Journal article Open Access

Analog Incarnations: Steampunk Performance across Time

Pho, Diana M.

Steampunk performance interrogates dominant narratives of history through theatrical, science fictional stories that focus on the various socio-political interplays between retro-futurist technology and society. For the marginalised, such performances can renegotiate paradigms of historical Western imperialism, Eurocentric colonialism, and whiteness by centring the experiences of the oppressed. This article examines the artistic risk and imaginative potential associated with steampunk performance by marginalised voices when confronting historical trauma. Included with this analysis is the one-person play Analog Incarnations. Originally written between 2011 and 2012 at New York University, this science-fiction pulp performance blends historical fact, alternate history, and speculative fiction to relate the origins of Ay-leen the Peacemaker, a mysterious assassin who shoots Indochinese Governor-General Paul Armand Rousseau on 10 December, 1896.

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