News/Research

HTNM Revisited: "Intermedia Dance"

25 Feb, 2015

HTNM Revisited: "Intermedia Dance"

Sex in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: Gerard & Kelly's Kisses

Megan Hoetger, a graduate student from TDPS, revisits Elizabeth Freeman's recent History and Theory of New Media Lecture.

Last Thursday, February 19th, Professor Elizabeth Freeman of UC Davis’s Department of English kicked off the spring semester of the History and Theory of New Media lecture series. Her talk, “Sex in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: Gerard & Kelly’s Kisses,” offered brilliant close reading analysis of contemporary performance duo Brennan Gerard and Ryan Kelly’s cross-medial translations of Tino Sehgal’s 2010 The Kiss. Working through the concept of chrononormativity first developed in her 2010 book Time Binds, Freeman presented a history of synchrony through the twentieth century, which has bound modernity and sexuality together in the pursuit of getting bodies “in sync,” from the assembly line to the bedroom. Her reading of the multiple iterations of Gerard & Kelly’s re-working of Sehgal’s work (including You Call this Progress? from 2010; Reusable Parts/Endless Love from 2011; and Kiss Solo from 2012) proposed how the timing of sexual normativity might be undone through the temporal gaps created in the processes of remediation. Over the course of her examination of Gerard & Kelly’s never quite in sync “gapped subjects,” Freeman raised broader concerns around the normalization and standardization of immediacy and proximity. In so doing, her talk spoke to new media interests across disciplines, from dance and performance studies, to critical and queer theory.

If you couldn’t make it out last Thursday, we’ve got two more lectures coming up soon: join us for the fourth talk of the series this Thursday, February 26th at 5:00pm in the BCNM Commons (340 Moffitt Library) when Professor Chris Goto-Jones from Leiden University’s Department of Comparative Philosophy & Political Thought will present “Gamic Orientalism;” or next Thursday, March 5th when Alan Liu of UC Santa Barbara’s Department of English will present the fifth talk in the series, “Against the Cultural Singularity,” at 5:00pm in the Geballe Room (220 Stephens Hall).