Which as You Know Means Violence: On Self-Injury as Art and Entertainment – Philippa Snow
A few weeks before he died, Hunter S. Thompson left an answerphone message for Jackass’ Johnny Knoxville: “I might be coming to Baton Rouge… and if I do I will call you, because I will be looking to have some fun, which as you know usually means violence.” Fun does not, of course, mean violence for most people.
Those who choose to make a hobby, a career or an art practice out of injury are wired differently – subject to unusual motivations, and quite often powered by an ardent death-drive. In Which as You Know Means Violence, writer and art critic Philippa Snow analyses the subject of pain, injury and sadomasochism in performance, from the more rarefied context of contemporary art to the more lowbrow realm of pranksters, stuntmen and stuntwomen, and uncategorisable, danger-loving YouTube freaks. In a world where violence – of the market, of climate change, of capitalism – is part of our everyday lives, Which as You Know Means Violence focuses on those who enact violence on themselves, for art or entertainment, and analyses the role that violence plays in twenty-first century culture.