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Reimaging Human Bodies and Death with Vibrant (Dark) Matters and Puppetry
Dance Chronicle  (IF),  Pub Date : 2021-07-08, DOI: 10.1080/01472526.2021.1927431
Mara Mandradjieff

Abstract

This article analyzes the effects of the collaboration between dance and puppetry within Crystal Pite’s Dark Matters (2009) and claims Pite’s work challenges nonhuman-human and object-subject binaries. Functioning within a new materialist philosophical framework, specifically in conversation with theorist Jane Bennett’s concept of vital materialism, this study argues that Dark Matters exposes the human body as an assemblage of vibrant multiple objects, and by positioning both the puppet and human corpse as agential matter, poses a radical rethinking of “liveliness” and “death.” Ultimately, this analysis reveals dance’s unique ability to evoke important posthuman reflection regarding physical matter, which always already includes the human body.