rethinking why performance matters through the matter of performance
3. Potentials of Performance

Performing Idea

Performing Idea (2009-2010) was an extensive set of events and processes that investigated the shifting relations between performance practice and discourse, event and writing. New performance works and critical and creative exchanges between leading international figures in the performance studies field were staged as part of this investigation.

Through these processes we asked a series of interlinked questions: What is the cultural status of performance these days and why has it recently become revivified and re-valued by art institutions and by the academy? Does the turn towards ad hoc, itinerant, relational and participatory art practices – always the ground of performance and live art – indicate a profound shift in the cultural value of art towards the immaterial and the social? Or is all of this just a flash in the pan? Do these changes in what art is, or what art might be, indicate a different understanding of how we come to interpret and know the world itself? If art actions and performances and social exchanges are valuable ways of knowing, what does this say about what we used to call knowledge? What does this mean for the keepers, institutions and edifices of knowledge: the intellectuals and art arbiters, the academic institutions, the archives, libraries and publications? How are artists, thinkers and writers re-conceiving their identities and relations in this context? What place can dialogue occupy within a creative process, a performance realisation or a critical investigation? To what extent does the ‘performative turn’ of critical theory represent a paradigmatic shift in cultural criticism, and in the nature of knowledge formation? Might the current forms of critical practice – of ‘creative research’ and ‘discursive events’ - represent new models of knowledge exchange, thoughtful relation and shared value? Might the embodied, affective and reciprocal operations of live work suggest more provisional and trans-active ways in which we might hold something dear?

 

Performing Idea documentation

Documentation of the Performing Idea activities is available online and includes text, photo and video extracts. To view them click here.

Full video documentation of the Performing Idea public programme 2-9 October 2010 is available at the Live Art Development Agency's Study Room and at the British Library.

What is the cultural status of performance and why has it recently become re-valued by art institutions and by the academy?