Selected pages from "The Protest and The Recuperation"

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Within a broad category of aesthetics and performance, the regenerative qualities of play as acts of creative resistance and recovery of rights are central tomany of the recent mass protests. “Any kind of street-level protest, froman anti-Trident demonstration to the pro-democracy umbrella protests in Hong Kong, is effectively a formof theatre.” 2 Performative aesthetics is a formof protest that prioritizes theatricality and spectacle and delivers protest as a creative act. It takes back aliveness from the necropolitics 3 of the authoritative state by calling attention to the body resisting control. The theorist Judith Butler posits, “For politics to take place, the bodymust appear. I appear to others, and they appear to me, whichmeans that some space between us allows each to appear. We are not simply visual phenomena for each other—our voices must be registered, and sowemust be heard; rather, whowe are, bodily, is already a way of being ‘for’ the other, appearing inways that we cannot see, being a body for another in a way that I cannot be for myself, and so dispossessed, perspectivally, by our very sociality.” 4 It is with this combination of the body and the voice that the takeover of space bymany becomes a public performing creative tactics of resistance and creating new routines that emerge as a

3. See Achille Mbembe and LibbyMeintjes, “Necropolitics,” Public Culture 15, no. 1 (2003); muse.jhu. edu/article/39984. 4. Judith Butler, “Bodies in Alliance and the Politics of the Street,” lecture, September 7, 2011; https://transversal. at/transversal/1011/butler/en.

2. “Staging a Revolution: Can Theatre Be an Effective Form of Activism?” Guardian , March 23, 2016; https:// theatre-effective-protest-activism-change-debate.


Betti -Sue Hertz

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