On 11 November, two days after the fall of the Berlin Wall, carnival enthusiasts in Chemnitz celebrated by dressing in nightgowns and running through the streets as they openly mocked the old regime. In play forms such as carnival, both sense and nonsense exist side by side, but not infrequently the latter disintegrates into disorder, with no reference to any context outside of itself. Such a condition is possible because of the paradoxical nature of play, and I here suggest that nonsense in and of itself should be considered the essential element of "carnival aesthetics." However, when other influences such as politics override the carnival, this playfulness is essentially lost, and the festival becomes ideological display as evidenced by the history of the German carnival known as "Fasching."

You do not currently have access to this content.