In short films today, a student shared the following video by Remi Gaillard, french performance artist. He is famous for playing pranks on real people in real places with his accomplice capturing the responses on a hidden camera. Gaillard’s motto is:
“C’est en faisant n’importe quoi qu’on devient n’importe qui,” which means, “It is in doing what one wants to do, that one becomes who one wants to be.”
His most notorious prank was in the 2002 finals of the Coupe de France where he disguised himself as a football player (FC Lorient) and shook Jacques Chirac’s hand as he celebrated the victory with the Lorient themselves, even signing autographs before anyone realized he was an impostor.
Of course, this is not a new idea. I remember back in the 60s and 70s, we called these kinds of events “happenings.” I was in college then and the conservative type traditions at school were not well embraced by the activist majority of the students. Homecoming especially was a kind of joke as was the election of the homecoming queen and her court. (It was around the same time that a guy was elected to be homecoming queen at some college. Does anyone remember where that was? Auburn? Ripon? Oberlin?) Friends and I went to the homecoming game as a lark and when the queen and her court stood on the fifty-yard line I came onto the field. I walked up to the queen and asked if I could borrow her tiara and flowers for just a moment. She willingly gave them to me, almost embarrassed she was going though with this ritual. I put the tiara on my head and stood waving to the crowd amid great cheers and shouts with my, I mean, her court around me. A friend filmed the whole thing. I wish I knew where that film was now…
I don’t exactly know why, but when I watched Gaillard’s video below, it totally cracked me up. Perhaps I was reminded of the irreverent joy of the 70s. Maybe it was the last thing I expected to see. Maybe I was way too tired. Maybe Remi Gaillard is a pretty funny guy.