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Laughing with, Laughing at: Humour and Revolution in the 2019 Venice Pavilions of Chile and Egypt.

  • Academic Journal
  • Cambridge Journal of Anthropology; Autumn2021, Vol. 39 Issue 2, p39-58, 20p
  • The autumn of 2019 was characterised by an eruption of global protests, including Lebanon, Iraq, Ecuador, Chile, and Egypt. The velocity with which these protests emerged nurtured a sense that the Global South 'was on the march'. At the same time as these events were rapidly unfolding, the world's premier mass art exhibition, the Venice Biennale, was in its final weeks. Harnessing discourse analysis, participant observation, and collaborative auto-ethnography, the authors draw together a comparative study of the Chilean and Egyptian pavilions and assess the impact of ongoing and suspended revolutionary histories of both nations. Approaching art as a form of 'practical aesthetics' (Bennett 2012) and focusing on humour as an aesthetic quality enmeshed in complex political temporalities, this article analyses the relationship between humour, contemporary art, and revolution, demonstrating how the laughter facilitated by these two pavilions negotiates understandings of national pasts, and uprisings in the present. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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