Precarious Forms: Performing Utopia in the Neoliberal Americas explores how performance art and poetry convey utopian desires even in the bleakest of times. Candice Amich argues that utopian longing in the neoliberal Americas paradoxically arises from the material conditions of socioeconomic crisis. Working across national, linguistic, and generic boundaries, Amich identifies new political and affective modes of reception in her examination of resistant art forms. She locates texts in the activist struggles of the Global South, where neoliberal extraction and exploitation most palpably reanimate the colonial and imperial legacies of earlier stages of capitalism.
The poets and artists surveyed in Precarious Forms enact gestures of solidarity and mutual care at sites of neoliberal dispossession. In her analysis of poems, body art, and multimedia installations that illuminate the persistence of a radical utopian imaginary in the Americas, Amich engages critical debates in performance studies, Latin American cultural studies, literature, and art history.
“Precarious Forms is an arresting study of how performance and poetry have pierced the ‘neoliberal sensorium’ of U.S. hegemony in the Americas, from the 1973 imposition of neoliberal order in Chile, through the Central American wars and NAFTA, to the present. Through an immersive reading of critically important works, Amich powerfully weaves together two central strands of contemporary aesthetic and social thought: precarity as an embodied structure of feeling foundational to neoliberalism, and utopia, understood in its performative, political dimensions.” —Jill Lane, author of Blackface Cuba, 1840–1895
“With extraordinary insight and with exhaustive research, Candice Amich offers an original study of how various Latin American performance artists, poets, and activists, from the 1960s to today, rewrite, re-embody, and reposition themselves against neoliberal doctrine. This book invites the reader to consider the effects of the Washington Consensus through the exploration of precarious forms of conviviality. The author cleverly questions the utopia in performances while proposing possible answers in the creation and manifestation of communities through artistic practice.” —Paola Hernández, co-editor of Imagining Human Rights in Twenty-First-Century Theatre: Global Perspectives.