The funniest sculpture in the world
performer, carpeted pedestal, 5 min
This performance was inspired by the Tanganyika laughter epidemic of 1962, during which the population of a district in Tanzania near Lake Tanganyika was subject to an epidemic of contagious laughter, reportedly sparked by a trio of schoolgirls at a local boarding school. This incident of mass hysteria was attributed to anxiety and stress among the population caused by Tanzania’s newly acquired independence. The performance begins with the performer entering and sitting on the pedestal for two minutes without doing anything, creating a palpable tension in the room. Seemingly in spite of herself, she starts to smile and giggle, before succumbing to a fit of hysterical laughter. Her laughter quickly spreads to the audience. After a few minutes, she regains her composure and exits the room.