The optimist

Alternatives in the here and now

in Queer exceptions
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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.

Queer exceptions

Solo performance in neoliberal times

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