Activity: Talk or presentation types › Oral presentation
International Federation for Theatre Research 2019 conference “Theatre, Performance and Urbanism” (Shanghai): Inspired by Judith Butler’s concept of gender performativity, (only recently applied to age) I deliberately attempt to ‘trouble’ age through my physical presence in the city. In response to the understanding that normative constructions of old age have an impact upon my personal embodiment, I now attempt an everyday, resistant performance of open posture when in public, creating a high-status body language and sense of physical significance which I have to recreate consciously every day (and which I often fail to achieve). This practice and presentation will explore my embodied experiences of performing and ‘troubling’ age in the every day environment of the city. With reference to notions of decline, performativity and value, and by drawing on Leder’s understanding of ‘interoception’ (awareness of the interior of the body) I have undertaken a piece of autoethnographic practice-research that could be called ‘tactical walking’, which builds on the findings of my PhD thesis and which, in various ways (both performatively and discursively), documents and analyse the embodiment and performance of age. Focus will be on the ways in which performances comply with or are resistant to forces at work in the urban environment and will be specifically autoethnographic, drawing on Coffey’s understanding that we are both ‘in and of the research’. This praxis evolves as a strategic physical effort, which aims to combat the diminishment and disappearance that my body takes on due to the impression I receive that my presence should not unduly disrupt the visual field.