RMIT University
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Protagonist: A Choreography of Queer Digitality

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posted on 2024-05-14, 02:51 authored by Daniel Marks
Protagonist: A Choreography of Queer Digitality has sought to find a critical inter-relation between queer politics of withdrawal and illegibility, and hidden techno-ideological complexities of digital capture and algorithmic aesthetics. This project has been undertaken through a series of creative outputs which have investigated the bounds of performance art and choreography, and their intersections with screen-space, sculptural installation, and textual forms. Across live and non-live outcomes, the work has re-configured binary stratifications of score, performance, archive, and anatomy. With performance decentralised from the singular, temporally isolated body, agency slips into ambiguous states: disintegration of the body’s limits into networked formats implies an integration of bodily autonomy into cybernetic processes of representational feedback and adaptivity. The research follows in the footsteps of radical body art and underground queer performance, and weaves this history into that of cybernetics and the visual-choreographic logics of surveillance. In the zone between queer illegibility, the politics of representational legibility under digital capitalism and networked surveillance, and the complex unrepresentability of these systems beneath the surface-level of images or interfaces, the project proposes and examines an experimental concept of queer digitality. Through this research, I have developed the queer digitality concept within performative gestures of queer encryption and decryption: an eroticism of regress, limits, and ambiguous control. The Protagonist, a choreographic diagram which serves as an anchor for the practice and research, is introduced in this project as a model for critically engaging performance’s relations with systems of capture. As a methodological framework informed by intersecting discourses of historically transgressive performance art, performance documentation, and queer contaminations of bodily-representational integrity, the Protagonist locates means of critical intention at the blurry edges of action and artefact. Through the creative work and dissertation, the Protagonist serves as an inter-disciplinary choreography of queer digitality which re-configures complex problems of the body, image, and agency.


Degree Type

Doctorate by Research


© Daniel Marks 2023

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