Performance, Paradigms of Visual Culture and The Matrices of Representation: Anna Deavere Smith’s on The Road
This paper attempts to put radically in to question the hegemonic choices of representation in western visual culture by examining Anna Deavere Smith’s performance series On the Road: A Search for American Character. What is brought to the sharp focus of this study is the logic of perpetuating the conventional categories of race, ethnicity, gender and age in performance – a logic that prevails in the mainstream media; more specifically in theatre – and the unmasking of these categories in representation.
Then with a shout we rushed upon him and locked our arms about him; but the ancient god had not forgotten his craft and cunning. He became in turn a bearded lion, a snake, a panther, a monstrous boar; then running water, then a towering and leafy tree, but we kept our hold, unflinching and undismayed, and in the end this master of dreaded secrets began to tire. So he broke into speech ... .
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