The Body-as-Data: Reimagining a Reality for Migrating Bodies Beyond the Limits of Europe’s Digital Borders Through Performance

Sidonie Carey-Green

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

This thesis sits within a triangulation of the themes of bodies, borders, and data. It is written during, and born of, a time where bodies and digital technology have become closely intertwined. I draw from three distinct areas of discourse: considering the body-as-data phenomenon, technology and its effects on border control, and digital technology’s relationship to dance and performance, in order to explore the various relationships between these three themes. The key concept that informs this research, the body-as-data, originates from Aneta Stojnić’s writing on the burgeoning of cyborgs in the 21st Century (2017) and their relation to the human subject. Her research into the political implications of technologically centred bodies paves the way for my own interpretation of the body-as-data, which acts as a dominant critical theoretical framework across this research. The overall aim of this thesis is therefore to ask how dance and movement practice might create an intervention whereby bodies as moving data are removed from their problematic fixed identities to create new narratives. This question has been investigated using a practice as research model, in which I collaborated with artist and refugee Tom Tegento. This thesis therefore explores both the creation and an in-depth reflection of two works which resulted from this collaboration: Uninvited (2021) and Contagion (2021).
What follows in the written thesis is an analysis of these works through a specific lens which unpacks the digital and geographic recalibrations of the body in space which enable these works to become acts of choreographing evidence. The term ‘choreographing evidence’ advances the idea that performing bodies can produce evidence of perceived and alternative histories to consider how choreography which utilises new technologies can enable othered bodies to re-draw, re-claim and re- situate the self in culturally marked spaces through performative methods. Significantly, this concept emphasises an ability for bodies-as-data to shift across multiple sites and access multiple narratives. This thesis therefore offers an approach for performance which mobilises bodies-as-data in a way that reduces the violations enacted upon othered bodies by systems of control.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationPh.D.
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Purkayastha, Prarthana, Supervisor
  • Goriunova, Olga, Supervisor
Award date1 Sept 2023
Publication statusUnpublished - 2023

Keywords

  • Digital Art
  • Migration
  • Performance
  • Choreography
  • surveillance
  • surveillance technologies
  • europe
  • Border Control Systems
  • body as data

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