It has been said that the Fool was once seen as a person connected to the divine, but he did not have the language to communicate the knowledge he was given. Hence the Licensed Fool was created, someone who took on the characteristics of the Fool to access the divine and had the ability to translate what he discovered for the general public's benefit; such a person has been known as a jester, joker, clown and comedian. It might not be a stretch to say that many artists also uses the attributes of the Licensed Fool, as hinted at through these quotes:
"One of the tasks art has assumed is making forays into and taking up positions on the frontiers of consciousness (often very dangerous to the artist as a person) and reporting back what's there. Being a free-lance explorer of spiritual dangers, the artist gains a certain license to behave differently from other people..."
"To be an artist is to fail as no other dare fail."
"Art puts itself outside of some of the norms and standards which are binding for most people and becomes a testing ground for new forms and new meanings."
Artist Bjørn Venø takes on the roll of the Licensed Fool to create work and instigate seminars where he slowly pushes people towards what is considered foolish behaviour. Venø's agenda and purpose for giving these seminars to the public is to:
· Highlight the important role artists play in helping our society evolve.
Stimulate creative thinking, problem solving and idea development.
· To present a methodology for producing work.
· Encourage one to push personal limitations.
· Explore ideas of identity.
· Help improve confidence and the ability to communicate.
· To regress back to childhood forms of play and dialogue.
. To relax and have fun.
The images are from two projects, 'The Licensed Fools Workshop' at Tenderpixel, London and 'Is the Fool our Last Hope?' at DigitaLive