rethinking why performance matters through the matter of performance
Performing Idea

Performing Idea

Performing Idea (2009-2010) was the first themed year of Performance Matters. It consisted of an extensive set of events and processes that investigated the shifting relations between performance practice and discourse, event and writing.

As performance and live art have had increased visibility in the worlds of art, theatre, dance and the academy, Performing Idea asked how these experimental practices signal changes in understandings of art and the world beyond. The activities pursued the multiple ways in which contemporary artists and thinkers have come to refashion the ways in which we produce and value the world of ‘ideas’.  

Performing Idea sought to explore the consequences for traditional understandings of knowledge when contemporary art actions, immaterial performances and social exchanges are routinely presented as valuable ways of knowing. The research activities asked a series of interlinked questions: What challenges do such practices present for the keepers, institutions and edifices of knowledge: the intellectuals and art arbiters, the academic institutions, and archives and libraries? Might the current forms of critical practice – of ‘creative research’ and ‘discursive events’ – represent new models of knowledge exchange and thoughtful relation, and suggest something more provisional and trans-active in the ways in which we might hold something dear?

Performing Idea
public programme

Performing Idea culminated in a programme of events at Whitechapel Gallery and Toynbee Studios, London (2-9 October 2010).

The programme comprised a set of workshops led by three internationally acclaimed artists; a five day symposium with leading writers, thinkers and artists; a sound and video archive of seminal performance lectures; and a series of new performance lectures and redos by UK and international artists.

Video extracts from the symposium events and performance lectures can now be viewed online, by navigating the column on the left. Complete video documentation of the presentations and performances can be viewed either at the Live Art Development Agency's Study Room or at the British Library.

Contributors included: Janine Antoni, Ron Athey, Anne Bean, Wafaa Bilal, Maaike Bleeker, Silvia Bottiroli, Jonathan Burrows, Gavin Butt, Cabula 6, Hélène Cixous, Augusto Corrieri, Lin Hixson, Robin Deacon, Rose English, Tim Etchells, Matthew Goulish, Adrian Heathfield, Hannah Hurtzig, Shannon Jackson, Janez Janša, Joe Kelleher, Tellervo Kalleinen, Lois Keidan, Ong Keng Sen, Bojana Kunst, Boyan Manchev, Graeme Miller, Fred Moten, Rabih Mroué, Giulia Palladini, Owen Parry, Peggy Phelan, Heike Roms, Lara Shalson, and Julie Tolentino.

Performing Idea
was supported by Visiting Arts