Friday 7 June 2019. 9-10am, Room 113.
Speakers: Stefan Honisch (University of Victoria) and James Deaville (Carleton University)
Moderator: Hedy Law (University of British Columbia)
This roundtable asks how musical and filmic representations of disabled bodies are implicated in discourses of ableism, eugenicism, and virtuoism, that destabilize the aesthetic separation of art from life, fiction from reality, and transcendence from the mundane. The first part of this roundtable unpacks ableist discourses that construct muteness as character silence in film, the underscore complicit in the eugenic imperative of cure or kill. The second part examines the intersection of vulnerability and virtuosity in the filmic representation of blind pianists in competitions, showing how diegetic sights and sounds interact in complex ways with the materialized senses that shape how these films are received. To ensure maximum accessibility, film excerpts in each of the session’s two parts will be captioned, and handouts will be provided in large print. Photographs will be accompanied by verbal descriptions provided by the roundtable participants.
Following the summaries of their projects, participants will engage in a free-flowing conversation moderated by the roundtable chair about theoretical, methodological, and pedagogical issues that cut across disciplinary lines in the performing arts. The goal of this conversation will be to open up space for thinking about radically unsound methods for tackling these issues not only in Disability Studies and Musicology, but also in Sound Studies and Performance Studies. To conclude, the roundtable participants will field questions and reflections from the audience, situated within this interdisciplinary space. The question and answer portion centres two main topics: how ableist ideologies are contested on and off stage; and how music, as a non-verbal form of communication, seemingly at a greater distance from the world than other art forms, throws up particular challenges for reframing disabled embodiments on stage and on screen.