Unlikely Air Guitarists: Past and Present

As I mentioned previously, part of my research involves following air guitar outside of its competitive iterations. This means thinking through air guitar as a metaphor and spontaneous gestural practice. I’ve amassed a bunch of images of these kinds of spontaneous acts, some of which uses props (and thus don’t seem to be quite “air guitar” or “there guitar”).

Here’s Chicago White Sox player, Al Simmons, playing his bat at a game in 1933:



And here is Marcel Proust (c. 1892) making an air instrument out of his tennis racket:


Back when the played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Lebron James played a little air guitar on the side:



All three appear to be smiling, which indicates a kind of performative facade employed for the photo op.


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