A Performance of Time: The Intersecting Temporalities of Cinema and Dementia

Student thesis: Phd


Analysing films about dementia in the new millennium, the thesis argues that people living with dementia, and people not living with dementia, experience time differently. The thesis works through this proposal by putting forward the concept of temporal identification, suggesting that a subject, always in a state of change and becoming, is performing time and performed by time. Then, expanding on this notion, the thesis asserts that a subject’s temporal identification is situated in a wider entangled web of temporal identifications on and off screen, and that the lifestories of people living with dementia can be understood as that of continual creation rather than of foreclosure. In arguing that everyone and everything is experiencing time differently, the thesis puts forward a methodological approach that hesitantly explores, surfacing the temporalities indexed by the person living with dementia, and the person not living with dementia and other (non-)living phenomena, on a wider rhizomatic map. Finally, the thesis puts forward a case study of the treatment of dementia in Singapore and Singapore cinema so as to demonstrate the methodological potential of thinking about time through a philosophy of difference and the prism of performance. Ultimately, in exploring the temporal experiences of people living with dementia, the thesis paves the way for future research into the affective politics of ageing and biomedicine.
Date of Award1 Aug 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorDavid Butler (Supervisor) & Felicia Chan (Supervisor)


  • Performance
  • Cinema
  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Dementia
  • Time
  • Temporality

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