peasant couple dancing, 1514

peasant couple dancing, 1514

engraving by Albrecht Dürer

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In all these wr…

In all these writings, in spite of their differences in character and tendency, the carnival-grotesque form exercises the same function: to consecrate inventive freedom, to permit the combination of a variety of different elements and their rapprochement, to liberate from the prevailing point of view of the world, from conventions and established truths, from clichés, from all that is humdrum and universally accepted. This carnival spirit offers the chance to have a new outlook on the world, to realize the relative nature of all that exists, and to enter a completely new order of things.

from Rabelais and His World – Mikhail Bakhtin

A definition for the grotesque

In the grotesque, life passes through all the degrees, from the lowest, inert and primitive, to the highest, most mobile and spiritualized; this garland of various forms bears witness to their oneness, brings together that which is removed, combines elements which exclude each other, contradicts all current conceptions. Grotesque in art is related to the paradox in logic. At first glance, the grotesque is merely witty and amusing, but it contains great potentialities.

From L.E. Pinsky – Realism of the Renaissance, 1961

Wicker man

Today I have decided to make a wicker man. 

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I am currently reading Mikhail Bakhtin’s ‘Rabelais and His World’ – which examines humor and folk culture of the Renaissance and Middle Ages – particularly the carnivalesque, with its emphasis on laughter, the grotesque and the earthy leading to the destruction of authority.

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I am currently putting together a film of the stages of my wicker man. Will be uploaded as soon as it is finished!

Ritual of laughter

Among the very ancient people of Sardinia, who were called Sardi or Sardoni, it was customary to kill old people. While killing their old people, the Sardi laughed loudly. This is the origin of notorious sardonic laughter (Eugen Fehrle, 1930), now meaning cruel, malicious laughter. In light of our findings things begin to look different. Laughter accompanies the passage from death to life; it creates life and accompanies birth. Consequently, laughter accompanying killing transforms death into a new birth, nullifies murder as such, and is an act of piety that transforms death into a new life.

Vladimir Propp – Theory and History of Folklore, Ritual laughter in folklore