This book represents the first attempt to write a comprehensive account of performance art in Eastern Europe - the former communist, socialist and Soviet countries of Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe - since the 1960s. It demonstrates performance art, which encompasses a range of genres, among them body art, happenings, actions and performance. In exploring the manifestations and meanings of performance art, the book highlights the diversity of artistic practice, moments and ways in which performance emerged, and its relationship to each country's sociopolitical climate. The book discusses 21 countries and over 250 artists, exploring the manner in which performance art developed concurrently with the genre in the West. It examines how artists used their bodies in performance to navigate the degrees of state control over artistic production and cultivate personalised forms of individual integration and self-expression of body, gender, politics, identity, and institutional critique. A comparative analysis of examples of performance art addressing gender-related issues from across the socialist and post-socialist East is then presented. The themes addressed provide local cultural and historical references in works concerning beauty, women's sexuality and traditional notions of gender. Artists' efforts to cope with the communist environment, the period of transition and the complexities of life in the post-communist era are highlighted. Artists during the communist period adopted performance art as a free-form, open-ended means of expression to give voice to concepts, relationships and actions that otherwise would not have been possible in the official realm of art.
will turn and walk fast directly away from them as soon as they start to approach the bank. Use your judgement. Keep an eye on them and take your chance to get away without being seen. Just act as if you’re getting exactly the same call as your partner. If they press their keypad, just pretend to press your keypad too. They don’t know a thing and they don’t need to know. (Blast Theory, 2011a )
City actants: urban furniture and performanceart props
The city actants include urban furniture and performanceart props situated in urban space. While Blast Theory
Performing the border and queer
rasquachismo in Guillermo
Gómez-Peña’s performance art
Where Gregory Scofield’s negotiation of the practice and habitus of
citizenship in Canada is focused on the Métis, a group whose rights
and identity have been debated and unjustly dismissed for centuries,
this chapter recrosses the 49th parallel and returns to the border
between the United States and Mexico, the site that features most
prominently in work by Mexican-
American and self-
Chicano performance artist and cultural theorist Guillermo Gómez-
The machinic city investigates the role of performance art to help us reflect on contemporary urban living, as human and machine agency become increasingly intermingled and digital media is overlaid onto the urban fabric. This is illustrated by several case studies on performance art interventions from artists such as Blast Theory, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and Rimini Protokoll, which draw from a rich history of avant-garde art movements to create spaces for deliberation and reflection on urban life and to speculate on its future. As cities are increasingly controlled by autonomous processes mediated by technical machines, the performative potential of the aesthetic machine is analysed, as it assembles with media, Capitalist, human and urban machines. The aesthetic machine of performance art in urban space is analysed through its different – design, city and technology actants. This unveils the unpredictable nature and emerging potential of performance art as it unfolds in the machinic city, which consists of assemblages of efficient and not-so-efficient machines. The machinic city pays particular attention to participation, describing how digitally mediated performance art interventions in urban space foreground different modes of subjectivity emerging from human and machine hybrids. This highlights the importance of dissensus as a constitutive factor of urban life and as a means of countering machinist determinism in present and future conceptualisations of city life.
Unlimited action concerns the limits imposed upon art and life, and the means by which artists have exposed, refused or otherwise reshaped the horizon of aesthetics and of the practice of art, by way of performance art. It examines the ‘performance of extremity’ as practices at the limits of the histories of performance and art, in performance art’s most fertile and prescient decade, the 1970s. This book recounts and analyses game-changing performance events by six artists: Kerry Trengove, Ulay, Genesis P-Orridge, Anne Bean, the Kipper Kids and Stephen Cripps. Through close encounters with these six artists and their works, and a broader contextual milieu of artists and works, Johnson articulates a counter-history of actions in a new narrative of performance art in the 1970s, to rethink and rediscover the history of contemporary art and performance.
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.
Chantal Akerman was one of Europe's most acclaimed and prolific contemporary directors, who came to prominence with Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, and 1080 Bruxelles. Her family history is intimately bound up with the horrors of the Holocaust. Akerman was born in Brussels on 6 June 1950, the first child of Jewish Polish immigrants who settled in Belgium in the late 1930s. Filmmaking, for her, was an imaginative and creative engagement with the silence that weighed heavily on her childhood. Behind the multiple guises of Akerman, this book seeks to present a cinema that crystallises questions that are at the heart of our post-war, post-Holocaust, post-feminist sensibility. It identifies the characteristics of her avant-garde work of the 1970s, the period most closely influenced by American structuralist film and performance art. The book surveys her work in the following decade in the context of post-modernism, the new aesthetic of kitsch and the emergence of a new hedonism in Western critical discourses. It is dedicated to her documentary work of the 1990s and 2000s, which sheds light on the central ethical and aesthetic concerns behind her work. The book discusses her attempts to penetrate into the mainstream, her renewed engagement with the themes of love and desire, and her further exploration of the permeable boundaries between autobiography and fiction. What emerges forcefully in Akerman's cinema, is a persistent engagement with the forms and conditions of human existence.
Artists working in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe during the communist period adopted performanceart as a free-form, open-ended means of expression to give voice to concepts, relationships and actions that otherwise would not have been possible in the official realm of art or in the public sphere. In the post-communist period, artists continued to embrace the experimental nature of performance. They have likewise utilised performanceart to articulate issues of concern, including those related to national and other forms of identity that have
Legacies of the Magdalen Laundries brings together a range of perspectives on Magdalen history, experience, and representation and, indeed, institutionalisation in Ireland. It attends to many different manifestations of the lives and afterlives of institutional systems. The contributors seek to understand how these systems operated and how, after their closure, they have been remembered by varied stakeholders from survivors to artists to politicians. The Magdalen Laundries provide a focus for the volume as they potently illuminate the distinct social experience for vulnerable women in modern Ireland. Magdalen history brings to the fore the contested nature of institutional history, the particular attitudes towards women that saw them incarcerated (many for life), and the equally gendered attitudes that underpin the ways this history was first repressed then, more recently, commemorated. The laundries did not exist in a vacuum: they were part of a network that included Industrial Schools and Mother and Child Institutions. Given the proliferation of institutions, it is startling to note that investigations of Irish institutional history have lacked intersectionality – so alongside an examination of the history and remembrance of the Laundries, this volume considers the wider institutional context to demonstrate the broader dimensions of Ireland’s postcolonial carceral history. To understand this history we must see these institutions, and the women and children incarcerated in them, not as exceptional cases but as expressions of social attitudes that viewed vulnerable members of the population as morally suspect, a ‘problem’ to which the state, church, and citizenry responded through mass institutionalisation.
Through the author’s invocation of the figure Jugoslovenka (Yugoslav woman), this book reveals feminist performance politics in art and culture to be central to socialist Yugoslavia and traces that feminist legacy to the contemporary post-socialist era. The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1945–1992) provides one of the most intriguing examples of women’s emancipatory power during twentieth-century socialism. The most politically West-leaning of all the socialist countries during the Cold War, Yugoslavia became a place where women enjoyed extraordinary legal rights and social mobility, including access to education and labor mobility. The book tells this remarkable story of women’s emancipation during socialism, and also highlights its importance during and after the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s. Theorizing the concept of Jugoslovenka as the radical embodiment of Yugoslavia’s antifascist, transnational, and feminist legacies, this book offers analyses of celebrated and lesser-known artists from the 1970s until today, including the now legendary performance artist Marina Abramović, along with stories of female snipers, music legends Lepa Brena and Esma Redžepova, and contemporary feminist artists forced to live in the Yugoslav diaspora during/after the wars. Based on archival work, interviews, and in-depth visual analyses, this book tells the unique story of Yugoslav women’s resistance through the intersection of feminism, socialism, and patriarchy in visual culture. Discussing multiple media, such as war photographs, music videos, samizdat publications, performance and conceptual art, along with traditional paintings and film, the book will serve as an invaluable resource for researchers of women’s cultural work in the region.