Disrupting the 'Silent Complicity' of Parliamentary Architecture

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This essay discusses the impromptu choral performance of Lament by A Chorus of Women in the foyer of Australia's New Parliament House in March 2003. In it I argue for the importance of engaging with parliaments and other significant public buildings not simply as stages for political performance, but rather as political scenography, as part and parcel of the active staging of politics. Responding to Nirmal Puwar's call to attend to the multi-sensory and haptic qualities of parliamentary architecture I note how Lament effected an acoustic occupation of the parliament's foyer, briefly reconfiguring the normal coordinates of sensory experience and offering a reimagining of what might constitute political speech and vocality. While parliamentary buildings largely facilitate the reproduction of established modes of political performance, this discussion of Lament suggests the ways in which they remain vulnerable to being performed differently.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-26
Number of pages8
JournalPerformance Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jun 2013


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