What is Performance art from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (Not to be confused with Performing arts.)
“Performance art is a performance presented to an audience within a fine art context, traditionally interdisciplinary. Performance may be either scripted or unscripted, random or carefully orchestrated; spontaneous or otherwise carefully planned with or without audience participation. The performance can be live or via media; the performer can be present or absent. It can be any situation that involves four basic elements: time, space, the performer’s body, or presence in a medium, and a relationship between performer and audience. Performance art can happen anywhere, in any venue or setting and for any length of time. The actions of an individual or a group at a particular place and in a particular time constitute the work.”
Message from Director / Curator LIVE 2015, Randy Gledhill
Well, there ya go. Performance art now has a definitive Wiki description, but there is no such thing as a definitive Wiki description. Wiki keeps changing and evolving over time. As does performance art. As implied, performance art, if anything, is an oxymoron. The practice revels in a bipolar state of contradiction. It is subjective and objective, defined and intangible. Rather than reveling in the spectacle of illusion, it gleefully exposes the farce. It at once explodes and implodes. It is self-critical rather than self-congratulatory. Watching is not a passive, complacent experience, nor is it an easy relationship. We are complicit. Like it or not, it is strangely rewarding. We never know just what to expect and we are always left dumbfounded by the extremes artists will go to for us. Therein lays the beauty.
Performance art, the illegitimate heir apparent of every advanced art discussion from Dada to Fluxus to Happenings and Conceptual Art, has over its finite history, reveled in controversy and confusion. The rules of engagement are always shifting and morphing to accommodate and exploit developing trends, notions of identity, and terms of engagement. In this brave new world of intention and expression anything is possible, even probable. The notion of curation presents delicious challenges. There is no map. Watch out for the pot-holes. Try to stay on the road. Or just venture out cross-country.
Welcome to LIVE 2015, the ninth edition of Vancouver’s biennial performance art celebration. LIVE has, so far, enjoyed brilliant and provocative art by some four hundred local, regional, national and international emerging, established and celebrated artists. This time, we want all the artists here together with us for the duration. Social engagement is essential. Fundamental to LIVE is building a network between artists here and elsewhere, to bridge between new talent and established mentors, and to provide forum for the public to engage with us. LIVE is determined to offer participating artists world-class facility and opportunity and to offer to our public an engaging survey of contemporary performance art. Artists everywhere crave to join us. With finite resources, we choose better over bigger.
LIVE enjoys ongoing collaboration with partner arts organizations here, nationally and internationally. This ebb and flow is built on collaboration rather than opportunity. LIVE 2015 is again between the sheets with VIVO Media Arts. We love them and they love us. VIVO offers LIVE a world-class facility and a brilliant technical support team. Stay tuned for news of other LIVE 2015 workshops, lectures and artist talks, including new initiatives with Simon Fraser University, the Western Front, Centre A and an expanded program with our friends at Open Space, Victoria featuring Guillermo Pena-Gomez and James Luna.
For this 2015 edition, LIVE is trying out a few new initiatives. Trans-art super-group La Pocha Nostra, are generously facilitating a radical opportunity for our local emerging ‘rebel’ artists. The twist is LIVE is not charging the young artists to participate, but is (through the BC Arts Council) offering them each a $150 fee. Up to 12 ‘rebels’ are selected by LPN (from over 50 proposals) for an intensive five-day workshop, culminating in a collaborative spectacle to kick off LIVE 2015. We can’t wait to see the results. Join us Sept 23 starting at 7:00PM.
VIVO Media Arts is a pioneer of the new condo-viction of arts organizations from the Vancouver core with an exciting new industrial warehouse complex in the Renfrew/Broadway neighbourhood, slightly outside the downtown radar. The City of Vancouver has leased LIVE a second warehouse facility, next door to VIVO. This means that LIVE 2015 will be a destination with both a formal performance facility and an informal cabaret-syle social space. Activities will continue throughout the day and will feature ongoing screenings, workshops, artist talks, lectures, interviews, open stage opportunities, and social engagements. Hospitalities will be intrinsic and collaborative. We invite you to come early and stay late.
Since the beginning, LIVE has promoted a virtual identity through its website and social networking. We see this as our art gallery and window to the world. People everywhere are watching and following us. Visit livebiennale.ca for all your information including schedules, happenings, locations, maps, video and photo documentation, texts, articles, artist descriptions, histories, interviews, gossip, archive, and links. Or follow us daily on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Working with LIVE is a humbling and rewarding obsession. I want to thank the various agencies, foundations, and foreign supporters for faith in us and in the performance art practice; to the LIVE Board of Directors and consultants for your selfless guidance and dedication; to our brilliant cultural workers, crew and volunteers for your dedication and collaboration; and to the participating artists. Yes, it is all about you! Welcome to LIVE 2015, I am holding my breath in anticipation…
Director / Curator LIVE 2015
Message from Associate Director, Stacey Ho
I am unable to consider this kind of art with the sort of detachment that one is supposed to bring to art. I can’t think about performance art impartially. I see one face distinct from the rest, hear a particular voice tell a particular story, while when an artist’s body moves, I feel that movement mirrored within my own limbs. Art and artist: I am consistently confusing the two. Some might say that it’s a mistake to let personal history, personality, or, most disgracefully, “the personal” bleed into the reading of a work. But it’s hard to pretend the death of an author when they are standing right in front of you. It cries out for a response, even for empathy. And I like that. It’s messy and awkward and challenging.
You can call it performance art—what I am interested in is the exchange that inevitably occurs when
living beings are placed at the centre of a work. This intermediary is temporal and experiential, shifting between artist, gesture, participant, and viewer. Each artist that I’ve worked with emphasizes different points in this delicate configuration. Some remind us that our daily actions—scratching your nose, cooking a meal, walking home from school —are imbued with larger social and historical narratives. Some take these actions and underlie the labour inherent in them. Some present a gesture as a gift, a challenge, or a simple act of conviviality. At the core of each these activities is the shaping of an experience: the consideration of its nature and its limits, the impossible gap between my experience and yours, the ineffable way in which our two realms may overlap and meet.
I am very grateful to have had this chance to work with such inspiring artists and share their work with you. I am indebted to those who have mentored and advised me over the past year, and I am in total awe of the people who continually contribute their labour and support in realizing LIVE’s program, including our board, the staff at VIVO Media Arts, our crew, technicians, and volunteers.
Welcome to LIVE 2015. Thank you for coming.
Associate Director / Curator LIVE 2015