Festival and the laughter of being

Kevin McHugh, Ann M. Fletchall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We present a performance in festival laughter that unfolds in three movements. Movement I traces the emergence and proliferation of Renaissance "faires" in America as spectacle, a Rabelaisian landscape of pleasure and excess that speaks to nostalgia and escape as cultural elixirs. In Movement II, we sketch the history of festival and wink to Ren Fest as contemporary expression of the carnivalesque, sanitized remnants of transgression and subversion that marked premodern carnivals and festivals. This catapults us to the third, and culminating, movement - an eruption in festival laughter that reverberates and shakes high-minded seriousness, leaving in its wake questions of being qua becoming. Our entanglement in laughter moves in streams of anti- or nonrepresentational thought, most notably that of Georges Bataille. Laughter is spontaneous, a contagion that "communicates" that we beings called human are thoroughly relational, most united in "senseless" detachment. We end the performance with a coda, sounding eruptions of laughter as moments of the unexpected, moments of vitality, moments of communitas ripe with possibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-394
Number of pages14
JournalSpace and Culture
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2012

Fingerprint

festival
humor
volcanic eruption
coda
transgression
nostalgia
subversion
Renaissance
proliferation
performance
Laughter
history
human being

Keywords

  • affective geographies
  • festival
  • Georges Bataille
  • laughter
  • relational being
  • spectacle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urban Studies
  • Cultural Studies
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Festival and the laughter of being. / McHugh, Kevin; Fletchall, Ann M.

In: Space and Culture, Vol. 15, No. 4, 11.2012, p. 381-394.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

McHugh, Kevin ; Fletchall, Ann M. / Festival and the laughter of being. In: Space and Culture. 2012 ; Vol. 15, No. 4. pp. 381-394.
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