rethinking why performance matters through the matter of performance
3. Potentials of Performance

30 July 2012

“But you’ve got so much potential!”

  

   The members of the research group have had their first discussion meeting. Together we watched some examples of art/performance/activism that might provide a model for the ways in which we could use performance, video or images to explore the themes of the project. These examples included Charlotte Cooper’s short film Lovely and Slim and documentation of The University for Strategic Optimism’s second public lecture on austerity, staged in Tesco supermarket on the Old Kent Road. We also discussed histories of feminist performance art and how contemporary artists such as Oriana Fox and The Muffia have drawn on iconic images such as The Cunt Cheerleaders, the work of Bobby Baker and The Guerilla Girls to stage interventions in popular culture debates around embodiment, gender, and culture.

   The use of pop cultural forms and vocabularies to address political and academic topics was proposed as a useful method for exploring these issues in an inclusive and accessible way that is also entertaining. Non-hierarchical forms of knowledge sharing were a key concern, and storytelling formats were discussed as an interesting way of exploring this.

   We discussed ideas around Fat Futurity, the “Obesity Epidemic”, and the outlandish moral anxieties surrounding the supposedly increasing fatness of the world’s population, and that we might like to stage some of these potential “futures” futures, both utopian and dystopian, through the project.

Some initial ideals of what “The Fat Future” might look like include:

¥    The earth’s total mass is significantly increased by people’s increasing fatness, and as a result the earth is knocked out of its orbit to go careering through space.

¥    People’s increasing fatness and excessive consumption results in the earth’s resources running out.

¥    The excess greenhouse gases produced by fatties increase the rate of global warming. The ice-caps melt, most of the world becomes flooded, and the thin people drown while the fatties float around in the expansive sea.

¥    Eventually everyone becomes fat, and although there isn’t as much room because everyone takes up a bit more space, the earth isn’t destroyed and people get on with life just like before.

¥    The ‘fat gene’ is discovered and fat people are bred out of existence. Everyone is thin, but this inexplicably does not solve all of the worlds problems.

¥    The ‘fat gene’ is discovered and as a result social stigma about fatness disappears. Being fat is no longer considered the primary or singular indicator of health, personality, or lifestyle. Fat jokes cease to be funny.

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