Week 1: From Action to Image
The first class will explore the concept of body art through the discussion of case studies by artists such as Bruce Naumann, Vito Acconci, and Klaus Rinke. We will focus on physical action as a means to generate images by evocating visual and plastic elements through ‘effort factors’: ‘Shape/Space’; ‘Tempo/Time’; and ‘Tone/Matter’. The first physical exercise will evolve around the creative exploration of the ‘Shape/Space’ factor through bodily movement.
Assignment: Using the ‘Shape/Space’ effort factor, create a performance that responds physically to a material relating to your personal universe. Document it through video/image/text/writing etc. and upload to the ECC Performance Art Workroom.
Week 2: From Action to Identity
We will start the second class with the discussion of participants’ assignments. Through an overview of case-studies from New Dance movement and Judson Dance Theatre, physical action will be examined as means for identity exploration and as an instrument to activate the audience’s sense of bodily identity. Participants will be introduced to philosophic ideas about cultural identity as embodied technique and bodily language as an essential part of cultural discourse
. In the practical segment, we will explore the ‘Tone/Matter’ effort factor through a creative task.
Assignment: Create an instruction-based performance designed to evoke in the audience an experience of the ‘Tone/Matter’ effort factor. To be presented live in Week 3.
Week 3: From Action to Reality
Following live performances and feedback, the third class examines the idea of physical action as a link to real life by using examples such as Gilbert and George’s “living sculptures”, Kounnellis’ “frozen performance”, Ontani’s “reincarnations” and Jerome Bell’s “Jerome Bell”. Students will explore the ‘Tempo/Time’ effort factor through a performance exercise.
Choose one of the following assignments: 1) Re-create your ‘Tempo/Time’ performance by adding an element of either “everyday action”, “frozen performance” or “reincarnation”, to be presented live in the next class.
2) Adapt your ‘Tempo/Time’ performance to a daily life context. Document your assignment (through video, writings, photo, images, sound) and upload it to the ECC Performance Art Workroom.
Week 4: From Action to Memory
We will start the final week with a discussion of the assignments. The theoretical component will address the idea of physical action as a bridge to memory and the concept of autobiographical performance in the work of artist Laurie Anderson. Practical exercises will build on Marylin Arsem’s work and focus on memory awakened by physical action and the analysis of materials through movement as a form of self-discovery.
For a final performance, participants are asked to choose one material relevant to them, ask a question to the material and prepare a movement based performance to make the material answer that question. They will document the performance as an autobiographical process and present it live in class.