The Importance Of Performance In Art

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[A] work of art born on the stage lives only for a moment, and no matter how beautiful it may be it cannot be commanded to stay with us (Stanislavski, My Life in Art, 1924). In the field of arts, performance is defined as a discipline based on the body and temporality. It has multiple genealogies; in all of them, performance is an action that pushes the boundaries set by the disciplines from which it spins off. In the context of visual arts, performance arises as part of the dematerialization of the art object, which occurs within conceptual art, where the central aspect of the piece is the action or the process of execution, rather than a tangible product. The live presence of the artist, and his or her co-existence with spectators…show more content…
In contrast, audience memory becomes devalued as subjective, inaccessible, and disappearing. However, a distinction needs to be made between performances of which there can be no living memory and recent performances where physical archives might be regarded as ‘in competition’ with surviving audience memories. With such living memories, ‘proper’ archival documentation fails to supplant memory as a valuable site of post-performance afterlife. The attempt to replace memory with proper documentations, and the belief in the archive as repository of live performance memory, fails to acknowledge the full extent of the memorial representation. For the depiction of memory as the sole trace of live performance is more than simply a description – it is not perceived by commentators such as Brook and Pavis as a problem to be overcome by employment of a better memory such as the archive: instead it is a statement that also contains a positive valuation. Eugenio Barba illustrates this: “The spectator does not consume these performances. Often s/he does not understand them or does not know how to evaluate them. But s/he continues to have a dialogue with the memories which these performances have sown deep in his/her spirit.” This is what Barba means when he writes…show more content…
Even in the case of re-done body art works the act of aestheticization can violently eradicate their political potential – and we agree that each project would have to be evaluated for its very specific modes of retrieving past acts, and within its very specific, ongoing contexts of production and

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