chapter  8
16 Pages

Performance

ByBen Burt

The forms and meanings of many kinds of artefact have their intended full effect only by enhancing the person, from costume used to affirm and perform social roles, to the impersonation of other beings. Looking at performative roles of artefacts as part of artistic roles of persons also enables us to consider types of artefacts well outside Western understandings of visual arts. At a basic level, people attire themselves and each other to help them perform their roles in society, enhancing their bodies artistically to communicate who and what they are. Focusing on social context of costume and performance allows comparisons with more familiar traditions often overlooked by Western studies of visual or performing arts. The most elaborate performance is Trooping the Colour, in which Guards regiments march to music in elaborate formations around a parade ground, to honor monarch’s birthday and their own “colours” or flags.