PunperformingUnperforming – group show – Departure Foundation – London – October 2013

A work conceived for the group show Unperforming (curated by Louise Ashcroft). The title of this show coincided with my recent investigations into the prefix ‘un’ in relation to the word ‘pun’ which began when I realised the accidental similarity in sound of the phrase ‘pun intended’ to the word ‘unintended’.

Using a dictionary as a functioning prop, I perform every word beginning with ‘un’ adding a ‘p’ to the beginning.

The effect of placing the letter ‘p’ (for pun) in front of words beginning with the ‘un’ prefix antagonises the definition of the word– the negative ‘un’ becomes positive in relation to the word ‘pun’; punsuccessful – successful at puns, punemployed – employed by puns, etc. yet the word still resonates with its original un-ness.

Punperforming is a systematic oxymoronic gesture to wordplay.

At the Unperforming event, I first performed Sex Cymbals – an explicit example of performing a pun (punperforming) by becoming the pun (punbecoming). I then performed Punperforming (the categorical pun-ification of the ‘un’ words).

The Pun sign was displayed on a TV monitor throughout as a reminder of the place of Pun and as a linguistic sign – this backdrop (literally and metaphorically) is crucial to the concepts of punbecoming and Punperforming.


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