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Blow-by-Blow Analysis of a Reggie Watts Performance
Proof that metamodernism can be distinguished from any preceding concept in art can be found in the person of Reggie Watts, a multi-genre performer who’s primarily either a musician or a comedian or a slam poet, depending upon whom you ask and at what point you are in Watts’s bizarre and disorienting stage routine.
In 2012, Watts gave a TED talk like none you’ve ever seen, and if you want to start understanding metamodernism better than you (or I) likely ever understood Modernism or postmodernism, one step is to watch the ten-minute video above and then read the blow-by-blow analysis of the video offered below. What Watts does in the ten minutes of his TED talk is put on a veritable clinic of metamodernism. Those who watch and/or read the content of this article are encouraged to check out, also, Watts’s “Why $#!+ So Crazy?” (2010), which is now available as a streaming download on Netflix. It takes the brief metamodernist survey course Watts offered at TED and turns it into a full-blown metamodernist masterpiece.
It’s actually about time that someone broke down a Reggie Watts performance according to certain techniques. Abramson includes those that align with “metamodernism”: “code-switching,” “ordered nonsense,” “enforced reality,” “disguised sense,” “revealed presumption,” “erroneous self-correction,” “layered realities,” “juxtpositive spaces,” “juxtaposition of man and machine,” “looping,” and, finally, “conclusion.” For details, go here.
Might we also highly suggest this conversation with Watts from late June on OK Radio, a fantastic podcast dedicated to experimental and innovative performance and theater, hosted by Nature Theater of Oklahoma’s Pavol Liska and Kelly Copper. Reggie talks Situationism, making space for collaboration, and his own fame. He’s also a self-help guru, PS.