INFERNO: Catastrophically Queer

Bell, Marcus. 2021. INFERNO: Catastrophically Queer. Agôn. Revue des arts de la scène, 9, ISSN 1961-8581 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Queer lives are in constant conversation with failure. But what use is this to queer folk? This paper considers the queer performance rave INFERNO’s takeover of the Institute of Contemporary Art in London. In an examination of the rave’s serendipitous network of deep affective relations, gestures, and affordances I articulate how failure functions within such a space. Moving past binary orientations of failure against or as a preference to success I examine Nick Finegan’s ‘Theseus on the Heap’ (2019) – a hellish collage of ancient Greek myth and tragedy. I put forward the following thesis. By performing failure as a modality, the performers and rave participants explored a tension between the failure of and their re-emergance. By cleaving to these moments from the rave I hope this paper offers some lines of flight away from normate models of success-failure but also encourages a return to the ephemera of queer performance and live art in these times of pandemic and catastrophe.

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Identification Number (DOI):


Performance art, queer studies, practice as research, myth, apocalypse, Institute of Contemporary Art, commonality, community, failure, body archive

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Theatre and Performance (TAP)



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Date Deposited:

29 Aug 2023 09:01

Last Modified:

29 Aug 2023 09:01

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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