Arti-joke Prize: “Birdie takes your hat”

Art is interesting. It can trigger many different perceptions and emotions. One emotion I have not explored yet is humour, Until now.

Playing with some old victorian photos, I conjured a bizarre scene of a serious-looking man and a woman walking down a cobblestone street. A large cathedral in the background, people bustling about, all of which added to its gravity. Overall the image has a pompous seriousness, a display of dignity, grace and importance that begs for a counterpoint.

Enter our feathered friend. 

Swooping to snatch the grandiose top hat and take it for its nest, you can imagine the change in the gentleman’s demeanour. And the quiet snicker the woman would barely suppress, who perhaps would very much enjoy a disruption to his seriousness.

And the title seals the joke, “Birdie Takes Your Hat”; a playful comment, childlike, counteracting the imagery with cheeky irreverence, delivering the punchline with perfect simplicity.

This is an Art Joke. Or as I call it an Arti’joke’. To further its humour, I wrote an additional commentary that brings upon a Pythonesque quality. Here it is:

A sordid affair; this piece won the 2016 International ‘Humour in the Arts’ award. ‘Birdie Takes Your Hat’ took first prize. What became esteemed as the ‘Big Arti-joke’. Then a twist of fate, my prize was revoked on the grounds of plagiarism and copyright. The judges felt, after the fact, that the assemblage of Victorian characters from online sources did not go far enough to be unique. I was disgraced, my membership in the International Photographic Fine Art Society was repealed. I was unceremoniously banished from the group and ostracized by my peers. What started as a simple joke turned into a debacle. It took me a few years to recover from the affair, but the picture still makes me laugh, even today, despite the hardship surrounding it. What a perfect nest that top hat would’ve made.

That’s it.

The Elements: