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Mas' is desire: The erotic, grotesque and visionary in Trinidad Carnival.

Author: Karmenlara SeidmanDeborah KapchanAndré LepeckiBarbara BrowningMilla RiggioAll authors
Publisher: 2008.
Dissertation: Ph. D. New York University 2008
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Document : Thesis/dissertation   Computer File : EnglishView all editions and formats
Publication:Dissertation Abstracts International, 69-05A.
Summary:
This project describes the author's research on Trinidad Carnival from 1999 through 2005. Through narrative prose and ethnographic approaches, encounters with Carnival performances and traditional characters are analyzed from several different historical and theoretical perspectives. Analyses of characters' range of grotesque performativity and participants' public display of desire combine with the author's
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Genre/Form: Academic theses
Dissertations, Academic
Material Type: Document, Thesis/dissertation, Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Computer File, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Karmenlara Seidman; Deborah Kapchan; André Lepecki; Barbara Browning; Milla Riggio; Awam Amkpa
ISBN: 9780549582618 0549582614
OCLC Number: 873975821
Notes: Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 69-05, Section: A, page: 1854.
Adviser: Deborah Kapchan.
Description: 1 online resource (339 pages)

Abstract:

This project describes the author's research on Trinidad Carnival from 1999 through 2005. Through narrative prose and ethnographic approaches, encounters with Carnival performances and traditional characters are analyzed from several different historical and theoretical perspectives. Analyses of characters' range of grotesque performativity and participants' public display of desire combine with the author's experience of making and playing Mas'. The author explores Carnival expression as transformative, confrontational and dream-like by describing the different effects and potentialities of particular performance and design practices. Performances are conceptualized according to ways in which they "represent", "relate" and "embody" shared desires and anxieties. A larger circle is drawn around the significance of this work as a form of intercultural and trans-historical transmission, learned by the author as a costumer and performer apprenticing under several artists in the region.

Theoretical explorations consider the aesthetic principles of the erotic and grotesque as carnivalesque, social technologies; as they materialize the fantastical experiences of both the body and historical memory colliding in an ever-changing present. The work is interested in the impact the erotic and grotesque in performance have on the spectator, as a disorienting force, as well as an inviting and challenging force. These aesthetic categories operate in Carnival as a mode of relation, one historically significant within the circum-Atlantic realm. This carnivalesque mode of relation, in Trinidadian Carnival examples, interconnects through speech acts, dances, songs and costumes. The carnivalesque in Trinidad defines the terms of the marketplace and how we express our desire to consume and be consumed in a contradictory post-colonial nightmare. The grotesques in Carnival perform hauntingly-manifesting ancestral "dreams" and spectral presences, some specifically ancestral in the realm of the Caribbean. The ability for the performer to be simultaneously a conscious version of their "Self" and a spectral "Other" in the public eye evokes performing more than one presence (and therefore, potentially, invoking spirit or ghostliness) makes it possible for us to consider Carnival as a visionary experience, a waking dream for those involved.

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