Conference Panel Organized & Refereed

Live Art and Performance in History and the Politics of Inclusion” (double session)

Performance Studies International Annual Conference, 2012

Alpesh Kantilal Patel & Amelia Jones, Co-chairs

University of Leeds

Leeds England
June 27 - July 1, 2012

Speakers included: Jacek J. Kolasiński, Maren Blazevic, Meiling Cheng, Jane Chin Davidson, Angela Harutyunyan, Amelia Jones, Lisa Newman, Alpesh Kantilal Patel, and Sanaz Razi.

From the call for papers:

Performance, it is claimed, is more authentic than other art forms. Performance, it is also claimed, is ephemeral, always already “over,” and leaves only traces to be studied and given meaning by historians; it can never be itself beyond the moment of its original articulation.

In her important recent book The Archive and the Repertoire, Diana Taylor has polemically worked through these claims in relation to the colonial situation in Latin America, arguing that in such an overdetermined historical moment when one group dominates another through oppressive forms of military action and cultural expression, the performative “repertoire” of ritual and spontaneous local action can cut through the oppressive rhetoric of the colonists’ impulse to archive.

Taylor and others such as José Muñoz and theorists/practitioners such as Guillermo Gómez- Peña and Coco Fusco have looked toward the properties of ritual and performance as differentiating particular modes of cultural resistance and as thus entailing different ways of writing—or rewriting—history.

This panel addresses the pressing issue of live art in history in relation to these claims and arguments about how and whether performance as a medium and performances as particular practices get addressed and included in histories of art, performance, and culture in general. The recent embrace of performance art by mainstream cultural institutions, art historians, critics, and collectors in the Euro-American art world lends some urgency to exploring how or if live art is radically altering the way in which (art) history is recorded or if it is simply being absorbed into preexisting, and problematically exclusionary, institutional archives.

Our double panel will include papers and presentations (see below) from a range of disciplinary positions, from performance studies to art history, to theory/practice approaches. Papers will address two of the subthemes of the relations and determinations track — “mapping performance research” and “points of the compass.”