Interfaces is the title of a conference at which I will be giving a paper in January. Hosted by the School of English, University of Exeter, the event will examine ways of looking beyond the text in the investigation of objects and artefacts that constitute non-textual interfaces between film, literature and theatre.
My paper will be included in a panel on performativity and transitory forms created by performance. I intend to examine themes of inclusion and exclusion, visiblility and invisibility, in contemporary visual texts depicting male-to-female transvestism within the Francophone Afro-Caribbean diaspora with particular reference to Claire Denis’ film I Can’t Sleep (J’ai pas sommeil,1994) and to a lesser extent, Jennie Livingston’s documentary Paris is Burning (1991).
In my examination of these films I will discuss whether, as Peggy Phelan suggests, “the binary between the power of visibility and the impotency of invisibility is falsifying. There is real power in remaining unmarked.” (1993:6) Through an analysis of the ways in which the filmmaker frames spaces of inside and outside in these works, I will consider the bodies, costumes and guises that yield power and value for members of the Antillean diaspora living in metropolitan France.