An Ancient Poll 

Participatory Performance

Pioneer Works at Ace Hotel NYC 

2020 

This participatory workshop on applause, posits applause as a performance and object of study and evinces my interest in crowd psychology. 

 

While the origins of applause are unclear, it is understood as a very old phenomenon and remarkably stable facet of human culture. Studied as a human-scale manifestation of social synchronization, scholars compare applause to the synchronized flashing of fireflies and the coordination of pacemaker cells in the heart. As a form of social self-organization, collaboration, and communication, we use applause to collectively express how we feel. It is, in a way, an ancient form of a poll. 

 

As a simple yet rich object of study, this workshop asks participants to consider this ancient mode of attunement. What happens when we center that which is typically considered exterior to a performance? What is applause without an object—without anything to applaud?