Week 1: Introduction to site-specific performance and environmental performance art
The first week will be an introduction to the course topic and what site-specificity, space and place mean in performance art, including the “placial turn” in contemporary art and how site has become discursive as regarded by art historian Miwon Kwon. We will further discuss how to create a practice which can exist outside of institutional frames. A historical walk-through of important examples of site-specific performance art will be given, this week with a specific focus on environmental performance art. The session will end with a practical exercise which can enhance an awareness of place characteristics which helps the artist to attune to the site.
Week 2: Urban performance practices and public space performance art
In this session we will continue our investigations of “performing places” by asking what define urban and public spaces? Examples of urban, public space performance art will be given and methods are discussed. This session will further unfold methods of public engagement and how to activate audiences, which will include theoretical positions around participation (e. g. from theorist Claire Bishop). An exercise will be given to the participants: to plan a public performance intervention which includes the audience (this exercise will be discussed in week 3).
Week 3: Collaborative performance practices and relations
This session will begin with a follow up on the exercise from the previous week, and with its inclusion of audiences as participants we will enter into a discussion about collaboration in performance art. We will ask the question, what does it mean to work with others and to facilitate spaces for – and with – others? Ideas of collaborative practices will be unfolded, which include ideas of non-human agency and writing as a multiplicity (e. g. philosophers like Karen Barad, Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari will be introduced), as well as instruction-based performance art and re-performances as collaboration. We will end this session with an exercise where we are “writing a site through performance instructions”.
Week 4: Online/telematic performance art
The last week we will have a close look at online space as performance site and as a site-specific practice. Starting with a brief history of net-based art from the early 90s, and how telematic and online performance art is not a new thing (extending even beyond the rise of the World Wide Web). We will look at practical methods of doing online performance art and discuss how to “connect” remotely when the audience is behind the screen. The session will end with the development and performance of an online intervention together, activating the tools which we have collectively discussed.