Collecting, Archiving and Sharing Performance and the Performative
http://data.open.ac.uk/ahproject/project/F0DE9B2B-9ADE-470D-A7A0-401A3A292024
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Has principal investigator Gabriella Giannachi
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Impact Who will benefit from the research? 1) The general public. 2) The artists whose work is represented in the archive. 3) Other artists. 4) Other museums and galleries. 5) Tate. How will they benefit? 1) The general public: the public will benefit by being able to access the rich history of performance work at Tate as an online archive, and read about the project findings in the archive and blog (the archive will also have a set of longer essays aimed at the general public). The experience of the project, The Gallery of Lost Art, which was part-funded by the AHRC, was that there was enormous public enthusiasm for recovering the stories of 'lost' or no longer extant works through studying the material traces of the work's existence. We feel that the planned website will help restore to public consciousness a large swathe of works and events that risk being entirely forgotten or misunderstood. The public will also be encouraged to develop and add secondary forms of documentation to records generated by Tate and by the commissioned artists through the blog. These will be further disseminated via social media, hence potentially reaching audiences who are not currently engaged with the museum. Tate Online, the UK's number two website in the Hitwise 'arts' category for 2011-12, was fully redesigned in 2012 to ensure Tate will continue to attract and engage global audiences. 2) The artists whose work is represented in the archive: this user group will benefit by having a public record of their performance work at Tate published in an archive. There is currently no publicly available archive of this work. 3) Other artists: this user group will be able to utilise the online archive to learn about the lineage of performance work at Tate. They will also be able to learn and experiment with performance documentation strategies that might in turn help them to create legacies of their own practice. 4) Other museums and galleries: this user group will benefit from the fact they would familiarise themselves with Tate's curatorial practices over performance and performativity and their documentation over the years, and learn about and/or experiment with the use of novel approaches to performance documentation which might feed back into their own curatorial and preservation practices. A framework built through research developed by the project in consultation with different departments at Tate, including Learning and Copyright, is directly targeting this user group. 5) Tate: Tate will benefit because it will be able to investigate, archive, curate and make public a substantial and yet still under-researched body of its own work spanning over 50 years and including more than 100 artists. By developing new strategies to capture, document and replay live and born digital performance and performativity, including the user experience, a legacy of the curation of performance at Tate will be created for future generations. Findings about performance documentation, including the capture and documentation of the user experience, are likely to affect Tate's future collection, preservation and documentation policies. Finally, a focus on the capturing of the user experience, and the embedding of performativity and performance within canonical displays, is expected to lead to novel ways to curate performance work and manage its collection at Tate, something that the museum is keen to develop.
Status Active
Identifier AH/L003740/1
abstract 'Collecting, Archiving and Sharing Performance and the Performative' aims to research, document and disseminate performance at Tate from the 1960s to today by studying practices of collecting, displaying, documenting, publishing and sharing information about performance. The project also aims to study audience engagement by exploring novel ways of recording and interpreting user responses to performance and embedding these in Tate's displays. It is a collaboration between the Centre for Intermedia at the Department of English at the University of Exeter and two departments at Tate - Tate Research and Tate Online - in consultation with Tate's Digital Learning Department and its Copyright Department and collaborating with Tate's curator for performance. The project is especially timely because of Tate's opening of the Tanks, the 'first spaces dedicated permanently to live art installation and performance in any museum building anywhere in the world' (Sir Nicholas Serota, BBC, 23/4/2012). The outputs include an innovative online archive, an edited book, a project documentation blog, a workshop, a conference and two articles. Performance at Tate originated in the 1960s when performative works were acquired by Tate and a number of early performance works and talks were hosted by the education department. In the intervening decades more performative works were acquired and a number of exhibitions and events staged. After 2003, and with the introduction of Tate Live and then the Tanks, Tate's programming of performance became more systematic, and an increasingly diverse range of documents, including films, photographs, texts from programmes, artist statements and correspondences were collected for over 200 performances of artists such as Merce Cunningham, Joan Jonas, Christian Marclay, Surasi Kusalwong, John Cage, Trisha Brown, Carlos Amorales, Cai Guo Qiang, the Guerrilla Girls, Sung Hwan Kimn and Suzanne Lacy, to name but a few. Some works included live performance; others were born digital, but still performative, like Argentinean born artist Pablo Bronstein's Constantinople Kaleidoscope (2012), an entirely new work made especially for the Performance Room, which involves a group of dancers on a trompe l'oeil stage set that exaggerates the perspective of the room. Some had audiences, others were interactive and user-led, like Pawel Althamer's Film 2000, a performance trailer for a film that is never made which requires actors famous in a given part of the world (in the UK Jude Law) to perform in a location related to the museum. Some were documented extensively, by well-known photographers, like Martin Creed's installation in which 50 participants run through Tate Britain, which was photographed by Hugo Glendinning in 2008. Others, like Tino Sehgal's This is Propaganda (2002, and acquired by Tate in 2005) have no 'conventional' documentation in that the artist suggests that the work is taught to two members of the museum staff on acquisition who are charged with its remembrance. The result is an unrivalled collection of performance materials yet to be fully exploited. It is expected that the Tanks will generate a greater public appetite for and interest in performance, and increasingly involve audiences ('There is an incredible appetite for participation', Chris Dercon, Tate Modern Director, BBC, 23/4/2012). Tate's renewed and increased commitment to a performance programme, including the production of born digital 'live' work, requires that Tate now looks back at what it has established curatorially throughout the years, whilst also looking forward at developing new curatorial strategies for performance, including the development of multiple, interdisciplinary and participatory methodologies for performance documentation to ensure that the new commissions in the Tanks and elsewhere at Tate can effectively generate future legacies at Tate and, through the generation of a best practice framework, beyond.
Type Project
Label Collecting, Archiving and Sharing Performance and the Performative
homepage http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk:80/projects?ref=AH%2FL003740%2F1
Title Collecting, Archiving and Sharing Performance and the Performative

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