image. The earliest royal films made in Britain showed Victoria's extended family with a new informality, and were eagerly viewed by their subjects. However, it was the staging of Victoria's 1897 Diamond Jubilee as a vast procession through London, filmed by 18 companies whose products were distributed throughout Britain and the distant territories of the Empire, that showed how powerfully film could project the monarchy in a new way - immediate, accessible and impressive. Victoria's successors, her sons Edward and George, came to the throne having grasped the potential of film. Meanwhile, two of her relations Kaiser Wilhelm and Tsar Nicholas, were also the subjects of early filming Nicholas's coronation in 1896 was the first such event to be recorded on film, but a record of the disaster that followed, when thousands were killed in a crowd panic, was quickly suppressed. Nicholas would remain suspicious of film as a mass medium, while enjoying it as a private family record, until he gave permission for a film to celebrate the tercentenary of the Romanov dynasty in 1913 - the same year that a full-scale acted tribute to Victoria, Sixty Years a Queen, appeared.