Larry Bogad, CAA’s West Coast Founding Director, will lead a panel discussion at UC Berkeley tonight entitled “Tactical Performance: Symbolic Sabotage and Satirical Surprise”. This presentation will examine recent attempts by creative activists to use theatrical techniques to enhance the impact of social movement interventions – in public squares, corporate meetings, military recruiting centers, commercial port shut-downs, and other pressure points in the body politic. Guerrilla musicals, mass-produced newspapers and Clown Armies will be assessed for their specific strengths and weaknesses as levers/lockpicks in the activist toolkit.
The discussion is part of a larger workshop titled Circulating Humor: Nonsense Politics. Hosted by Berkeley’s Department of German, the workshop is described:
Infotainment rules. Year-end television ratings in 2011 confirmed that The Daily Show and The Colbert Report had drawn more viewers than Fox News, the most watched news channel in the US. What does this tell us about the state of democracy and participation? In this year of another “electoral theater,” it appears timely to analyze politics as comedy and comedy as politics. Humor constitutes a stage for performances that forge and disrupt rituals of community. German comedian Martin Sonneborn, former editor of the magazine Titanic and founder of the party Die Partei, proposes an absurd program such as the re-erection of the Berlin wall; Turkish German stand-up comedian Serdar Somuncu impersonates Hitler; University of California students emulate the rhetoric of efficient privatization; activists tricksters assume corporate personas and ruling voices. All these comics intervene by mobilizing strategic role-play, mimicking practices they set out to deconstruct by exposing their absurdity, and inviting the audience to join in their tactics of denudation. At this workshop, such examples will be discussed and analyzed collaboratively with participants. We will work toward a theoretical framework for the analysis of comic interventions as complex social, discursive and aesthetic acts.
Nothing is Done, an exhibition of satirical posters by graphic artist Klaus Staeck targeting environmental questions will complement this workshop
The workshop will take place from 4 – 7 PM at 282 Dwinelle Hall.