News: Trigger Happy, by André Gonçalves

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After his passage through Tráfico, with his “Amo-te às escondidas, como quem rouba rebuçados“, André Gonçalves will now have his solo exhibition at Lisboa 20 Gallery, on June 25th.
The exhibition will end on July 31st

Trigger Happy questions the experience the public has with New Media comparing it with the one tv spectators have with sitcoms or other comedy shows, where “canned laughter” is used.

From André’s text:

While researching for this piece I stumble upon a text by Slavoj Žižek on the death of Charles R. Douglass, the inventor of the “Laff Box”, the artificial laughter which accompanies comical moments in TV. In this brief text Žižek follows the idea that “canned laughter” “undermines the natural presuppositions about the status of our innermost emotions”. He defines it clearly as “the situation in which the object itself takes from me, deprives me of, my own passive reaction of satisfaction (laughter), so that it is the object itself which ‘enjoys the show’ instead of me, relieving me of the superego duty to enjoy myself?”
So instead of using our own laughter, us, the viewers, laugh through it. To exemplify his idea he gives the particular example of arriving home from work, too exhausted to engage in a meaningful activity, pressing the tv power button and stare, then we don’t need to laugh anymore but still can feel relieved after the show, because the tv was laughing in our place. Our “most intimate feelings can be radically externalized, I can literally ‘laugh and cry through another.’”

The interesting point that caught my attention is when he finds the paradox for this behaviour on today’s new media use, quoting Robert Pfaller “interpassivity” term to start, he continues with the following analysis: “Today, it is a commonplace to emphasize how, with new electronic media, the passive consumption of a text or a work of art is over: I no longer merely stare at the screen, I increasingly interact with it, entering into a dialogic relationship with it.” and follows up with an assumption that has been a constant concern in all of my practice: “in contrast to the notion that the new media turn us into passive consumers who just stare blindly at the screen, one should claim that the so-called threat of the new media resides in the fact that they deprive us of our passivity, of our authentic passive experience, and thus prepare us for the mindless frenetic activity.”

The exhibition will open on June 25th, 10p.m. at Lisboa 20 Gallery

Link: Trigger Happy

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