One Part Water, Two Parts Starch: Performing oobleck as political resistance

Authors

  • Josh Widera California Institute of the Arts

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.21476/PP.2019.51265

Keywords:

non-human studies, performativity, activism, anarchism, reisistance, oobleck, literature, inopertativity, vulnerability, occupy, plant philosophy, gilets jaunes, plasticity

Abstract

Oobleck is two things: a non-Newtonian fluid, a mixture of cornstarch and water showing properties of both a liquid and a solid; and an invention by Dr. Seuss, an odd green weather occurrence who’s fluid, adhesive, and elastic attributes manage to threaten the entire state apparatus of the “Kingdom of Didd.” Re-viewing the children’s book Bartholomew and the Oobleck, and in light of its starch-and-water namesake, I argue that we can learn an insurrective strategy of political resistance from its performativity.

Author Biography

Josh Widera, California Institute of the Arts

Josh Widera is one of six members of The Doing Group, an international collaborative performance group concerned with the process of ‘doing’. Projects of the Glaswegian experimentalists have taken multiple forms and seek to explore the limits and depths of artistic research. Josh graduated from the University of Glasgow with an MA with Honours of the First Class in Politics and Theatre Studies and from the California Institute of the Arts, Los Angeles with an MA in Aesthetics & Politics. He is a Fulbright Scholar and supported by the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes and the Lillian Disney Scholarship.

References

Agamben, Giorgio. 2014. “What Is Destituent Power?” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 32 (1): 65–74. https://doi.org/10.1068/d3201tra

Butler, Judith. 2015. Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. https://doi.org/10.4159/9780674495548

Butler, Judith. 2015. Senses of the Subject. New York: Fordham University Press.

“Cathedral Glass Myth Shattered.” 1998. Science, May 12. https://www.sciencemag.org/news/1998/05/cathedral-glass-myth-shattered

Curtin, Ciara. 2007. “Fact or Fiction? Glass Is a (Supercooled) Liquid.” Scientific American, February 22. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fact-fiction-glass-liquid/

Deleuze, Gilles. 1992. “Postscript to Societies of Control.” Translated by Martin Joughin. October 59: 3–7.

Dr. Seuss. 1949. Bartholomew and the Oobleck. New York: Random House.

Goulish, Matthew. 2000. 39 Microlectures in the Proximity of Performance. New York and London: Routledge.

Goulish, Matthew. 2015. “Palinode of Glass.” Performance Research 20 (5): 132–33.

https://doi.org/10.1080/13528165.2015.1095987

Haraway, Donna. 2016. Staying With the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. https://doi.org/10.1215/9780822373780

Institute for Precarious Consciousness. 2014. We Are All Very Anxious. Self-Published.

Lorey, Isabell. 2015. State of Insecurity. London: Verso.

Malabou, Catherine. 2016. “One Life Only: Biological Resistance, Political Resistance.” Critical Inquiry 42: 429–38. https://doi.org/10.1086/685601

Malabou, Catherine. 2008. What Should We Do With Our Brain? New York: Fordham University Press.

Marder, Michael. 2012. “Resist Like a Plant! On the Vegetal Life of Political Movements.” Peace Studies Journal 5 (1): 24–32.

Mouffe, Chantal. 2016. “In defence of left-wing populism.” The Conversation, April 29. http://theconversation.com/in-defence-of-left-wing-populism-55869

Nixon, Rob. 2013. Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Vahanian, Noëlle. 2008. “A Conversation with Catherine Malabou.” Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory 9 (1): 1–13.

Weizman, Eyal. 2017. Hollow Land: Israel’s Architecture of Occupation. London: Verso.

Downloads

Published

30-11-2019

How to Cite

Widera, J. (2019). One Part Water, Two Parts Starch: Performing oobleck as political resistance. Performance Philosophy, 5(1), 158-171. https://doi.org/10.21476/PP.2019.51265