This week the PSWG blog takes the form of a curated set of responses to Elizabeth Wiet’s paper ‘Jack Smith, Charles Ludlam, and the Objects of Camp’ delivered and discussed October 2nd. We asked Elizabeth to select two key objects of performance to stimulate critical response from fellow PSWG scholars. By ‘objects of performance’ we mean things which embody, depict, surrogate, reflect, describe or resonate with a performance in the past and which constitute the focus of our critical attention. They could be films, audio recordings, clothes, anecdotes, buildings, gestures and so on- in short, objects by which we know the presence- or disappearance- of a performance.
Elizabeth chose an anecdote and a film. Here they are, with exhibition label-type responses from Elise Morrison (Performance Studies), Lina Moe (English) and John Cooper (Art History).
“The more people have told me that I had to get away from the word “camp,” that it’s terrible that people would call my work “camp,” the more I decided to embrace it. If nobody wants it, come to me! Bring me your poor, your tired, your yearning to be free! Let my theatre be the repository of all forbidden theatrical conventions!”
anecdote quoted in Ridiculous Theatre: Scourge of Human Folly, the Essays and Opinions of Charles Ludlam, ed. Steven Samuels (New York, 1992) p. 227