What if Imagination Were Real?
Risk and Potentiality in Copenhagen-based Performance Art Examples
Keywords:performance art, performativity, liminality, example, extreme, framing, matter, evocation
This article explores extremity in performance art from the perspective of an insider. The article contributes with ethnographic insights on liminality and lived experience in performance art, which is still an unexplored field of anthropological study. It investigates how the Copenhagen-based performance group called Sisters Hope intentionally evoke examples of (and for) a future Sensuous Society. It argues that framing is key to what Sisters Hope examples evoke and whether they ‘work’ as intended; as transformative counterparts to ‘the outside world’. While extremity may take on the appearance of shocking contrasts, it is also emphasized as a matter of blurry boundaries in the selected performance art examples. In this context, extremity is cast as radical risk and potentiality that shake or transform experienced reality. The paper argues that Sisters Hope participants navigate in what if modes where sensations in the present and hopes for the future overlap in utopian performatives here and now. Through engagement with performance art examples over time, pretend play can transform into experienced authenticity, and this may eventually reverse experiences of what is ordinary and extreme for the immersed participant. The paper ends with a contemplation on whether the transformative impact of performance art examples is limited by societal fear of the unknown.
Copyright (c) 2021 Maja Ejrnæs
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal, for non-commercial purpose, no derivatives are permitted. (Please not that this license has been used since 1.10.2018 and will be used in the future. Articles published between 1.1.2017-and 30.9.2018 are licensed under CC BY license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/) Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).