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Laughter Increases the Pain Threshold : Artist Talk and Demonstration with Ashley Bedet

  • Contemporary Calgary 701 11 Street Southwest Calgary, AB, T2P 2C4 Canada (map)

Join us Thursday, August 15 from 6PM for an Artist Talk “Laughter Increases the Pain Threshold” with Collider Artist, Ashley Bedet. In conjunction with the Collider Artist Residency, Bedet will discuss the recurring facet of failure as a theme in her process as well as her artist practice as a whole.

6.00PM - Artist Talk
6:30PM - Reception with the Artist

To persist you must start, and to persist thereafter you must adjust. The first stage of persistence is to fail and it’s what you do after that counts. However, Bedet has been pretty focused on this initial failure, as it has been a recurring facet in her practice since 2017. Bedet has been focused on making a mobile that charts this first initial failure, the first idea a person has is often the hardest one to surrender. Using the metaphor of celestial formation to diagram this instant in time when space as we know it was created -- it’s nothing short of cathexis. Time and space were made in mere instances while this project creaks and croaks along for years.

The age-old definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Another popular psychological tick that arises in this project of crashing a celestial body (a moon) on an identical path is the popular subgenre of the fail. Why is it so funny to see a diver mount the board, have a perfect form in the follow-through and then belly flop? Is it an involuntary schadenfreude that indicates how close most of us are to ranking high on a psychopathy test? Turns out not necessarily. When you laugh at a situation that isn’t horribly dire - there are no broken bones or serious injuries - but was indeed an ‘epic fail’ you are assisting in moving something from being embarrassing, humiliating or demoralizing to just funny.  It's a coping mechanism. That’s the actual job of the banana peel, to slip from something disastrous into something funny that is a social behavioural exchange that builds on camaraderie. When you go to a stand-up comedy show, you’re laughing because it seems like a conversation with the comedian ‘getting you’, it may not just be relatable but a signal of acceptance. Out of mutual acceptance, from the slippery ‘oh no’ to the ‘yeah that was dumb, that failed’. It's a social behaviour that allows us to deal with stress because laughter helps keeps the stress at bay enough to cope with our emotions. Laughter, in this case, regulates our moods and allows us to acknowledge and regulate our emotions in any social interaction better equips us all to know how to deal with the shit hitting the fan.