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Dispensing with the Law: Measuring alcohol and its effects in Shower Party


Warren, A, Dispensing with the Law: Measuring alcohol and its effects in Shower Party, Performance Research, 22, (6) pp. 13-19. ISSN 1352-8165 (2017) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

DOI: doi:10.1080/13528165.2017.1412635


Shower Party (2014), an interactive installation by Australian collective Golden Solution, incorporated participants into a system where they became collectively responsible for the life or death of a goldfish. Self-serve alcoholic cocktail dispensers were programmed so that every drink requested would drain an equivalent volume of water from a goldfish bowl. In ‘Dispensing with the Law: Measuring alcohol and its effects in Shower Party’, Asher Warren focuses on the way these alcoholic cocktails were attributed agency metonymically, metabolically and mechanically throughout the four-hour event. Through interrogating the tendency to read the event through what might be termed an alcohol-oriented-ontology, Warren argues that the agency of alcohol in Shower Party was structured through two quite different assemblages. The first, a technological assemblage, dispensed the alcohol and produces quantified metrics from which the effects of alcohol at a ‘population level’ are inferred. The second, a more concealed legal assemblage, governed the service of alcohol through attendants with ‘Responsible Service of Alcohol’ certificates, required to make qualitative judgements based on the behaviour of individuals, according to a legally defined ‘poetics’ of intoxication. These assemblages, Warren contends, not only influenced participants, but also shaped critical engagements with the work that obscure the fluidity of meaning and agency that alcohol might take on when deployed as an aesthetic medium.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:participation, performance, actor-network, alcohol
Research Division:Creative Arts and Writing
Research Group:Performing arts
Research Field:Drama, theatre and performance studies
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Arts
Objective Field:The performing arts
UTAS Author:Warren, A (Dr Asher Warren)
ID Code:129615
Year Published:2017
Deposited By:Office of the School of Creative Arts and Media
Deposited On:2018-12-10
Last Modified:2019-01-14

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