Together with Wladyslaw Chlopicki and Dorota Brzozowska
Performance, duration: 45 min
Theatre Bagatela, Sarego 7, Kraków

Continuing his interest in ‘experimental comedy‘, Michael Portnoy introduces the public to a specialized form of jokes, ’carrot jokes’, through a performance and discussion around the subject with cognitive linguist and humour researcher Wladyslaw Chlopicki and Dorota Brzozowska.

Carrot Jokes are a genre of jokes first proposed by Chlopicki and Petray (1981) to undermine the emerging computational models of humour analysis. These jokes, further developed by others in the field, depend on a preponderance of background incongruities, blunt omissions, faulty script switch-triggers, ‘grey’ implicature and missing links in inferencing. One of the primary features of these jokes is that their background has essentially occluded the foreground, i.e. all of the establishing features of the situation of a joke (setting, character, theme, style, etc.) have overcrowded the ’room‘, leaving little space for the narrative to nudge through.


Michael Portnoy, Carrot Jokes, courtesy of artist


Michael Portnoy (b. 1971) is an American multimedia artist and Director of Behavior. Portnoy’s long-standing investigation of social exchange and the rules of communication and play, has been conducted through a series of ‘abstract gambling’ tables and related sculptures, and conversation games drawing on 17th Century universal or taxonomic languages. He has called his breed of absurdist, dictatorial interaction with participants ‘Relational Stalinism’ – ‘the fashionable promise that an artwork might offer a democratic magic, transforming inter-relational codes into something nicer, is abandoned in favour of a clarification of the artist’s imperious role as producer and performer …’ (Tirdad Zolghadr, Creamier: Contemporary Art in Culture, Phaidon Press, 2010). He has presented work internationally, at venues including: dOCUMENTA (13), The 2nd Moscow Biennial, The Taipei Biennial 2010, MOMA P.S.1 (NY), Performa Biennial 07 & 09 (NY), Art Unlimited Basel, Centre Pompidou, SculptureCenter (NY), The Kitchen (NY), Kunsthalle Basel, IBID PROJECTS (London), Wilfried Lentz (Rotterdam), Kling & Bang (Reykjavík), Foksal Gallery Foundation (Warsaw), Kaaitheater (Brussels), Migros Museum (Zurich), Le Comfort Moderne (Poitiers, France) and The National Review of Live Art (Glasgow).

Dorota Brzozowska, PhD is research fellow at the Institute of Polish Studies at the Opole University. She deals with intercultural communication, humour studies, the category of gender in language and culture, discourse analysis, ethnic and gender stereotypes in European, American and Asian contexts.

Władysław Chłopicki, PhD is associate professor at the Institute of English Studies at the Jagiellonian University. His interests include interdisciplinary research on humour in the context of cultural studies, cognitive linguistics, discourse studies and narratology, as well as translation studies and communication in business. He is member of the International Society for Humor Studies and editor of the Humour and Culture series.

Project Radical Languages subsidized by the Ministry of Culture and the National Heritage,
Flemish Representation  at the Belgian Embassy and the Mondriaan Fonds.
Partner: Barka Alrina, Bęc Zmiana Foundation.
Media patronage: Program 2 Polskiego Radia, TVP Kultura, TVP Kraków, Radio Kraków, Gazeta Wyborcza, Karnet, O.pl, Cracow-life.com, Purpose.com.pl, E-splot.


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