(Un)Bound: Towards a Contemporary Migratory Aesthetics of Performance in the United States by Womxn-Identifying Practitioners, 1970-2016


Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art


History of Art


“(Un)Bound” argues that performance artists Ana Mendieta, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, and Adrian Piper employed ritual performative strategies that disclosed their specific migratory journeys, thereby constructing liminal and resilient identities in the United States. Their techniques, which originated in the 1970s, persisted and transformed between the 1980s and 2010s in performances by artists and collectives such as Urban Bush Women, Spiderwoman Theater, Shirin Neshat, Coco Fusco, Tania Bruguera, and Tania El Khoury. Drawing upon diverse media and documentation such as performance art, theater, dance, video, and pedagogical forms in associative case studies of select works, this project analyzes the affective and geo-political dimensions of such rituals shaped by migration—movement, memory, heterochrony, and contact—and theorizes “performative migratory aesthetics,” which alternatively constitutes identity construction.