Placeholder (2021)

Placeholder is a graduate thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Colorado Boulder in partial fulfillment of the requirements for an MFA in Dance. This work was advised by Helanius J. Wilkins (MFA, George Washington University), with Marcos Davi Silva Steuernagel and Katja Kolcio serving as fellow committee members.

If you would like an ARC of my MFA thesis manuscript, please feel free to email rhmanayan[at]gmail[dot]com. To view the performance works created in conjunction with this thesis, please visit the following links:

Semester One, "The Girl Box"
Semester Two, “Bull in a China Closet


ABSTRACT : Placeholder is a subjective examination of the author’s lived conditions under neoliberalism, late-capitalism, and heteropatriarchy. Offering forth reflections, dance/performance, engagements with social theory, diagrams, poetry, photos, and illustrations, this work considers the potentialities for generating deep, queer multiplicity in destabilizing Europeanist forms of knowing the Other. Placeholder begins with the identification of nomenclature as central towards the ongoing project of settler/extractive-colonialism, with further explication of the ways in which capitalism forges (in)direct meaning in our lived experiences. Vacillating between social commentary and the deeply personal, the author works to demonstrate the interconnectedness between their lived experiences and the milieux they navigate as a queer/trans/person-of-color artist. The work concludes with a series of fragments that reveal, just as much as they conceal, information about the artist’s interfacings with identity. Placeholder leaves room for the reader to consider their situatedness within our current social order, while proposing newer means of practicing ant(i/e)-normativity and self-determination.