Wrestling as a Queer Performative Spectacle: Contextualising Heterotopia, Hyperreality, and Other Liminal Spaces Within South Asian Diasporic Filmic Representations (79320)

Session Information: Special Topics and Concerns in the Community
Session Chair: Sheetal Kumari

Monday, 27 May 2024 09:40
Session: Session 1
Room: Room C (Live-Stream)
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 9 (Asia/Tokyo)

Through an analysis of Jennifer Reeder’s Signature Move (2017), this paper examines select South Asian filmic representations of wrestling as a staged spectacle, a performance, a metaphor of ‘liminal’ space, a deconstructive site, and an alternate ‘other’ space (heterotopia). The paper understands wrestling as an in-ring queer performance of spectacle, a subversive narrative, and a counter-cinema in contention with the normative meta-cinematic representations/narratives. The hyperreal digital heterotopias contextualise the South Asian queer filmic representations, which devise new norms and transgressive politics through digital activism, theatricality, and performative spectacle. The paper problematises essentialist, homogenized and socio-constructionist understandings of the global South Asian queer community spaces. Through referring to postmodern concepts, such as Judith Butler’s ‘gender performativity’, Michel Foucault’s ‘heterotopia’, Jean Baudrillard’s ‘hyperreality’, and Guy Debord’s ‘spectacle’, the study explores non-conforming queer wrestling performances and their filmic representations, which defy totality of meta-cinematic narratives in reclaiming and recreating the rhizomatic hybrid identity, and makes space for a ‘polysemic’ postmodern queer self. The queer (heterotopia) subjectivities mentioned in Signature Move are decentred and ‘deterritorialized’ (South Asian diasporic) identities (Zaynab, and her mother, Parveen), who embrace their sense of ‘in-betweenness’ and revel in (un)belongingness, alterity, and defiance. The paper foregrounds the non-conforming, non-binary in-ring (wrestling) heterotopias that perform a ‘play of differences’ through their counter gaze, cinema, and narratives; and deliberately rupture the socio-constructionist notions of authority.  These performative spectacles and hyperreal (representations) that are in a constant state of flux, amplify a leap into the future possibilities of transgression, ‘genderblur’, and alternative ‘coalitions’.

Saher Bano, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, India

About the Presenter(s)
Ms Saher Bano is a University Doctoral Student at Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee in India

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00