In the Republic, Plato warned that abandonment to violent laughter might provoke a violent reaction. Freud’s work has since reminded us that jokes can precipitate transgressive, or forbidden thoughts and feelings that may represent social taboos, or personal anxieties. Today, medical science has highlighted the importance of laughter for health and social wellbeing as it may lower blood pressure and provide a natural high by increasing the production of endorphins in the brain.
LAUGHING STOCK X CHANGE at Liverpool Community College (learning diabilities) and Lewisham College/London was set up in a particular kind of transit space, where students hang out between lectures. It established a ‘space’ for the exchange of jokes and laughter: a joke for a laughter, a laughter for a joke. At The Pozzo Pozzoza Museum in Berlin, jokes and laughter were being listened to, exchanged and recorded. The process of exchange stretched to its limit only to encounter the perspective of a precarious conversation: stored laughter and jokes.