This Untethered Buffoon or the Trickster in Everything is a documented artistic research project (Doctoral Thesis) in Performative and Mediated Practices, comprising a series of excavations and vivisections of W(w)hiteness through clowning, making and thinging. This work/play traverses the fields of critical whiteness studies, performance and clowning, visual and cultural anthropology and decolonial critique. This eclectic mash-up of history, memory and trauma unfolds from my original question: as an actor, which bodies is it appropriate for me to inhabit? Via hyper-disciplinary experiments of the impulse and what it means to be ‘on’ the moment, the research fabricates a series of clowters, performed entanglements of clown and character passing between various continents, temporalities and situated histories. SQUIRM is the title given to both the final performance essay as well as to the reflective documentation emerging from this research. As experimentations with auto-ethnography and productive discomfort, the performing essays in SQUIRM document, animate and satirise explorations of W(w)hiteness, privilege and colonial logic. At the intersections of histories, they dig through remnants of collective memory, personal genealogy and shame, in the hope of reassembling new, sharper ways of giving and receiving attention. From inside the body of this performer SQUIRM is about TONGUE-ING, about licking the future into softness by reinvigorating ancient clown practices to poke at whiteness in the current age. It’s about squirming and laughing through the discomfort of privilege in what feels like a crumbling time. But mostly it’s about feeling great in a beard.
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