The Corbicula Cycle : postmodernism and identity in on the edge, throught the night, and in the shade
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Leddy, D. (2007) The Corbicula Cycle : postmodernism and identity in on the edge, throught the night, and in the shade, no. 147.
This practice-based research is based around the creation of a triptych of performances entitled The Corbicula Cycle. The three performance pieces are: On The Edge, Through The Night and In The Shade. The aim of the practice is to take the supposedly 'low' artistic forms of the murder-mystery, Cinderella narrative, blackface minstrelsy and drag cabaret and interpenetrate them with theoretical content from postmodernism and identity politics whilst combining formal elements of dramatic writing and performance art practice. The emphasis of both the research and the research outcomes is a practical one. The DVDs and playscripts represent the core of the submission, with this thesis serving to support and contextualise the practice. Thus the contribution of this work is demonstrated not through new theoretical findings but through new artistic findings in the three performances. In terms of postmodernism, the research focuses on intertextuality; deconstruction; simulacra and simulation; split and shifting subjectivity; parody, pastiche, irony and the mixing of the genres. In relation to identity politics, the piece takes a postmodern view, covering cultural theories relating to gender, sexuality, class and race. The overarching objective in combining these different knowledge paradigms is to create a series of open, polysemantic texts which can be read in different ways by different viewers. Thus, it is hoped that the pieces can be shown successfully outside of an academic context and be open to readers other than an 'expert-spectator' audience of academics and artists. None of these artistic or theoretical constructions is innovative in itself. However, this research represents a modest contribution to knowledge through the subtly new ways it combines the paradigms of cultural theory, dramatic new writing and performance art with the generic artistic models of the murder-mystery, the Cinderella narrative, drag cabaret and blackface minstrelsy. It also provides substantial new insights through critical reflection upon process and products, exploring the play between artistic aims, principles of composition and audience response.