Jacob Peter Kovner: Classy: Group

Unlike other classes, which may attempt to articulate themselves as a cohesive social unit, the wealthy do not express themselves through their class position. Instead, the wealthy tend to invoke different forms of “legitimate” elitism as a basis for their speaking position, whether that be through higher education, the productive economy or other socially-sanctioned hierarchies. While the interests of the wealthy dominate the hegemony, wealth alone remains illegitimate grounds for a speaking position (see: the Kardashians). When our captains of industry speak, they speak for the future or for the economy, and ostensibly not for their own interests. Thematically, the performance confronts those issues of subjectivity and class. However, unlike much of the work that problematizes economics, the frame I will create does not treat wealth and subjectivity as a phenomenon “out there,” but rather examines the dynamics of identity production in which we are all complicit.

In order to unpack these phenomena, the piece uses an interactive form; the performer is there both to facilitate a discussion and make visible the ways in which both the audience and the performer use each other as Projektionsflächen (surfaces onto which to project) for perceived sameness, otherness, and shared or different amounts of privilege. The performance is conceived as a participatory framework in which both the attendees and I are invited to examine what constitutes legitimate, illegitimate, necessary, and subversive thought on matters of wealth and subjectivity.

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