Staging Disorientation: Who’s Ordinary?

Sarah O'Brien

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    In her book 'Ordinary Affects' Kathleen Stewart’s attempts to isolate the forces that ‘bring into view’ overarching representational terms such as ‘neoliberalism, advanced capitalism, and globalization’ that she claims currently do not ‘begin to describe the situation we find ourselves in’ (1) Her use of the word ‘we’ reflects a ‘public feeling’ that she attempts to make ‘habitable and animate’ through her ‘ethnographic attention’ (4).

    Stewart’s attempt is admirable and articulates with fine detail ‘singularities’ that I seem experience vividly. But rather than 'slowing the journey' to representation and keying into this ‘public feeling’ I feel that she is presenting a filmic reality. ‘I’ step into this carefully crafted ordinary world of ‘she’ as I would any technically produced subject position; impersonal and public with a culturally determined accessibility.

    Stewart approaches and describes the form of an Ordinary Affect as a 'still life' and how this 'can be experienced […] as an empty pause […] or a profound disorientation.' (2) The ‘empty pause’ and ‘disorientation’ are seen here to mark a significant point in ordinary experience and I suggest that it is this form of experience, an experience where one can be seen to be in excess of seeing, almost a mindfulness, that can trouble the lens that usually presents dominant or disempowering views of the everyday.

    For the session I wish to produce a performance installation that makes room for a sense of the personal experience of ‘ordinary’; reflected through stillness and disorientation. An everyday personal act uprooted and placed within a context that takes a look at it ‘side on’, through delay, and as a ‘still’. This is not so much an uncovering of a truer less mediated space, but rather a disturbing of the habitual ways of seeing and provoking a continuous readdressing of who is the subject of who.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    Event5th International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Emotional Geographies - John McIntyre Conference Centre, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    Duration: 10 Jun 201512 Jun 2015


    Conference5th International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Emotional Geographies
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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