Zombies at PCA

Zombie walks

The first presenter is doing her dissertation on zombies!!! Oh my goodness.  She talked about zombie walks, how they have come to be in the last seven years.  How zombie creation came about as a response to the fear of Haiti as a free black nation.  That’s an interesting theory.

Talked about zombie walks, where people dress up as zombies and show up to walk around limping saying, “Brains,” as a political action.

The zombie walks highlight people as both spectators and as performance.

She had some good theoretical underpinnings.

Dressing as a zombie, she said, is a safe way to confront death.  These are mundane representations of death where death is seen as a valuable other.  This is an other that erases class distinctions.

A zombie walk is the “most well-behaved mob” ever seen.


Toronto Zombie Walk

The second presenter read zombie poetry.  (I didn’t know there was such a thing, though I should have expected it.)

Apparently zombies are very Cartesian, since the poem referenced the theory as did the last presenter.

The first zombie walk was in Toronto in 2003 with 300 people. In 2008 they had 3,000 people.  They stay on the sidewalk.  “police as channeling the dead”  (reminded me of “a deaf policeman heard the noise and came and killed those two dead boys”

It’s all about zombies and their voyeurs.

Denotation rather than connotation.  That was a throwaway line I would have wanted more discussion on.

Zombie walks are a symbolic process for finding meaning.

Zombie walks are grotesque, as Bakhtin defined: exaggeration, hyperbolism, and excessiveness equal the fundamental attributes of the grotesque.

Open gaping wounds are apparently symbols of vagina envy.  Show the vagaina as consumer and mostly men had the open wound/vagina art.

There is gender politics in zombie costuming.

Women were into gore and nakedness, exposed bodies, as vehicles of desire.  (‘Cause you know we all want dead bodies?)

Men were cross-dressers with womb envy (where they meet becomes the womb in the mother/city) and vagina-envy (see open wounds above).

Levi Strauss said that:

  • Masculine blood is controlled violence.
  • Feminine blood is menstrual, uncontrolled violence.

Death as an experience or death as a symbol for male and female difference.

Men become active agents in the birth of themselves.

At the end he was degenerating into the kind of hypergender rhetoric which endows meaning to everything, even meaning explicitly unmeant. … But he had some interesting pictures.  Including one woman with shot wounds that would havematched his open wounds, but they were perfectly formed round holes.  What does that say about her own vagina-envy?  That she is troubled by the lack of symmetry and beauty in her vagina?  That she wants two because one is not enough?

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