'Desperanto' and the Use of Kinesthetic Translation in Scholarly Performance
Adapting Brecht's notion of the learning play, this presentation takes critical and activist discourse and works it into a kinesthetic theatrical showcase that both entertains and instructs. We are interested in challenging the categorical distinctions that sometimes separate media production, scholarly performance, and social theory in the field of communication. Part poetry, part theoretical explication, part improvised jam session, this performance tutorial continues an experiment that began with recombining poetic texts into a more publicly accessible hip-hop influenced gestural dance.
In a two-part performance, we redesign traditional academic settings in the likeness of the Vaudeville stage. Continuing a long tradition that questions and challenges typical modes of critical scholarly presentation, we adapt new forms of communicative activity—such as the spontaneous gestures and narratives of the electronic dance hall—for the academic stage. Working from a stylized gesturo-haptic lexicon borrowed in part from hip-hop, we construct a mix of real-time broken word poetry and body-based critical explication. The mood of the presentation is both angry and hopeful, its context historical and political. We hope to entertain the audience with an interactive game of language and translation while using our performance as an opportunity to share our methodologies for possible further application.