Playing Dead: Zombies Invade Performance Art … and Your Neighborhood

Sarah Juliet Lauro

in Better Off Dead

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780823234462
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823241255 | DOI:
Playing Dead: Zombies Invade Performance Art … and Your Neighborhood

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This chapter presents first-hand research of the zombie subculture that is usually termed the zombie walk or zombie mob phenomenon, including descriptions of experiences at these events, where people gather in public dressed as zombies—most often, for no apparent reason. In presenting research on the work of two artists/community organizers, Jillian Mcdonald and Thea Munster, the chapter argues that their zombie events blur the line between social protest and performance art, and the chapter demonstrates this by contexualizing the place of these events within a larger framework of art-activist performance that encourages collective participation. Considering this as a new kind of zombie narrative, this chapter questions whether these zombie events operate in a manner that is extra-textual. How do they enable (or at least play with) the principle of the de-subjectifying collective? Are they an imitation of or a surrogate for social rebellion?

Keywords: zombie mob; zombie walk; performance art; protest; Art Activism; Jillian Mcdonald; Thea Munster

Chapter.  10246 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literature

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