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A Theory of MiXtopia: Critical Performance Life/Art in Three MiXtopias

  • Author(s): Ikehara, Ariko Shari
  • Advisor(s): Perez, Laura E
  • et al.
Abstract

ABSTRACT: The heart of my project lies at the praxis of life/art. I call miXtopia the sites where performance art blurs the line between life/art, where life is self-consciously in performative mode. At the life/art crossroad (X), life turns from mundane to marvelous in critical and creative performances. The X in miXtopia opens up passages between narrative and body through which I enter and exit at the crossroad of extra-text and inter-text between the real and fiction.

MiXtopia is a concept I have coined based on the practice of “art as life itself” where the mundane crosses into the marvelous, and the “souls of folk” meet at these and other crossroads. MiXtopia is conceptualized by fusing theories of third, non-binary spaces and methodologies taken from performance art. Like Allan Kaprow (1960s) and Judith Butler (1990), I stretch the definition of performance art by thinking of life as performance. Moreover, I reconfigure the third as mixed or hybrid being, object, or space to embody and describe a performative mode that operates through what I identify and name as a mixed-multiplying principle. The principle operates in the transnational and translational borders of Okinawa as other sites that are within the contexts of colonial, imperial and racial legacies of the world order. In this study, decolonial Okinawan cultural practices are explored through the non-binary theoretical and methodological framework of miXtopia, which brings into view the colonial, imperial, and racial elements of the tripartite relationship between Okinawa, America, and Japan, and complex forms of resistance and cultural persistence with respect to these. My theoretical neologisms aim to render elements of Okinawan culture legible as decolonial projects. MiXtopia merges critical ethnic studies analysis and performance art praxis to illuminate life as the crossroads of critical and creative performance in Okinawa, against histories of cultural and political imperialisms.

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