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Accepted Paper:

Disrupting sensory commons in South Africa  
Jeannine-Madeleine Fischer (University of Konstanz)

Paper short abstract:

In my talk I explore how South African activists are demanding fundamental transformations through disrupting normative sensorial realities. By re-arranging common sensory perceptions of particular sociopolitical environments, social inequality and related hegemonic concepts are challenged.

Paper long abstract:

Being conceived of as the „protest capital of the world“ and looking back on a long and rich history of resistance, South Africa is also known to be one of the most unequal countries. Demanding fundamental transformations, some activists are employing strategies of aesthetic activism that disrupt normativity through re-arranging common sensory perceptions of particular sociopolitical environments. These resistances range from smooth and gentle to spectacular and troublesome alterations of sensorial realities. By corporeally engaging their target groups, activists aim to alter hegemonic conceptions and normalised embodiments of common sensations. Their creative interventions and somatic articulations make power configurations tangible and sensorial commons criticisable. Pointing to the fragilities and erosions of unequal lifeworlds, they give way to emergent future visions that are drawn into the present, sentiently palpable in the activist situation. Following Rancière‘s account of perception as being not a passive, but vitally active process of selection, I consider these practices of re-arranging potentialities and patterns of sensation as endued with subversive agency. Drawing on my (yet, due to covid, still digital) ethnographic material, I discuss subtle resistances that fight against discriminating sensory commons.

Panel P093a
Sensory Commons as Transformative Spaces I
  Session 1 Friday 29 July, 2022, -