Aesthetics at the impasse: the unresolved property of Dale Farm

Article


McCarthy, L. 2015. Aesthetics at the impasse: the unresolved property of Dale Farm. Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance. 20 (1), pp. 74-86.
AuthorsMcCarthy, L.
Abstract

‘Soil Depositions’ was an art activist project that responded to the 2011 Irish Traveller eviction at Dale Farm in Essex when three resident women donated small amounts of soil from the site of their former home. The soil was subsequently deposited, framed and documented in various national and international locations. This article discusses how the soil was dispersed and where this holds significance for the practice of nomadism in the UK, which through a series of legislation has been increasingly prohibited. The analysis attempts to bring clarity to the planning system discrepancies encountered by Dale Farm residents, and in doing so, generalises the common contemporary situation experienced by Travellers in the UK. These experiences are correlated to Lauren Berlant's idea of the ‘impasse’, which works as an affective descriptor of the post-eviction situation. The project aesthetically mediates the ‘impasse’ by reconfiguring the soil in primarily mundane and inconspicuous circumstances, and by symbolising the unresolved nature of Traveller claims to property. The aesthetic possibilities for reworking this razed soil were equally unresolved: it is cast within the project in both cultural and economic terms as material with little capacity for exchange. I draw on Appadurai's concept of the ‘methodological fetish’ to suggest that the soil's economic and cultural efficacy is dependent on a desire to give value to Traveller property.

JournalResearch in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance
Journal citation20 (1), pp. 74-86
ISSN1356-9783
Year2015
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Accepted author manuscript
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1080/13569783.2014.983061
Web address (URL)https://doi.org/10.1080/13569783.2014.983061
Publication dates
Online27 Feb 2015
Publication process dates
Deposited15 Mar 2019
Accepted07 Oct 2014
Accepted07 Oct 2014
Copyright information© 2015 Taylor & Francis. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance on 27/02/2015, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13569783.2014.983061.
LicenseAll rights reserved
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Nomadic Contagions and the Performance of Infrastructure in Dale Farm's Post-eviction Scene
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McCarthy, L. 2018. Focus E15: Performing Nuisance as a Feminist Narrative of Property. Studies in Theatre and Performance.