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date: 11 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter argues that live performance art has not merely explored or represented the themes and theories of literary science fiction, but has “actualized” them. From Orlan’s horrific operating-theater performances to Stelarc’s real-life cyborg experiments, and from Eduardo Kac’s mutant genetic art creations to graphic depictions of robot sex, performance artists have now rendered SF concrete, live, and actual. The chapter further demonstrates how such works accord with classic SF definitions and theories (from Suvin and Jameson to Baudrillard and Deleuze) as well as with a core theory underpinning live performance art: Richard Schechner’s notion of “actuals.” Science fiction in performance art is simultaneously a political gesture, a technical feat and an “estranged,” embodied art process that both looks forward to “becoming the future” and actualizes a version of it in real time and space, live in front of us.

Keywords: science fiction, performance art, actuals, cyborg, genetic art, robot sex, Orlan, Stelarc, Eduardo Kac

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