Differentiated bodies and their artivisms: cheering the differences and not just the disabilities in the contemporary scene

07 November, 2019

Call for Contributions:

An edited book of essays by Prof. Dr. Felipe Henrique Monteiro Oliveira (Centro Internacional de Pesquisas Artísticas e Acadêmicas sobre Antonin Artaud) and Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Silva Lopes (Universidade de São Paulo)


Differentiated bodies and their artivisms: cheering the differences and not just the disabilities in the contemporary scene

 Taking into account the creation of differentiated bodies, we emphasize that this, at first, arises to name people who have a disability. We emphasize that the term differentiated bodies celebrates diversity and does not embrace the medical and social models of disability: the first aims to discover the bodily causes of disability and attempts, through medical interventions, to normalize and make them socially acceptable; whereas the social model has as its principle, according to the cultural aspects of a given society, to associate the causes of disability with some kind of divine punishment or sin practiced by individuals, their families or social groups, thus accentuating the process of social exclusion and stigmatization of people with differentiated bodies.

The contemporary scene is not intended to impose value judgments on what types of bodies should or should not be on the scene, because performers themselves with differentiated bodies, in their artistic work, realize that, even though they are different, they can and should experience what is given as a possibility to anybody in contemporary performing arts: make art.

The performer uses his own body to tell in the first person not only about public issues, but especially exposes his privacy to the collective. The contemporary scene, because it is not a scenic welfare, protectionist and / or pseudo-inclusive language, ends up opposing conventional artistic practices, due to the recognition of the alterity and diversity of its artists. The contemporary scene ratifies the possibility of performers with differentiated bodies to, beyond the poetic and aesthetic production, to rise up against, denounce, subvert and transgress the stigmas experienced in contemporary times.

However, the process of liberation from the rules imposed on people with differentiated bodies is complex, since it is known that these subjects in their daily lives are almost always deprived of their liberty. Such deprivation can be the result of different biases, from the fear that this individual has to be considered inferior to society, to the prohibition that the person with a differentiated body suffers for not being able to achieve goals, because families are afraid of not being contemplated with the social benefits offered by the government.

The dynamics of limitation, and in some cases, even curtailing the freedom of people with differentiated bodies, are not restricted only in the relations between human beings in society. In the art context, unfortunately, even today it is possible to come across scenes in which artists with differentiated bodies are exploited to emphatically display only their shortcomings or limitations, thus achieving the false consideration that they are performing legitimate processes and therefore deserve to gain artist status.

Individuals with differentiated bodies cannot be regarded as artists simply because they display their shortcomings on the scene, on the pretext that they can be considered as examples of overcoming, or any other kind of stigmatizing actions, according to the discourses of their artistic partners from the public.

The exploitation suffered by artists with differentiated bodies is sometimes the result of a relationship of naive attraction and unrestricted submission to the individual that allows their participation in artistic experiences, even if they constitute actions that reproduce the process of exclusion in which they live and the establishment of recurrent stigmas of their deficiencies.

The process of the artist’s exclusion with a differentiated body is the result of the actions of individuals who consider themselves to be the owners of scenic knowledge, resulting in a hierarchically vertical configuration of the processes of creation, academic and artistic events, with no prospects of change regarding acceptance of the differentiated body. The artist with a differentiated body, used to following the impositions that confine him to scene passivity, does not aim to free himself from the stigmatizing situation, because what occurs is the preservation and not the processing of such art processes.

The performer with differentiated body must rise up against these dictates and claim his active place in the world, since the difference of his body allows himself and others the most varied transformations and reflections from the artistic and ordinary lived experiences that refuse to fit into the mainstream of exploitation, subordination and victimization of disability.

In this book, we wish to welcome essays by researchers from around the world who discuss and problematize issues concerning the differentiated bodies in contemporary scenic creative process.Please submit abstracts (300 words) and a short biography (50 words). Please submit abstracts by 30 April 2020 via email to the editors:




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