Test Run : Performance in Public – Modern Art Oxford and Ruskin Shorts

This was an exhibition running at MAO as described below my text :

I found this seminar really refreshing and it reminded me of performance as an unmediated act, very different and a contrast to the other things I am doing and thinking about ( apart from the constant link with memory …as a processing and remediating of an experience)

Anyway it was really good to hear the speakers and talk to Clare Carswell and Alex Bulghair ( I haven’t seen Alex for a long time, since we met in London with our discussion group).

Mainly this just reminded me of the immediacy of performance and how I may be able to use it at the Reading Room at some point… I had more or less forgotten about using it at a location!!!

Too much thinking…

Also on the weekend following I took part in a Hamish Fulton Walking Performance on Christ Church Meadow in Oxford along with about 30 other people and lead by Hamish Fulton, himself.

It was very useful to be part of a large group work and te behaviour of passing tourists was alos fascinationg.

Some joined in and some tried to walk through the performance as if it didn’t exist… including dragging their wheeled suitcases with them…

Then Jefford Horrigan performed a really short and sensitive piece outside St. Aldates church.

As usual it was based on Jazz and Film Noir but basically he danced tango with a tall filing cabinet… Magical.

Here is a video of him with a table in Berlin….

It, in particular, reminded me of the affective power of simple performance and try to think how to incorporate this int o my MA Work from a live point of view…

( Text copied from their website)

Modern Art Oxford presents Test Run: Performance in Public – a multidisciplinary exploration of ideas which focuses on artists who use public space specifically for performance.

Through a selection of new and historical works, Test Run examines what happens when ‘normal behaviour’ in public spaces is disrupted and how expectations of public behaviour can be exploited.

Using film and documentary material, discussions and interactive sessions, Test Run

explores the making, curating and presentation of performance in public space. Including

live performance, talks, workshops and a series of three new commissions, Test Run links

links the interior space of the gallery to public locations in Oxford’s city centre.

On Saturday 25 April, Modern Art Oxford hosted a Symposium to discuss performance art and performing in public. The presentations by artists, academics and curators were recorded and you can see the videos below.

Speakers included artists Hayley Newman, Anthony Howell and Florence Peake (whose workshop I have described in a previous post), Director of LADA Lois Kiedan and curator Nicola Lees.

Then on the Tuesday 28th there was Ruskin Shorts also at MAO which, for this year, was performance by staff, students and alumni of Ruskin.

Here is are 2  videos

There were a couple of notable performances but the one that had the most resonances for me was the one by the last artsit… I can’t find her mane but will fill in later.

She has just completed her PhD at Goldsmiths and used a very effective combination of performance( singing) with video and screen saver images.

There was also work from the Digital ? Scholarship MA?.

Will check this also, who used a Skype conversation as part of her work which was unscripted and althopugh it was clear in intention,  and use a very effective animated avatar of the performer, is for me, fell between performance infront of an audience and participation…

I’ve thought  of using this as a means of presentation but more as a participative tool, with and audience… actually without an animated avatar, but she used it to discuss some interesting contemporary theoertical ideas about art and artists, What is art? What is it for? and value..

There was also a fascinating and moving piece of spoken word b Amy Wilson, reading out descriptions of images of people from a list of official data which was haunting, partly due to the amazing delivery, which helped reinforce the repetition and the use of words instead of visual images of distressing’ pictures’ of victims of conflict.

All these very very useful in  making me rethink my ideas of performance and its relationship with documentation and liveness for my project going forwards into the future


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