Putting Prejudices on the Spot and in the Spotlight: The Risks of Politically Motivated Public Space Performance Practices
For many, the fact that both performers and spectators contribute to the creation of participatory performance practice makes it a more democratic art form than most. What is interesting about much politicised participatory performance practice, of course, is the way it puts the spectator’s role as co-creator on the spot and in the spotlight via encounters in which this role is literal, explicit, and fundamental to the event. In this chapter, I examine the pleasures, perils, and ethical pitfalls of political performance practices in which a spectator suddenly, unwittingly, and sometimes even unwillingly finds his or her actions subject to public scrutiny, discussion, and debate. I focus particularly on a series of begging performances, asking why performers, spectators-cum-coperformers, and society might be willing to take the sorts of risks that characterise such personally, politically, and above all ethically chancy practices.
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