Confusionists | Igor Vamos (Yes Men)

Humanity is defined by our large-scale collective delusions. We perform these delusions in relation to each other. They become our agreed-upon realities. We all perform within this framework. It becomes invisible to most of us. We tend to be blind to our own cultural constructs. We are always performing these fictions, willing reality into existence. Theatre gives us a break from that relentless performance of the cultural reality we create. Theatre is a chance to perform on purpose for a change.

With that in mind, I choose to answer the question “Why theatre?” by publishing a digest / manifesto gleaned from an ancient manuscript found in the rare books collection at St. Andrews University. I came across it because of the strange circumstances of pandemic lockdown. During the UK’s coronavirus lockdown I was in Scotland, and in my daily exercise jaunts I noticed a back door was left unlocked at the old library. In the totally abandoned library I found myself frequenting the rare books collection, where I discovered a Latin version of the following text, transcribed by Catholic monks from an even more ancient plundered text, which originated somewhere in the Middle East over 1500 years ago. I took the original text and distilled it, and with the assistance of translation software and an artificially intelligent manifesto generator, made it into what you see here below. I also sketched variations on two illustrations in the manuscript, including the text translations into English. Note that the translation is quite liberal in order to make this make sense to us today: for example thought was understood to occur in the heart at the time the text was written that this is derived from: I have opted to make it the brain since that makes the translation more understandable to today’s theatre-going public.

Confusionists are border crossers, shape changers,
masquerade artists, agent thespians ripping holes in the fabric of consensus.

Confusion is a valuable state
Confusion activates the intellect
Confusion makes a passive audience into an active one
Confusion begets action

Confusion is a great responsibility
Only confuse from under
Never confuse to permanently deceive
Only confuse in the service of the dispossessed

Confustionists never serve power
Confusion from above is not confusion: it is tyranny
Confusionism is not for making sales
Guerilla Marketing is for douchebags
Confusionists serve facts
Only confuse to reveal
Confusion restores innocence
Confusion shakes, dismantles, distracts, and obfuscates

Confusion operates on a cycle of destruction/creation
Confusion underpins the order of the universe

Igor Vamos is founding member of Yes Men, a culture jamming activist duo. Through humor and mischief, they aim to raise awareness about problematic social and political issues. Under their motto that lies can expose truth, they have impersonated and ridiculed those who abuse power all over the world. They refer to this as a public ‘identity correction‘.