This is Belgain artist James Ensor's famous Christ’s Entry into Brussels:
This is an image of the March of the Dissenters, a series of opposition protests that took place in Russia in 2006 and 2007:
And this is an image of a community event held in Yorkshire in 2004 to raise public interest in the renewal of a dead-beat public space:
All three are images of carnival.
besieged by elite-backed architectural mega-projects and micro-interventions.
The authors described the activities of Living City, a group who protested against proposals by authorities to turn Palace Square, the heart of the Russian Empire, in to a gigantic skating rink.
Living City decided to make public its 'support' for this initiative on behalf of all sporting enthusiasts. Armed with ski poles, swim fins, an inflatable mattress, and a basketball, activists appeared on the square, where they began frantically engaging in their favourite sports.
They thus drew attention to the fact that the authorities hadn't yet thought to 'renovate' Palace Square and also make it a venue for skiers, swimmers, and basketball fanatics.
The skating rink went ahead. :(
But two weeks ago, a Court ruled that its construction was illegal and ordered it to be closed and dismantled. :)
According to the writers in Mute, this is one small victory for groups and movements in Russia in which
thousands and tens of thousands of ‘non-aligned’ individual activists and ordinary concerned citizens can express their distress at the direction their beloved city has taken.
But it's also ammo against those who think that community events and civic participation are naff; and carnival is just something ecstatic and Latin American - or a cheesey, awkward essay in pointless juggling.
For be it people pretending to ski on a city square or ordinary citizens laying down in a long line in park, carnival is about performance, as well as celebration and community.
Carnival can also be a form of protest.