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:
- Sacha Baron Cohen
- Leo Bassi
- Pussy Riot
- Philippe Petit
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.
Table of Contents
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).