rethinking why performance matters through the matter of performance
Performing Idea

31 May 2010

Performing Idea laboratory


The Performing Idea Laboratory took place at Club Row, London, on the 30 April 2010.

Responding to the framework of Performing Idea, fifteen researchers and artists associated with Performance Matters presented a series of solo and collaborative works: short performances, installations, actions and presentations developed especially for the event. Cick on the associate researchers below to see their response and documentation to the works presented on the day.

To frame the works discursively, three other artists and researchers were invited to respond to set themes: Terry O'Connor (on duration), Lois Weaver (on process), and Dominic Johnson (on transmission). Videos of their responses can be viewed below.

Artstis and researchers:

Gigi Argyropoulou & Lisa Alexander (with Carlotta Scioldo)
Augusto Corrieri & Owen Parry
Mathias Danbolt & R. Justin Hunt
Danae Theodoridou (with Karen Christopher)
Ella Jean Finer
João Florêncio
Oriana Fox & Vikki Chalklin
Eeva-Mari Haikala
Pavlos Kountouriotis & Sarah Louise Spies  
Fabrizio Manco
Jungmin Song

Lois Weaver, Terry O'Connor & Dominic Johnson (respondents)


Programme of the day


Gigi Argyropoulou & Lisa Alexander (with Carlotta Scioldo)

Travelling Ideas “AN INCOMPLETE Manifesto” is a collaborative project investigating the performing idea. A manifesto is sent out to a number of people with an invitation to perform the idea of a manifesto in response. The manifesto comprises remnants of pre-existing manifestos: an assemblage of artistic intentions. We allow the manifesto to ‘perform itself’ facilitating a space for its enactment as a discourse, a set of actions, re-generated by each response. We ‘make public’ by curating-enacting the resulting series of manifestations. Is the performed idea the perceived idea? Who is performing the idea? The transmitter or the perceiver? Perhaps the ‘problem of knowledge’ with reference to performance practice is located in the ‘know-how,’ the “knowledge [of] how to do things” (Nelson). The (art) manifesto in this light could then be considered a close textual rendition to practice as discourse: it is a communication (it performs itself, it does not discuss itself). A manifesto communicates by proclaiming a set of beliefs or aesthetics attached to processes for living and/or for doing, it is not a discourse, it is an enactment – in textual form. Through this accumulated travelling and shifting from “saying” to “doing”, from “intentions” to “outcomes” to “intentions” again, ideas are performed, shared and transformed. Attach yourself to what you feel to be true. Travelling Ideas “A Manifesto” Begin Here.


Vikki Chalklin & Oriana Fox

A Community of Misfits: Re-casting Glee

This presentation is a critical reflection on the recent US TV phenomenon Glee, the musical comedy series centred on a high school singing club populated by a mixture of adolescent ‘misfits’ and stereotypical ‘popular’ kids. As a mainstream series showing greater diversity of characters than most and confronting head-on the controversial and difficult topics of disability, race, sexuality and gender politics that are usually obscured in this kind of entertainment, Glee provides a ripe opportunity to investigate stereotyping, otherness and belonging in a culture dominated by a sense of post-‘identity politics’. The discussion will focus particularly on how these serious issues are presented through the unashamed frivolity of the camp and frothy musical theatre format, and how this is utilised to great emotive effect allowing us to explore the complexities of inter-subjective connection in performance practices that bring bodies together and can create a very particular, temporal sense of community identification.

Augusto Corrieri & Owen Parry

Manifesto Swap (part 1 & 2)
Augusto and Owen have never seen or experienced each other’s performance work. Their presentations today are considered responses to each other’s practice: an attempt to imagine, construct or respond to work they have never seen.


Mathias Danbolt & R. Justin Hunt

Dear Lover is a performance-installation that attends to the relationship between writing and event, between the institutions of desire and the performative act by sealing letters and allowing them to be exchanged. These letters test the limits of the value of words to hold and care for events of desire as they were performed, are performed and might be performed, again. You are invited to watch, to listen, and to read.


Danae Theodoridou (performed by Karen Christopher)

The Words Between Us 

An empty, silent space, a table, two chairs, a paper. Two people are sitting opposite each other, exchanging written words for 10 minutes.
The words between us is a one-to one performance that deals with written language as an event by repeatedly creating collaborative written documents within its duration. The participants communicate without speech, making a space of performance that is less about what is ‘said’ and more about what is ‘written’ between them. Within its frame, ‘saying’, ‘thinking’ and ‘writing’ seem able to inhabit the same stage space as different modes of ‘doing’.
‘The words between us’ creates a written dialogue that stands between the real and the fictional; it incorporates phrases from fictional texts and gets involved in the intimacy they generate. Two people are looking at each other but they are restricted to the use of written language - both theirs and borrowed - to communicate, as if they were chatting through the Internet. How does this alter their way of thinking? How does this alter their words? How does this alter their relationship?


Ella Jean Finer

A Play For Offstage Voices is a score composed entirely of lines written to be spoken from off stage. Voices authored by well-known writers to call, shout, cry and exclaim from somewhere, above and within have been collected and choreographed into an ‘event score’ in which voices such as Beckett’s V, Lorca’s Voz and Stoppard’s voice (in the darkness) encounter each other in the marked off space they share.


João Florêncio

Post-Drag Manifesto

Trying to conceive of this laboratory’s theme of Performing Idea not as something someone does, i.e. someone is performing an idea, but rather seeing ‘performing’ as the attribute of an idea itself, i.e. ‘performing idea’ understood as an idea that performs its own being, and in line with the research I am currently undertaking as a PhD student in Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, the aim of my Post-Drag Manifesto is to trigger the performance of a new understanding of drag in the audience’s minds, a new notion of drag for the times we live in, a redefinition of drag that will see drag as, more than ever, politically urgent due to its potential as a space of experimentation with new and yet to be known modes of being. Post-Drag, then, as more than gender impersonation; post-drag as the raw force of life always already in becoming.


Eeva-Mari Haikala

Performed to camera and screened live to the audience, this performance is an attempt to shift an idea of painting to the language of performance. By this gesture I am creating a ‘painterly’ live art work in the spirit of the tableaux vivant tradition.


Pavlos Kountouriotis (performed with Sarah Louise Spies)

Accumulation Processes originates from the time when Pavlos was working for Trisha Brown. The rhythmical precision and detail of each movement underscores subtle shifts in the choreography to create polyphonic patterns between the two performers. With this, Pavlos explores how a patterned formulaic structure can construct narratives and realities and how this polyphonic pattern can become a humorous take on the nature of communication and the relationship between the two performers and the audience. The body is treated as a live archive, notating, documenting and choreo-graphing (dance-writing) in time. This archival dance accumulates not only movements, but pasts, futures and presents, references, ideas, images and styles; from Warhol, to Pet Shop Boys, from Yankees to Trafford Park...


Fabrizio Manco

Performance Dark Matter is a durational experiment for an experiential open space, inviting associate researchers/artists and members of the audience to orientate the direction of their own hearing and listening bodies. Through drawing, it builds relations within the space of the Club Row Gallery and its surrounding area, and allows for the grading and awareness of changes.
The idea for Performance Dark Matter comes from cosmology and the yet undetected condition of Dark Matter/Energy/Flow. A response to the Performing Idea Laboratory, this experiment is a metaphor, which tries to destabilise the tired dichotomy between idea and matter. The ‘dark matter’ in this case is the interconnecting ‘concreteness’ of relationships, spaces and our performing moving-listening bodies.
An audience is invited to participate in two consecutive parts: a listening walk (following specific parameters), starting from the outside of the building to the inside. Participants will then be invited to draw lines with white chalk on the costume that Fabrizio will be wearing, and/or in the space around. These marks will be the response to the sounds remembered during the walk and to the immediate listening of the space.


Jungmin Song

Dear Biscuits, Crumbling is a symptom of thirst. You may want to relieve the symptom. However this may cause side effects, such as feeling mushy. Please bear in mind that you won't be able to revert to a crumbling body once you get infected by water. Yours sincerely

Jungmin Song

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