When reading Pollock, a couple of things jumped out at me.
The first was the idea that performance can be a way of transmitting oral history. I specifically thought about how that fits in to our modern society, which is full of smart phones which can record video and audio, as well as security cameras which can record events, along with dozens of news media outlets that keep cameras rolling on something 24/7. A common phrase to be heard on the internet is “pics or it didn’t happen” or “vid or it didn’t happen”. The era that we live in prizes rational doubt and skepticism, and that has gone to the extreme in places like the internet, where as soon as anyone tries telling a story that might be amazing, it is met with disbelief.
Given our recent talk about protests, as well as areas like Oakland that have been the source of conflict between protesters and police, I thought of this video:
I’m imagining the story, or performance, if you will, that one of my friends would tell me if they had been at that game, and if they had rushed the field, or if they had attacked one of the members of security. Most likely I wouldn’t even believe them if they had told me, even if they had filled in very tiny details. I’d probably say “vid or it didn’t happen”.
And that leads me to the second point that I thought about, and that is questioning where our cultural memories are stored. In fifty, a hundred, or five hundred years, who will be telling the stories? People? Or twitter archives? Will we even need to read about history in books, or can we just watch archived newscasts and uploaded videos?
Where does performance take place if we can actually record and re-watch the original event over and over to our heart’s content?