Performance Sociology

Performance Sociology is a novel practice that forges artistic, sociological and performance methods into a new discipline, bounded by experimental expression, and the visionary terrain of  a yet to be discovered anthropology.

Micro exchange: *

Laughter trick 1. La perruque: A wig that would hide again all that folly, another layer of clothing, another set of tricks to cloak the gnashing of teeth, the gawping gaping vibrations of the tongue and lip, the cloacae dripping with saliva and spume. Veiled with a little tuft of hair, some tassels of flesh or a covering of exquisite silky threads, the finest shimmering follicles of a rare coat of fur. With it, you might hide all the gaps, caps and cavities of gum and tooth, all the gurgling tussles of the inner mouth, pretend your babbling and trembling is a mild dose of wind, trapped air in the bowel, and not the heaving of the diaphragm as it palpitates and contracts with laughter’s soothing roar.

How laughter tricks and fools us. That mask of laughter that seems to portend, that forestalls tragedy or that fore/tells it all, the story, the subtle byways of personal history – covering up, just as the perruque – the threads of time rearranged into backcombed tresses, into hallucinatory curls, into riverlets of fragmented follicles repositioned in the memory as an erasure, some deliberate retelling or mishap, a lie that it is best to turn a blind eye to. Up blind alleys and up back passages the shit we no longer need or the shit that has just flashed in front of us, flushed out and erased by the wig. And remembering, this is not some masquerade but a hastily prepared antidote to life’s injustices, stupidities or failures, pasted together on the lip: a clownish moustache, some ringlets, a fringed toupee, someone else’s hair fit for purpose (not quite their flesh or their blood). And yet nobody is totally fooled, nobody tricked except in that moment, the delicious covering of laughter washing over us – excepting that the trickery is everywhere, total, saturated, so that we are no longer able to detect it. All the ridiculous half moves the human makes to feel extra special, the chosen animal, is simultaneously exposed and erased in the ridiculous perruque of laughter. That wig that was meant to hide only makes it worse: La perruque… the wig …the perruque … la wig…the workers’ own work disguised as work for his employer (de Certeau: 25)…la ha ha he.

Micro strategy:

Poetic strategies 2. Dandaesque: There is s certain lost, pathetic poetry in laughter residues. A flowering of a faded ‘English Dada’, one century too late, in an intense jumble of humour: trained in incompetence and ridiculous improvisations, a cottage industry of village idiots, fetes worse than death, shop worn, provisional DIY projects blended as protests that seem to ask for everything and nothing. This flowering, fragmented yet united, in a Dandaesque subversion of and resistance to, the accepted transactions and exchanges within ‘public discourse’; a flowing undercurrent of political protest in ideological experimentation, overlain with an exuberant excess of stupid foppishness.

Micro encounter:

Tactic 3. Sublime and violent: A sublime triviality, this small parcel of poetic exchange, the brutal truth of a laughter forged from experience and (non)thinking. It is the swiftly conceived act, the swipe of a worldly, ephemeral, yet shuddering truth. In that brutal exposure when our innermost secrets, our repressed feelings are confronted by an unjust vicious reality, from the outside/in, laughter erupts, hurling itself against crippling fear: as a real resistance to the biopolitics of fear stimulation. It resists the manipulation of the demos, the transforming of the people into the ochlos or faceless multitude, into that huddle of terrified sheep (Zijek 2009: 34-5). A silent crowd of grimacing, lip-synched gurning faces, indistinguishable in their masked dumbness; in an unerring examination of the buffoonery of self – a pleasurable violence, in a self-delusion that destroys as it makes – builds from self-realisation, new insights, new subject positions… new faces to face.


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