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Why some of us push our bodies to extremes

This book is about people willing to do the sorts of things that most others couldn't, shouldn't or wouldn't. While there are all sorts of reasons why people consume substances, the author notes that there are those who treat drug-taking like an Olympic sport, exploring their capacity to really push their bodies, and frankly, wanting to be the best at it. Extreme athletes, death-defiers and those who perform incredible stunts of endurance have been celebrated throughout history. The most successful athletes can compartmentalise, storing away worry and pain in a part of their brain so it does not interfere with their performance. The brain releases testosterone, for a boost of strength and confidence. In bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism (BDSM) play, the endogenous opioid system responds to the pain, releasing opioid peptides. It seems some of us are more wired than others to activate those ancient biological systems, be it through being caned in a dungeon during a lunchbreak or climbing a sheer rock wall at the weekend. Back in 1990, sociologist Stephen Lyng coined the term 'edgework', now frequently used in BDSM circles, as 'voluntary pursuit of activities that involve a high potential for death, physical injury, or spiritual harm'.

Jenny Valentish

to inflict ultraviolence upon one another – and, let’s face it, on themselves. With the staple gun, he’s demonstrating that such antics are far more painful outside of the ring, or ‘the theatre in the round’, as he calls it (of which Barthes would surely approve). In the real world, adrenaline and endorphins are disappointingly slow to flow. He’s had to get creative with pain lately. While trudging the road to recovery – which means avoiding wrestling – he’s developed some performance-art routines for burlesque clubs, such as The Twelve Unnecessarily Violent Days

in Everything harder than everyone else
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Bogdan Popa

. This dialectical method actualizes itself in performance art, transgender practices, and socialist workers, which are part of the same project of disidentification from capitalism. By drawing on C. L. R. James’s theory, Muñoz shows that the future can be interrupted as a fantasy of heterosexual and capitalist reproduction that evolves around the idea

in De-centering queer theory
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Hitchhiking and the relative realities of risk
Jonathan Purkis

was a family tradition and a key part of her identity. An earlier performance art piece, Beyond , held in Perugia in 2004, also focused upon a hitchhiking journey and included contributions from people encountered en route. For the ‘Brides’ tour, the two women designed dresses containing symbols or patterns which represented each of the countries visited. They believed that hitchhiking between those communities – with such an ordinary experience as a metaphor – could build new peace networks across borders. An interactive part of this

in Driving with strangers
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Performance Artists and Rogue Scientists
Jenny Valentish

mishandling,’ he says. Most of us only encounter cannibalism in the context of ethnography or survival or psychopathy. But there’s a lesser-known category, performance art, which seems to have most in com- mon with Jack’s avenues of self-enquiry. In a 2018 work titled ‘Eschatology’ (the theological study of the end of things, or the ultimate destination of humanity), Lat- vian artist Arturs Bērziņš carved a chunk out of each of the backs of two assistants, fried the meat and fed it to them. In 1988, for a work titled A Cannibal in England, Canadian artist Rick Gibson ate

in Everything harder than everyone else
Nazima Kadir

performance art pieces. Gerard used his authority as the only person who originally squatted the house in a way that the Dutch classify as “anti-social.” In addition to his own room, he took over the living room as his private study, often borrowed money from Allen without paying him back, stole bikes from his non-squatter neighbors, and stole from the private rooms of his housemates, understanding that no one dared to confront him. Gerard holds a more extreme opinion from his fellow squatters because he

in The autonomous life?