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Can a Political Act be Considered Performance Art?

March 16, 2010 Art Thoughts No Comments

The gates of Government house after the "blood spill", March 16, 2010

Just a thought, but when I heard about the protests going on in Bangkok, specifically that thousands of Thai demonstrators were standing in line so their blood could be collected for an anti-government protest, it made me think about the whole concept of performance art.  The collected blood was later spilled onto the gates of Government house as a protest against Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his cabinet.

So the question – Could an anti-government protest by thousands of protesters, be viewed as performance art?

Thai protester on his way to Government house

On the surface, the demonstration (held by the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship – also known as the red shirts) shares some of the common principles of performance art:  The demonstation and the spilling of blood is temporary – already it has been washed clean by the authorities; the demonstrators, like performance artists, are not actors – they play as big a role in this happening as the event itself;  the public – the audience – becomes part of the “performance” by the sheer act of watching;  the demonstration serves as a symbolic conveyor of a peoples’ statement.

I’m not sure what the answer is, but I do know that the question is worthy of consideration.

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