REMAINS PROVES PERFORMANCE ART STILL HAS A PULSE
Fergus McCaffrey, NYC, July 2017
By Ian Deleón
To use the word remains is to invoke in someone associations with death, decay, and possibly even dismemberment. Generally speaking it refers to the parts left behind, once some significant change in status has taken place. That change is usually framed in terms of a negative, destructive event but of course destruction can be a kind of creation as well. The word’s linguistic ties to remaining mean that it can also convey that which lives on, or that which stays put.
In relation to the art of live performance, talking in terms of remains certainly articulates some of the finer points about post-action detritus and extended duration times, but it’s also important to address the aspect of performance art’s own supposed untimely demise. The notion that one art form or another has died at some point is pervasive in contemporary art historical discourse. Painting has died so many times it has spawned zombie movements. But that kind of makes sense, painting was old. But performance art is fairly new...at least, by some accounts.
When we talk about performance in this article we may concede to the influence of its antecedents: of the theater, of dance, of magic, of cinema, of protest. But performance art cannot be all of those things if we are going to have a productive conversation about it. It has to be its own thing, while often appearing in the guise of those other art forms. Performance wasn’t a flash in the pan either, with its death knell rung by an explosion of consumer culture, information, communication or globalization in the early 90s...NO. Performance Art is NOT dead and this exhibition is the proof––the exhumation, the surprise discovery that the remains are intact...and ALIVE.
JUST SITUATIONS - a hybrid performance conference + festival BEGINS TONIGHT IN BROOKLYN AT PANOPLY PERFORMANCE LAB
Performance art organizer-extraordinaires, Leili Huzaibah, Esther Neff and Kaia Gilje have taken on yet another enormously ambitious series of performance events which promise to "host artists and active citizens who are working in performative ways, moving beyond the trending commercialization of art “about” politics." Under the title of "JUST SITUATIONS," over 50 artists are slated to participate/perform/activate the nebulous web of un/convention. The “political science fair” (as it is also referred to by the organizers) begins this evening, Thursday, July 13th at Panoply Performance Lab, Brooklyn, NYC. JUST SITUATIONS opens their programming with specific invitations. Chloë Bass invites viewers to consider how our lives have changed since the election of the 45th president while J. COATL/KEVIN LENNY invites guests to consider how to "make space for engagement."
All events during JUST SITUATIONS are "pay-what-you can" with a sliding scale recommended donation of $5-$20. You can also support this incredible project and the participating artists on the festival's Generosity page. Full festival details are available here.