In Other Los Angeleses: Multicentric Performance Art

In Other Los Angeleses: Multicentric Performance Art

In Other Los Angeleses: Multicentric Performance Art

In Other Los Angeleses: Multicentric Performance Art

Synopsis

"Will be a 'must read' for anyone studying performance art or the art and culture of Southern California. . . . Cheng is a brilliant and original thinker and. . . writes with a lively, engaged and engaging poetic style through which she attempts to enact the very passion and performativity that she explores in her objects of study."--Amelia Jones, author of "Body Art/Performing the Subject "

"Dazzling on many levels, a major contribution not only to performance art scholarship but more generally to contemporary American art, feminist, and cultural studies. . . . "In Other Los Angeleses "is going to transform performance studies because of the richness of Cheng's facts and scholarship and the equal richness of her theoretical frameworks and references."--Moira Roth, author of "Difference Indifference"

Excerpt

IN OTHER LOS ANGELESES EXPLORES A TRIAD OF INTERACTING PHENOMENA: performance art in L. A. perceived, dismembered, and redreamed by me. Performance art, with its multifarious formal and conceptual permutations, constitutes the flesh and bones of this book. L. A., the history and geography within which the book resides, extends like its skin, offering both sustenance and boundary. I am a conglomerate of sensory and cognitive organs, nerves and spleens, voices and attitudes, which change with the strategic requirement of the moment. I serve the book, as much as the book serves me. I live in the book, even as I enliven it. The constant negotiations and dialogues among this triad of live matter create the rhythms of metabolism and motility for the book.

This preface may be read as a biogram that dissects the triple centers of In Other Los Angeleses. It offers insights and access to the multiple perceptual/ conceptual centers into which the book inquires. I start with what seems the most elusive and basic element among the three: the “I” who writes. I then move on to a brief contemplation of multicentricity, the analytical lens through which I study performance art in L. A. Since the concept of multicentricity is largely inspired by the particular geocultural character of L. A., the second section amounts to an emblematic sketch of the book's title persona—the city caught in its pluralistic epiphany. The next section assesses performance art as an artistic practice that deliriously celebrates its own insufficiency. A live art bound by most biological rules that condition our lives, performance art both discloses and defies its impermanence by opening itself up to spectatorial and interpretive investments. My exposé unravels how, through the re-

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