All throughout history there have been numerous ‘performances’ which have definitely become non existent. They all seem quite negative, but at the time I’m guessing corporal punishment was standard and executions were an everyday occurrence.
Stocks were used to hold people in while villagers and locals punished the perpetrator. This is a punishment sort of performance, where somebody has been judged as misbehaving and they are then locked into a wooden unit, with holes for limbs. People are then left in these stocks, usually in a public place for all to watch, dependant on their crime. Many villages still have their stocks to preserve their history.
Hanging does what is says on the tin, people whom have misbehaved are strapped in a rope noose and then gravity does the rest. These are generally used in public places as well. Although these days we find these punishments extreme some countries still allow hangings and brutal punishments, obviously dependant on the crime committed.
Most brutal of all these ‘performances’ is beheading, where people have their head cut off with a huge sword. This became common during Tudor times, and usually on public squares there would be a mass gathering to experience the gory performance. ‘This tradition was not just to show the crowd the head, but also to show the head of the victim the crowd and to it’s own body’ – its entertainment for the masses, but something we wouldn’t really want to see these days, I think its an act to show justice has been served and sliced, haha. ‘The heads of Tudor traitors were placed on stakes and displayed in public places such as on the ramparts of castles or such prominent spots like London Bridge’, its definitely something the Tudors were proud to display, and prove that criminals have been punished.
The performance is punishment.
- Historical, Economic, Political, Technological, Social? – Historical, corporal punishment has been around for a really long time, many of these became popular during Tudor times. Although now they seem inhumane some areas in the world still execute people – be it beheading or lethal injection.
- Did the activities reflect the culture of the time? – Yes, it became standard practice to prosecute perpetrators in a public way, to show justice had been served, and for the culture at this time this was seen as entertainment.
- Positive or Negative attention? – A combination of both, its something that would receive positive attention from people glad that justice has been served but these days its seen in a more negative context. Maybe its just me who feels its quite an abrupt punishment and could never be undone, so people whom are wrongly convicted could be wrongly punished.
- Spectating vs. Participating? – Its usually a spectator performance, but if you’d have convicted a crime you could well have been participating in the events.
- Is performance there to keep people occupied or happy? – It’s something to keep people happy, well at that time in history where people wanted to make sure justice was brought. I think many people don’t condone any of these in modern times, even though in some countries you can still be beheaded.
- How does it relate to my project work? – Something so public, and performance influenced reflects well on my project and even though it seems like a negative subject, its the message behind the events which I’m most interested in. The drama, the event and the spectacle.
– ‘It took three blows to remove Mary Queen of Scot’s head at Fotheringhay Castle in 1587’
– ‘Following the execution by beheading the severed head was held up by the hair by the executioner. This tradition was not just to show the crowd the head, but also to show the head of the victim the crowd and to it’s own body. Consciousness remains for at least eight seconds after beheading, until the lack of oxygen causes unconsciousness and mercifully death. The heads of Tudor traitors were placed on stakes and displayed in public places such as on the ramparts of castles or such prominent spots like London Bridge.’