"Pleasure as Subversive Action" Workshop with ANdrew Cooks

..."the other important joke, for me, is one that's usually attributed to Groucho Marx; but, I think it appears originally in Freud's Wit and Its Relation to the Unconscious, and it goes like this - I'm paraphrasing—um, 'I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member.'" (Woody Allen in Annie Hall)  


This self-deprecating and amusing quip is, like a lot of humour, a potent commentary on human experience…but also of pleasure. Do you agree? 

After questioning various manifestations of pleasure, we will use experience (personal and collective), texts and sensory evidence to chart what pleasure might be; what pleasure means; and how (different) states of pleasure can be subversive.

How does pleasure feature in our daily or hourly or even moment by moment life? Does identity, tribal instinct or simply 'belonging' affect our understanding of and experience of pleasure? Do different environments or situations make us more or less aware of our ‘pleasure’ (for example, architecture, music, mapping, language, political energies and discourse, sanity, tribalism, nationalism etc)? Memory (collective and personal)? 

Can language be a tool of pleasure? 

What is use-value? 

Finally in this twenty-first century against a background of anxiety, upheaval, distrust, tribalism and aggression—human and natural—and amidst the discourse(s) of globalism, can pleasure be a source of pleasure for its own sake and can it be a tool for subversion?



Andrew Cooks was born in Sydney and is a painter. He has recently completed his PhD with Monash University in Melbourne. His research takes the pleasure garden as a model, together with pattern and decoration, and uses the concept of rambling – a walk for pleasure with neither route nor destination – to investigate his spatial experience. Andrew’s work has been exhibited in Australia, Asia, Europe and the United States, and he has been teaching in a variety of academic institutions and community settings in Australia and the United States since 1982. He currently teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and at Dutchess Community College in upstate New York.

Visit Andrew’s website