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Laughter staged

Art in Context event at Frascati Theatre in Amsterdam


In its third year Art in Context focused on the topic of ‘laughter’. Different from previous topics, laughter cannot be assigned to a singular social context — it moves across all contexts and strata and additional to its power to take over the whole body, it targets the whole of society. Participants first addressed the social function of laughter. The significance of laughter in creating social cohesion, or enabling distance, its potential in questioning or confronting power, its elusiveness and free movement through rigid societal structures, which is comparable to some art’s ambition. What is the use of laughter in society? How it is produced and instrumentalized? Can it be disconnected from constrains of entertainment and be applied to other social needs?

This was the second year that Art in Context worked with the Cobra Museum for Modern Art. The previous collaboration on the topic of ‘Public Relations’ resulted in a jointly produced publication and exhibition at the Cobra Museum. For this edition, Art in Context and Cobra Museum decided to venture together outside both the school and the museum and to produce an event at the Frascati theatre in June 2015.

Laughter presentation at ING bank        ING event

1 — Event at ING Bank Amsterdam; Ildikó Horváth selling off her painting, May 2015
2 — Event at ING Bank; presentation by Linnea Langfjord Kristensen

Frascati event        Frascati event

3 — Event at Frascati Amsterdam; performance, Roman Ermolaev, June 2015
4 — Event at Frascati; performance by Ida Brottmann Hansen

Frascati event        Frascati event

5 — Event at Frascati; performance by Noe Cottencin
6 — Event at Frascati; Hilde de Bruijn with Jessica Tucker

Frascati event

7 — Event at Frascati; performance by Annelotte Lammertse

Art in Context participants started the year by following individual trajectories. This created diverse readings of the topic — laughter appeared as a force that moves through different social strata and envelops many of our daily actions. After this research period, participants decided to connect the topic to the corporate world since it appeared in several researches. What is the position of laughter in today’s corporate world? How does it effect the perception of efficiency, creativity and usefulness? Can it be used as a critical tool inside of an organization? Those were just some of the questions that were asked while looking for the corporate partner to work with. Together with Cobra Museum, AiC approached the Dutch bank ING and they decided to open their doors. The results of this research were shown both at the ING to their employees and at the Frascati theatre in June 2015 along with presentation of the new AiC publication ‘Laughter‘.