MFA Art Society and Publics

Charis & I (Charis Edward Wells)

Spoken word, performance and dialogue exhibited in the form of video and live participatory events, explore themes of oppression, silencing, and unconditional love. Charis & I opens dialogue with the viewers, inviting them into a space which is activated by their presence, granting equal status to artist and audience. Using humour and critique in equal measures, Charis explores and disseminates her research into narrative, identity and social culture/history through use of cultural phenomenon and artefacts. Using Freire’s 'Pedagogy of the Oppressed', Erasmus’ 'Praise of Folly', and the historical artefact of The Scold’s Bridle, in 'An Act of Love' she explores oppression, and how to counter this through dialogue - with the audience, participants and public. Charis investigates Freire’s idea’s on oppression: of dehumanisation and objectification which are described as ‘Violent Acts’ - similar to the historical use of the Scold’s Bridle as an instrument of punishment for vocal dissent. He suggests the remedy for these brutal acts is dialogue and to 'love unconditionally.' At the same time, the use of the repeating motif of the jester comes from Erasmus of Rotterdam’s character Folly - the self-proclaimed Goddess of Foolishness. The role of the jester is important in history and culture, being the only entity who can critique society by reformatting it as entertainment. Charis’ role is not as a teacher but the jester, agitating the audience into enquiry and conversation.

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