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Sniffing Out a Past: Nando Messias and Stephen Farrier

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A curated panel exploring scent in queer solo performance & the first in a series of events exploring decadence in contemporary performance.

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Starting with a description of Nando’s performance preparation, which in part involves the selection of a perfume, this talk uses scent as a framework and touchstone to explore some trails through queer solo performance’s indulgence with decadence. The talk seeks to follow the whiff of decadence’s sillage to explore the wake and reach of queer performance practice and its tradition of decadence. Via some performative acts we make our way through our own association with scent to frame a connection with queer performance in terms of its historical relationship with decadence and to tussle with its (often literal) dry cleaning as it enters the archive. The talk, a mix of performance, paper presentation and playfulness, explores one potential way to sense the histories of decadence in queer performance.

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Nando Messias is a queer performance artist and researcher, whose work explores social violence and exclusion. Their last performance before lockdown, The Pink Supper, is a re-sponse to their experience of having been brought up in—and escaped—Brazil, a country which holds the world record for trans murders. As well as a practitioner, Nando is a movement director and a researcher of queer theory and performance. Publications include ‘Sissy that Walk: The Sissy’s Progress’ in Queer Dramaturgies (Palgave Macmillan) and 'Bibi is a Sissy: Drag, Death by Silence and the Journey to Self-Determination from Brazil to Britain’ in Drag Histories, Herstories & Hairstories (Bloomsbury).

Stephen Farrier is Reader in Theatre and Performance at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London. Broadly his work focuses on queer performance and its histories, and community performance practices related to gender and sexuality. Following his co-editorial work with Alyson Campbell on Queer Dramaturgies International Perspectives on where Performance Leads Queer (Palgrave 2015) he has with Mark Edward for Bloomsbury just completed co-editing a two volume project on drag performance, Contemporary Drag Performers and Practices, Drag in a Changing Scene Vol.1 (2020) and Drag Histories, Herstories and Hairstories, Drag in a Changing Scene Vol.2 (2021).

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This event is part of a series, 'Staging Decadence', co-hosted by The Decadence Research Centre and Staging Decadence.

Go to stagingdecadence.com for information about other forthcoming events.

Kindly sponsored by the Decadence Research Centre, with support from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

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