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Author: Sruti Bala

This book presents a study that undertakes an examination of participatory practices in contemporary theatre, performance and the visual arts, setting these against the broader social and political horizons of civic participation. It reconsiders the status of participation, with particular emphasis on participatory art both beyond a judgement of its social qualities as well as the confines of format and devising. The book attempts a cross-disciplinary discussion of participation, bringing together examples from the field of applied and community theatre, performance art and participatory visual arts. Gestures of participation in performance indicate possibilities for reconfiguring civic participation in public spaces in unexpected ways. Thus, less emphasis is laid on direct opposition and instead seeking a variety of modes of resisting co-optation, through unsolicited, vicarious or delicate gestures of participation. The book examines the question of institutional critique in relation to participatory art. It moves on to address the relationship between participatory art and the concept of 'impact'. A close examination of one workshop setting using the methodological framework of the 'theatre of the oppressed' in the context of a political party-led initiative follows. The book follows two conceptually inspired performance projects Where We Are Not? and If I Could Take Your Place? Finally, it emphasizes on how common-sense assumptions around audience participation in theatre and performance theory are called into question by the artwork's foregrounding of sleep as a mode of participation.

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Between image, act, body and language
Sruti Bala

the gestures of participatory art Conclusion: between image, act, body and language I have argued throughout this study that participatory art practices need to be understood in conjunction with the anxieties and contradictions that accompany them. Whether or not this is a formally constitutive characteristic worthy of naming as a genre is, in my view, less important than finding ways to account for and be responsive to the questions it poses. This is the place that this study departed from, yet oddly, it also the place it finds itself arriving at. For if this

in The gestures of participatory art
Sruti Bala

the gestures of participatory art 1 Gestures of institutional critique We must know what mistake to make with a specific text and must also know how to defend that mistake as the one that will allow us to live. (Spivak, 2012, p. 28) In the context of contemporary art, the concept of ‘institutional critique’ refers to the scrutiny of the power of (art) institutions through artistic means. This might include a range of artistic practices: artworks that examine the modus operandi and hidden mechanisms of the institutions they are affiliated to or implicated in

in The gestures of participatory art
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Sruti Bala

. Following decades of critical discussion in the field of participatory art, it is not entirely unfair to say that the concept has been found to have reached a point of exhaustion. Yet we are living in times when it is necessary to work towards new concepts, with nothing else to hand but hopelessly inadequate and worn-out ones. Such concepts, seemingly self-evident and clearly defined, strangely become unwieldy when described, confusing when experienced, contradictory when subject to analysis. Their inadequacy may be a consequence of their being co-opted, misused, unmoored

in The gestures of participatory art
Sruti Bala

. The foundational question of theatre’s social, cultural, political or ecological impact continues to productively preoccupy artists, scholars and critics. What are the ways in which we can think through participatory art’s impact on the world? The notion of impact in conjunction with the arts remains an imprecise and unwieldy one, yet it seems to command significant power in the way it is repeatedly summoned to justify the necessity of the arts. This 51 BALA__9781526100771_Print.indd 51 09/05/2018 16:19 the gestures of participatory art can be explained by the

in The gestures of participatory art
Sruti Bala

the gestures of participatory art 3 Unsolicited gestures of participation Gesture is always the gesture of being at a loss in language. (Agamben, 1999, p. 78) The theatre of the oppressed for women’s empowerment in India In May 2013 I spent two days as a participant-observer of a community theatre workshop for rural women leaders in the small town of Karur in Tamil Nadu, south India. The workshop was part of a year-long train-the-trainer programme using the methodology of the ‘theatre of the oppressed’, which ended shortly before the national parliamentary

in The gestures of participatory art
Sruti Bala

BALA__9781526100771_Print.indd 99 09/05/2018 16:19 the gestures of participatory art relating to intimate and individual ways of inhabiting a place as one’s home. These tasks were outlined in an elaborate diary that Issa gave to Cordero just before she boarded the flight to the Lebanon. They included instructions such as: ‘Kiss my aunt as you cup her head with your hands and give her my greetings, say: “Lina betsalem âlay ˙ kteer”’, or ‘Go with Nagham to the spot called “Balayet” where we used to play as kids, smell the soil there, take a look at the texture of

in The gestures of participatory art
Kuba Szreder

, criticising the limitations of modernist art theory, have emerged and been developed since in the context of site specificity (Kwon 2002 ), ethnographically oriented art (Foster 1995 ), the expediency of culture (Yúdice 2003 ), dialogic practices (Kester 2004; 2011 ), neo-avant-gardes (Léger 2012 ; Roberts 2015 ), collectivism (Stimson and Sholette 2007 ; WHW 2005 ), new genres of public art (Lacy 1995 ), relational aesthetics and participatory art (Bishop 2006; 2012 ; Bourriaud 2002 ), political art-activism (Malzacher 2014 ; Thompson 2012 ), durational

in The ABC of the projectariat
Sruti Bala

camping at 115 BALA__9781526100771_Print.indd 115 09/05/2018 16:19 the gestures of participatory art various everyday or representative urban locations, in public squares, in skyscrapers, in shopping malls and in school rooms. Upon arrival, they checked in by filling in a form, in which they were asked three questions about their relationship to the particular site.1 They were then provided with a tent, an air mattress, towels and a torch. Audience participation consists of the deceptively simple act of around twenty people pitching tents on the site, spending the

in The gestures of participatory art
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Amy Bryzgel

Belgrade in the 1970s were students at the time. 5 Goldberg, Performance Art , p. 214. 6 Ibid . 7 I have chosen not to include participatory art in this volume both because of space limitations and because participatory and socially engaged art invokes a different theoretical framework. 8 On 21 November 2013, a wave of protests began in Ukraine, centred around Maidan Square in Kiev. Known as Euro Maidan, demonstrators were demanding closer ties with Europe, and calling for the resignation of President Yanukovych and his government. This

in Performance art in Eastern Europe since 1960