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Matt Wilson

M.A. Candidate

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Hi! My name’s Matt. What’s yours? I pursue the Ridiculous. My performing arts practice collides with institutional disruption in alternate and popular spaces, through ritual, spectacle, online, nonline, the intimate and the epic. I recently presented ‘Play or Die: A Manifesto in Pursuit of the Ridiculous’ at the International Conference for The Association for the Study of Play. As Chief Ridiculous Officer at Mark Fisher Fitness in NYC, I spent 5 years disrupting the fitness industry with a pedagogy influenced by bell hooks, Paulo Friere, Charles Ludlam and Liza (with a Z). I was also a supervising clown doctor for the Big Apple Circus Clown Care Program, the first professional program of its kind in the U.S. Prior to medical clowning, I was an Emergency Medical Technician, and student at Vassar College, responding to emergencies on my unicycle (and I arrived faster than the ambulance). My legacy at Vassar is the juggling group the Barefoot Monkeys, a durational community experiment in play, assembly and sociality that continues to this day.  I've guest lectured in the Neuroscience Department here at NYU, written about medical clowning as an embodiment of transgressive play, regularly appeared on Cyberchase: For Real on PBS, and toured with Britney Spears.

Why PS @ NYU?

When you say ‘Performance Studies’, you enact a community of incredible thinkers, a body that has introduced me to so many sources of knowledge. This body (without organs) has helped me recognize, articulate and begin to frame the disparate phenomena that I have encountered in my years of performance praxis. I want to contribute to this remarkable body that uses performance and theory as a critical lens for uncovering the unasked questions. It connects my interests, my passions, my proclivities, my fetishes, my obsessions, my worldview, and my questions, and provides both a crucible and incubator to articulate, participate, and ultimately affect change.


New York University

Master of Arts Candidate - Performance Studies

New York, New York


Vassar College

Bachelor of Arts - Biophysics 

Dutchess County, New York

Other Special Tidbits

• "Medical Clowning: An Embodiment of Transgressive Play" in a special edition of the Journal of Childhood Studies, Re-thinking the Ludic: Imagining Play as Otherwise

• Emmy Award