1st Edition

Provocation in Popular Culture

By Bim Mason Copyright 2016
    246 Pages
    by Routledge

    246 Pages
    by Routledge

    What role can provocation play in the process of renewal, both of individuals and of societies? Provocation in Popular Culture is an investigation into the practice of specific provocateurs and the wider nature of cultural provocation, examining, among others:

    • Banksy
    • Sacha Baron Cohen
    • Leo Bassi
    • Pussy Riot
    • Philippe Petit
    • Archaos.

    Drawing on Bim Mason’s own twenty-five year career as performer, teacher and creative director, this book explores the power negotiations involved in the relationship between provocateur and provoked, and the implications of maintaining a position on the ‘edge’.

    Using neuroscience as a bridge, it proposes a similarity between complexity theory and cultural theories of play and risk. Three inter-related analogies for the ‘edge’ on which these performers operate – the fulcrum, the blade and the border – reveal the shifts between structure and fluidity, and the ways in which these can combine in a single moment.

    Part 1. Introduction  1. Solo Street Shows  2. Phillippe Petit  3. The Winner Effect  4. Theories, Terms and Questions  5. The Artists  6. Structure of Book  Part 2. Stasis and Chaos  7. Structure and Improvisation  8. Choral Work  9. The fulcrum analogy  10. Leo Bassi - Clown Activist  11. Personal risk, popularity and power  12. Power Negotiations in the Big Brother intervention  13. Centres and their reaction to Revelacion  14. Ambivalence and the Bassibus 15. Conclusion  Part 3. On the Edge of Chaos  16. The bigheads 17. The blade analogy  18. Sacha Baron Cohen - The Joker  19. Borat at the Rodeo  20. Centres under interrogation  21. Play and Ethical Fluidity  22. Conclusion  Part 4. Order out of Chaos  23. An incident in Exeter  24. Entity and environment - the border analogy  25. Banksy - The Outlaw  26. The invisible man  27. Banksy and the Tesco Riots  28. The border of acceptibility  29. Conclusion  30. Comparing the artists  31. Questions re-visited  32. Drawing together the analogies  Part 5. Provocateurs Provoked  33. Contest or Collusion  34. Circus Complexity  35. Neo-burlesque 36. Pussy Riot 


    Bim Mason is the Artistic Director and co-founder of Circomedia. Since 1978 he has worked in street theatre, masks, bouffon, clown and circus as performer, designer, teacher and award-winning director. Published works include Street Theatre and Other Outdoor Performance (Routledge, 1992).