Sujata Iyengar deposited Intermediated Bodies and Bodies of Media: Screen Othellos in the group LLC Shakespeare on MLA Commons 1 year, 1 month ago
Screened performances screen out the qualities of ‘liveness’ – immediacy, unpredictability, ephemerality, spatial proximity, danger – to varying degrees according to their media, contexts, and audiences. As Philip Auslander has argued, ‘liveness’ itself is intermedial; in order to characterize a performance as ‘live,’ we contrast it to a ‘mediatized’ version of itself and to seek in it an imagined, lost ‘authenticity.’ Laurie Osborne suggests that ‘Shakespeare thrives now through the creative use of intermedial performance differences’ (in the case she discusses, through the interplay among multi-season television series, festival performance, and repertory theatre). This essay investigates race and intermediality in bodies of media: Othellos on film, television, web, and Shakestream, the hybrid format that broadcasts ‘live’ stage performances of plays in cinemas worldwide. I will aim to show that, while these performances assert their status as ‘new media,’ the way they represent other media reinforces what Schröter calls ‘ontological intermediality.’ Moreover, these bodies of media and mediatized human bodies threaten to screen out the lived experience of race for performers and audience.