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Volume 37, Number 1 (2016)

The Speed Of Queer: La La La Human Steps and Queer Perceptions of the Body

June 10, 2016


In this article, Stephen Low argues that Edouard Lock’s choreography for La La La Human Steps embodies temporalities that expose how the normative experience of time determines and limits our visual and theoretical perceptions of the gendered body. Focusing on movement executed at hyper-fast virtuosic speeds seen in La La La Human Steps’ recent work Untitled , Lock’s choreography demonstrates possibilities of corporeal transformations through the way the body is perceived in time through movement. The analysis of Lock’s choreography expands the theories of queer time elucidated by Judith Halberstam in her book In A Queer Time and Place beyond temporalities defined by non- normative life schedules to include non-normative temporalities determined by how subjects move in and through time. Furthermore, the examination of the effects of hyper-fast movement exposes how Judith Butler’s theory of gender performativity remains contingent on normative temporalities that allow the body to be seen as gendered in a stable and coherent manner. The aesthetic of speed embodied by Lock’s choreography is acknowledged to be both simultaneously destructive, in that it undoes the stability and coherency of gender as ascertainable by the act of seeing the body, and generative, in that it offers modes of challenging gender norms that do not require medical technologies. In other words, through an aesthetic that employs virtuosic speed, Lock offers a concept of queer temporality that allows a subject to embody the trans in “transgender.”