Clara Saito: Dissociative Performance: Anarchic Bodies and the Politics of Improvisation


Advisor/tutor: Hypatia Vourloumis

Arnhem, June 2019


This thesis departs from a personal account of a psychological diagnosis. It starts, from a queer perspective, by opening the discussion about the place of the personal in art history and the academy and the interference that art works linked to identity or feelings might bring to dominant art criticism discourses. The personal here is not the end point though; the aim of the thesis is to bring these stories of personal struggles into a possibility for movement. In dance improvisation, we learn to stay in the feeling and that every state brings us somewhere. How to trust, then, this multiplicity of feelings and beings in environments that seek order? And, simultaneously, in a capitalist system that asks us for flexibility, how can we still use multiplicity as a strategy for survival instead of a fate? Taking my practice as a starting point and appropriating the term dissociation from the medical term for a mental illness, this thesis seeks to re-claim this term as a practice that can be looked at and worked on in order to create possibilities for new worlds in art and in life, and the navigation between them.CS.