Thursday, 20 October 2011

ruminations on performance

In the 1530’s the word performance referred to “the carrying out of a promise, duty, etc.,” Between 1590-1610s the word shifted to become “a thing performed” or “the action of performing a play”. In 1709 the word came to mean “a public entertainment”. The term Performance Art came into usage in the 1970’s.

But this is history.

The following are comments made by the artists during the salon, held in the writer’s boardroom. In reference to the previous open rehearsal in the city square during 19 October 2011, artists Adeline Bourret, Sam Belinfante and Lore Lixenburg gave their following perspectives. (Transcribed in chronological order)

“I actually did something in the square when people were not around. I was going to do some movement… with all the drumming… but when I actually saw it I thought it was part of artistic decisions. I thought actually… it is all about sound. And then I turned around and there was this empty square and I thought… It would be really great if I were standing in the middle doing some movement. Some shapes. So that is what happened for me this afternoon.” - Adeline Bourret

“For me I thought it was one of the least successful things that we have partaken in so far. I think the main reason for that, is that we contradicted stuff that we have been talking about all week –in terms of the fact that we made a performance. We were lined up a bit like a kind of a Goya painting where they are all lined up against a wall or with the guns…and then we were all there to do a performance and I properly made this all worse making the drummers (stand) in a line like that."

We were talking a lot about margins and liminati. It was really interesting that we were going to do a performance in the square but we weren’t allowed in the square. So we had to have this peripheral position and by actually straddling this position a lot of the problematics of what we were doing came to the fore and the fact of who were we actually doing this for… Were we doing this for us? For the development of the project? Or were we doing this to pander to a certain requirement or to a certain widening participation element or for/from a certain city or gallery position? We were on an uneasy position on this periphery, which was made successful by Adeline puncturing that and then going in, into the space which wasn’t the space of the performance.” – Sam Belinfante

“I think that maybe the mistake today is that we wanted to generate images to be used afterwards for the gallery. I think that is how we saw this day and tomorrow but because of how we were positioned it was very much like - this is the stage – although there were maybe invisible boundaries, they were there. That is why I was like hmm this is interesting there… I am going to do something there." (the square) – Adeline Bourret

See its funny I almost didn’t see it as performance. That is how I work a lot… - Adeline Bourret

“I think it’s about ownership of that performance and asking who are you performing for? I think tomorrow when we got to the botanic gardens I think we just got to do the same thing we would do in an empty gallery and with the kind of supplementary interest of having public engagement. That’s the kind of tension.” - Sam Belinfante

“So to make it a real rehearsal. More of a rehearsal” – Lore Lixenberg

How much of this undertaking of rehearsals operates as an attempt to initially obfuscate the notion of a rehearsal and performance yet all the while, is building a progression towards that which is familiar? That which we might be tempted to call a success? We will know more when we compare the rehearsal in the city centre to the rehearsal in the botanical gardens and in particular when we have watched the cumulative performance.

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