Every two years, LIVE [LIVE International Performance Art Biennale], Vancouver’s international performance art celebration, infiltrates Vancouver to publicly display a curated survey of artists from here and afar who express themselves through the canon of ‘Performance Art’. Once again, after much diligence, we concede that this fundamental expression of our mortal coil eludes definition to remain intangible. As with food, description, no matter how eloquent, is not the same as the sensorial delight of eating. Like a Japanese notion of ‘Umami’, experiencing  a live action perhaps conjures a fifth sense. What is our attraction to Live Art? Perhaps we crave that which we can neither anticipate or expect. We have to be there. Then. There. In this place. At this time. With these people. Then it vanishes. Only traces remain. Which are just not the same as experience.

Performance art is by nature something intimate. Though a personal gesture, the artists spring their traps to snare us in their concern. By any means necessary. Live action is a fragile contract between the artist and witness. An intention may last only a few fleeting seconds or could take forever, might be witnessed by one or a thousand people, engage an informed audience in a structured venue or intervene anywhere to an accidental unsuspecting public by happenstance. In this brave new world of social engagement, bigger is not better. It is just bigger.

LIVE is on the vanguard of an exponentially growing myriad of performance art festivals and opportunities taking place throughout the world. While international in scope, performance art is grounded in fostering relationship with local community and identity. Performance art is based in the possibility of human expression, personal freedom, and empowerment to defiantly challenge established thought, behavior, history, status quo, art and politic. Where will it go from here? What is next? There are signs but there is no map. Terms of engagement will continuously change, evolve, question.

LIVE 2013 offers some artists we found on our journey. Or who found us. Be curious. Don’t miss a moment. Join us.

Randy Gledhill
Executive Director
LIVE 2013


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