Pictured: Naomi Bennett, Venice Beach, Los Angeles
Photo Credit: Robyn Gesek © all rights reserved
Naomi Bennett is a performance artist, scholar, and educator. She currently teaches at Louisiana State University, where she is an Instructor in the Department of Communication Studies as well as Affiliate Faculty for the Women's, Gender, and Sexualities Studies Program.
Bennett has a PhD in Communication Studies and Performance Studies with a minor in Women and Gender Studies from Louisiana State University, an MFA in Television, Film, and Theatre Production from California State University, Los Angeles, and a BA in Theater from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is also a graduate of the Professional Track Circus program at the New England Center for Circus Arts, and has studied clowning, mime, and mask all over the world. She is a former cast member of Boston’s gender-bending drag show TraniWreck, and a co-founder and former member of The Grindhouse Marionettes, who opened for such acts as Nine Inch Nails, The Tiger Lilies, and the Dresden Dolls.
Her current research and artistic practice is in the creation of interactive performance works that physically engage embodied experience via computer-mediated technology. Through this entanglement of physical and virtual, Bennett’s work seeks to activate senses of touch, sight, and proprioception through traditionally disembodied mediums.
In response to the global stay-at-home orders in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bennett shifted the focus of both her scholarly and artistic research to exploring the possibilities and limitations of physical connection and intimacy through computer-mediated screens, specifically in the Zoom Space. Her remote production, dist[Sense], took advantage of the Zoom screen to create intimate one-on-one connections between audience and performer, exploring moments of connection, isolation, and the ways in which we can come together to sense across time and space.
Bennett is also a lover of all things zombie-related. An avid movie-goer, she somehow did not discover zombies (or horror at all) until midway through her graduate studies when she bing-watched four seasons of The Walking Dead. Bennett's current focus is on the sexualization of the zombie as a manifestation of social fears and anxieties related to the sexually liberated woman, gay male sexuality, the threat of HIV/AIDs, and the zombie as an unlikely focus of budding teen sexuality in the show Bob’s Burgers.