FAS: K for Kayfabe

Semantically, kayfabe refers to a suspension of disbelief. The specific details about the origins of the concept are unclear, the only certainty being that it originated as carny slang-an example of a lexicon developed to allow "performers" to communicate without outsiders' knowledge of what is being said. In professional wrestling it is the portrayal of events, inside and outside of the ring, as "real" or "true". More than a theatrical act, kayfabe is a code with a conviction that transcends fact and fiction categories. Consciously or not, it is a system used by many cultural producers, both for production and survival. By creating alternate situations within the conventional social fabric, it opens up the possibilities for new exchanges and participation. Through readings, discussions, critique of student work and writing, this seminar will concentrate on the ideological and allegorical implications of the concept of kayfabe. Following a wide range of examples, ranging from pro wrestling itself to Joseph Beuys and David Hammons' self mythologization, we will seek to identify and further discuss art practices and works centered around this concept.