THE METAMODERNIST BODY: RECONSIDERING TIME, SPACE, & FREE WILL THROUGH 21ST CENTURY FASHION-DANCE PERFORMANCE.

submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Arts in Fashion Studies.
Parsons Paris, The New School 2019.
Primary Supervisor: Dr. Paul Jobling
Secondary Reader: Dr. Marco Pecorari
ABSTRACT

 

This thesis explores metamodernism through the (renewed) intersection between fashion and dance in the 21st century to speculate on the larger question – what is the experience of the body in the metamodern space and time? It uses ‘fashion-dance performance’ as a springboard for its theoretical ambition of testing the current definition of metamodernism.

Metamodernism is a “structure of feeling” that responds to the limitations of postmodernism as a lens to understand art and society, and the state of present-day advanced global capitalism in its failure of the neoliberal doctrine. In this thesis I look closely at its characteristics of the experience of oscillation, a network logic, a new mode of addressing (the impossibility of) authenticity, and a turn to affects for experiences of ‘truth’. To do this, I study the intersection of two embodied practices, fashion and dance, treating phenomena and theory equally to foreground praxis. I demonstrate how this dialogue allows new understandings to emerge on both ends of phenomena and theory. Through the unique profile of 21st century fashion-dance performance, I identify a grammar around the metamodernist body.

How does the intersection between fashion and dance reveal spatio-temporal politics of the body through the 20th century? How does this foreground how we ‘read’ the metamodernist body in 21st century fashion-dance performance? What criteria emerge of metamodernist art and subjectivity? These are some foundational questions I explore in this thesis. Its interdisciplinary approach brings fashion studies into conversation with dance studies and philosophy, while keeping the body at its heart.

Key words: Metamodernism, neoliberalism, fashion-dance performance, politics of the body, Bergson, the affective turn, nomadic theory, psychopolitics

PRIMARY CASE STUDIES

  • Fashion Freak Show​. Directed by Jean Paul Gaultier. Choreographed by Marion Motin. Folies Bergère, Paris, 2018.

  • Gravity Fatigue.​ Directed by Hussein Chalayan. Choreographed by Damien Jalet. Sadler's Wells Theatre, London, 2015.

  • “Immagine 79.” Directed by Ruth Hogben and Gareth Pugh. SHOWStudio. 2011. 

  • “MOVEment: Gareth Pugh X Wayne McGregor.” Directed by Gareth Pugh and Ruth Hogben. Choreographed by Wayne McGregor. ​AnOther​. March 20, 2015.

Exhibition of graduate theses at Mona Bismarck American Centre, Paris, France. 17-19 May 2019.