“Humour or Provocation – which is more effective?”


"too much provocation makes for a blunt sword"…

Samantha Lo, or SKLo, is an artist currently based in Singapore who specializes in installations and mixed media artworks. Her witty street art led to her arrest for ‘vandalism’ in Singapore in 2012. Now a prominent artist, she persists in seeding critical thinking into the Singapore psyche that brings humanity into public spaces.

So, Sam, which is more effective, humour or provocation?

Coming from Singapore…

Personally I feel humour is more effective (in today’s context, coming from Singapore). Many times artists have made it their goal to provoke, with that feeling it motivates viewers to do something, but sometimes too much provocation makes for a blunt sword.. you see the intentions behind the motives and quickly you either feel numb to it, ignore the message completely, question/ doubt the intentions behind it, or just attribute it to some form of negativity that you much rather avoid. I guess it’s a higher barrier of entry with this method, and it’s hard to sound less of a cynic but maybe it’s because I have seen a lot of work where you know, you just know that they are trying to get a reaction out of you.

For humour, it slips in like a slippery snake with a clown nose. You see it, you understand it, you laugh at it, then you realise maybe the joke is on you. You can’t deny it is easier to swallow. Even if you don’t get the joke, that’s fine too. Sometimes provocative work can’t get through to the audience too. But at least humour scores a higher chance of making you laugh.

Samantha Lo, A Curate's Egg
Samantha Lo, A Curate's Egg
Samantha Lo, A Curate's Egg

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