Redux : Speakers : Cara Davies

Cara Davies is currently undertaking her PhD research as part of Performing Documents. She is a performance artist and hobbyist archivist. Activating an interdisciplinary approach to practice-led research, Cara’s praxis re-thinks the construction, use and dissemination of performance documentation and archives as works of live art. Artistically her practice focuses on issues of archival lacunae, re-presentation of documentation in performance, re-documentation of documents and the juxtaposition of the live and documented body. Challenging how these processes impart a fragmented understanding of identity, memory and bodily experience, Cara’s work spans a range of mediums including dance, video, live art, multi-media installation, online broadcasting and social engaged itinerant performance. Cara is a selected Escalator: Live Art Artist (2011), whose solo work has been presented in Cyprus, Spain, Utrecht, Finland and Turkey.

Cara spoke on her practice-led research project Instability in Stability. She writes:

Instability in Stability is a practice-led research project exploring how strategies for archive construction and maintenance can be activated as a live artwork and digitally-mediated performance. The work challenges how the processes of performance, documentation and archiving inter-relate, inviting a virtual audience into the private and personal space of my loft, my past and my creative working process. The outcome has been a research-project, which simultaneously generated a physical, object-based archive and a digital archive, with an online portal to house documentation of the project’s creation. On a personal level the project examines my own bodily experiences, memories and identity, considering how I wish to disseminate who I am and where I come from to an online audience, who are also encouraged to answer the same questions about their own life experiences and relationship to the objects they stow away. As an extension of the project, the presentation Instability in Stability will look at how the project’s research questions, outlined above, can be explored in a symposium scenario, reactivating the performance constructs with in this new context.


Instability in Stability was funded by Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts award and is supported by Colchester Art’s centre Escalator Live Art scheme and the University of Bristol’s Performing Documents research project.

Redux : Keynote Speaker : Amelia Jones

Between now and 8 December, we are introducing the speakers for the Redux symposium at Arnolfini. To book tickets for the symposium, click here.

Amelia Jones is Professor and Grierson Chair in Visual Culture at McGill University in Montréal. She is the author of a number of books including Postmodernism and the En-Gendering of Marcel Duchamp (1994), and Body Art/Performing the Subject(1998), Irrational Modernism: A Neurasthenic History of New York Dada(1994), Self-Image: Technology, Representation, and the Contemporary Subject (2006) and Seeing Differently: A History and Theory of Identification and the Visual Arts (2012). Her research is also at the forefront of the surge of interest in retrieving histories of feminist art and histories of performance or live art practices from the 1960s and 1970s. She has published major essays on feminist curatorial practices as well as an article on Marina Abramović’s recent projects re-enacting body art works from the past and staging herself as an artwork (in The Drama Review, Spring 2011).  Her new book, co-edited with Adrian Heathfield, Perform Repeat Record: Live Art in History (Intellect Press, 2012) includes a range of primary documents, artist’s projects, and academic articles examining the issues surrounding historicizing ephemeral, live art practices.

Jones’s keynote presentation is titled ‘Performance Art as a “Redoing” of the Self’. She writes:

This paper looks at the history of self-imaging practices in the visual arts from renaissance self portraiture to postmodern performative photographs, noting that self-imaging is a form of the reiterative performance (and representation) of the self. The meanings and significance of such practices vary from artist to artist and in different contexts. By the post-1960 period self-imaging and performance art had become intimately related. For the latter part of the paper, focussing in particular on the work of Lynn Hershman and Nao Bustamante, I argue that the most interesting performance practices since 1960 are those that occupy the fold between what Diana Taylor calls the “repertoire” of embodied action and what she calls the institutionally compiled and ideologically complicit “archive.” That is, they perform their bodies but in ways that point to the always already mediated (and potentially archival) nature of embodiment and selfhood, undermining the still dominant tendency in the art and performance worlds to wish for or believe in the possibility of performing a body and self that could be experienced as completely “repertorial”–as irrefutably “present” and so “authentic.”


Redux : Speakers : Andrew Quick

Between now and 8 December, we are introducing the speakers for the Redux symposium at Arnolfini. To book tickets for the symposium, click here.

Andrew Quick studied English and Philosophy at Newcastle University and trained as a theatre director at the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff in 1984. Having worked professionally in making and touring experimental performance, he returned to academic study in 1989, completing a PhD investigating the histories and languages of contemporary British experimental performance at Bristol University. He has been teaching at Lancaster since 1991, where he is currently the Director of the Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts (LICA). Together with Professor Elaine Aston he established the Centre for the Advanced Study of Contemporary Performance Practice in 2004 with funds from Lancaster University (CASCPP)). Quick is also a founder member of imitating the dog, an Arts Council funded performance company that tours nationally and internationally. His academic work is closely bound up with contemporary art practices and much of his writing on performance, photography and installation investigates concepts of space, play, documentation, scenography and performance ethics. He has edited a number of significant publications and has contributed chapters and articles to many books and journals on performance and related art practices. His major publications include The Wooster Group Work Book (Routledge 2007), Hotel Methuselah in Theatre in Pieces (Methuen 2011), Kellerman (Presses Universitaires du Mirall, 2011). He also co-edited Shattered Anatomies (ArnolfiniLive, 1997), Time and Value (Blackwell, 1998) and On Memory (Routledge, 2000).

For Redux, Quick will be giving a paper titled ‘The Patina of Performance: Theatre as Living Archive’. He writes:

This paper explores the marks left by the processes of performance making and how these marks score the event of performance itself.  Particular attention will be paid to the way in which the performed interaction with the archive operates in the work of The Wooster Group.  The paper will also map out how theatre is always marked by the archive and how it is always archival.  I will also reflect on the ways in which this archival fever is intrinsically connected to my own practice with imitating the dog.

Redux : Speakers : Claire MacDonald

Between now and 8 December, we are introducing the speakers for the Redux symposium at Arnolfini. To book tickets for the symposium, click here.

Claire MacDonald is an independent writer whose work focuses on two areas: the crossovers and intersections between art, writing and performance, and the cultural history of creative practice. During the three decades since she co-founded Impact Theatre Co-operative in Leeds in 1978, she has been a theatre maker, university teacher, critic, playwright, performer, writer, editor, yoga teacher and practice based researcher. She now writes about artists across the spectrum of the visual arts and performance, is a founding editor and consultant editor to Performance Research and a contributing editor to PAJ: a Journal of Performance and Art. This year she returned to performance in a collaborative work with Charlotte Vincent, Traces of Her, and has recently written about Graeme Miller’s theatre work, Martha Wilson’s archive, the history of collaboration in UK live art and performance and John Cage’s transatlantic crossings. Her three Utopia plays are due out in a new edition from Intellect books, and she is currently at work on Art and Life: the Making of Dartington.

For Redux, she will be presenting ‘Performing with Ghosts’. She writes:

How does returning to work we made a long time ago get us to think about the narrative of our own bodies — and those of others — in performance? What does reconsidering our bodies tell us about time, change and, possibly, death? What is the relationship between archive and repertoire in our bodily histories, and how does the concept of return ask us to think about changing notions of what it means to be an artist, over a lifetime? This talk returns to works in my own past: The Carrier Frequency, made by Impact Theatre in 1984 and addressed in my recent work with Charlotte Vincent, and my Utopia texts, written between 1987 and 2008.

Blast Theory : Jog Shuttler : Work-in-Progress

Blast Theory‘s Jog Shuttler was commissioned by Performing Documents and will be installed at Arnolfini for the Redux symposium from 8 December.

Redux : Speakers : hancock & kelly

Between now and 8 December, we are introducing the speakers for the Redux symposium at Arnolfini. To book tickets for the symposium, click here.

hancock & kelly is the collaborative project of artists Richard Hancock and Traci Kelly. Since 2001, they have collaborated on an internationally acclaimed body of work spanning performance, choreography, video, photography, installation, and text; continually asked questions of where the limits of the body may be drawn, and separated from the knowledge and questions with which they are enmeshed. Issues of materiality, value, and embodied knowledge have been pivotal to the complex critical and aesthetic dialogues they undertake. Their practice moves fluidly between ‘live’ and ‘object-based’ work, and the resulting pieces have been a series of visceral and queer encounters, both moving and spectacular.

hancock & kelly have performed and exhibited at venues and event such as the National Review of Live Art, UK (2005, 2007, 2009), the Spill Festival of Performance, UK (2007), Performance Space, Australia (2007), Museu de Évora, Portugal (2009), and the Granary, Ireland (2007).

For Redux, they will give a presentation titled ‘Lone Duets’. They write:

Between 2005 and 2008, hancock & kelly collaborated on a series of 6 solo performances, titled *Lone Duets*.  The series functioned as both a challenge to their collaborative methodologies, and as an explicit invocation of the other as source material.  This presentation will focus on video documentation from the live performances, and a discussion of the role that each piece played in the creation of the subsequent works.

Redux : Speakers : Terry O’Connor

Between now and 8 December, we are introducing the speakers for the Redux symposium at Arnolfini. To book tickets for the symposium, click here.

Terry O’Connor has been part of Sheffield based Forced Entertainment, since 1986. In 2009 she received an AHRC Creative Fellowship at Roehampton University, exploring collaborative methodology through the research project Say the Word. She was appointed Professor in Contemporary Theatre and Performance Practice at the University of Sheffield in 2011.

For Redux, she will be giving a presentation titled ‘Like/unlike’. She writes:

I’ve been thinking about process as a continuous archiving of sorts, a sifting of moments that we like, or don’t like, moments that are like or unalike other things we’ve seen, done, read or imagined. Thinking also about the selectivity of archive in other ways, as I trawl London, looking for a copy of Can’s The Lost Tapes. In this edit of 30 hours of archived but forgotten documentation of their sprawling experimental methodology, the process becomes the exclusive, the rare (costly) collectors item. Wondering about the promise of  completion in archive, the complete collection or the Borgesian library, that promise of an infinitely open and generative store shifting kaleidoscopically, moment by moment, yielding something particular at every point of contact.

Redux : Speakers : Amanda Coogan

Amanda Coogan is a performance artist at the forefront of some of the most exciting and prolific durational performances to date. She has studied at a multitude of art institutions, including Hochschule für Bildende Kunste, Germany, under the self-acclaimed “grandmother of performance art,” Marina Abramović and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Ulster.
She is to the forefront of live, durational performance presented in the gallery as live exhibition. Her practice involves communicating ideas through longitudinal performance. Her expertise lies in her ability to condense an idea to its very essence and communicate it through her body. Her work often challenges the expectations of discernible context, such as head banging to Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, and signing the lyrics to Gill Scott-Heron’s ‘The Revolution will not be Televised. Her extraordinary work is challenging, provocative and always visually stimulating. Represented by the Kevin Kavanagh Gallery, Dublin, Coogan exhibits her work internationally and was awarded the Aillied Irish Bank’s Art prize in 2004.

For Redux, Coogan will be giving a presentation titled ‘Yellow once, Yellow twice, Yellow three times…oh lady!’ Coogan’s presentation will focus on her 2010 project Yellow-Reperformed. Taking a micro approach, Coogan looked to her solo live performance Yellow as the starting point for a re-performance project. This durational live performance was taken outside of the artist’s body and offered to five performers to remake. Coogan will present her journey of mining this embodied, improvisational, durational work.

She writes:

After 47 hours of live performance of Yellow, the first question of this project was how to ‘handover’ the work to be re-made by other performers? Through a process of posthumous reflective diaries I drew up a three lined script as the basis of a handover document:


Tableau Vivant – Performer is present before audience enter space. Audience is free to come and go.
Performer sits on top of bucket, back straight.

1. Performer submerges skirt inbetween legs into water. Pulls out material. Rubs material together in 8/8 time. Bubbles arbitrarily form.

2. Performer holds scrubbed material out to audience. Looks audience in the eye. Resubmerges material into water. Continues scrubbing in 8/8 time.

3. Performer wrings material, from bottom to top forming a crown of bubbles at tip. Blow bubbles off tip. Take tip in mouth. Bite material. Stand up holding material in teeth. Bare teeth and shake head.

Repeat loop, sequence variable. Duration: 4 hours.

Sunflower yellow dress, shirt collar, short sleeves,  4 gold buttons down the front, gold belt. Skirt of dress is volumous, stretching to 5 meters in length.

White bucket, placed center, the seat and site of action.
Bucket filled to the top with water and bubble bath.
Bucket holds 80 litres of water.

Bubble bath for bucket = 1litre of Sailor Matey brand.
Bubble bath for skirt = 500ml of Mermaid Matey brand, poured into lap.

Room dimly lit, bucket/performer area simply spotlit.

Apart from these instructions this project was open to elements of controlled instability in live presentation. I did not want these re-performances to be reproductions. Yellow, I knew as the artist and maker, incurred endurance; the performer is wet for the majority of the performance leading to a cold body shock. The ‘flow’ of the performer’s presentation is dynamically interrupted by this distinct instability.

Is Yellow-Reperformed just another contemporary artists project with its sights on an appointment with destiny? This was an opportunity to draw other performers into the work, expanding a unique containable singular to a series of interpretations and appropriations. The process of handing over the work also prized open of a work of improvisational, durational, endurance based and embodied practice. It inserts the artist/performers voice into the historicization of the work. But significantly, I will contend, this re-performance project became a form of appropriation art, facilitating a number of subsequent artworks that sprung from the project of the live re-performance of Yellow.

Redux : Speakers : Graeme Rose

Between now and 8 December, we’ll be introducing the speakers for the Redux Symposium. To learn more about the symposium and to book tickets, click here.

Graeme Rose is a performer/theatre-maker and co-founder of  glory what glory, Stan’s Cafe and The Resurrectionists (now producing in Adelaide as Various People). He is an Associate Artist with Bodies in Flight, has been a regular collaborator with Red Shift & Talking Birds and has created shows with Insomniac, Imitating the Dog and Kindle Theatre. He has supervised devised performance modules at the Universities of Birmingham, Bristol and Hull.

Ongoing performance projects with Stan’s Cafe include OF ALL THE PEOPLE IN ALL THE WORLD (The Rice Show), THE CARDINALS and THE ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY. He is a member of circuit-bending curios The Modified Toy Orchestra and has recently directed Kindle Theatre’s THE FURIES, a glam-rock operetta based on Aeschylus’s revenge tragedy.

Graeme will be giving a talk titled ‘rekindling the old flame, prodding the wound’. He writes:

At their best they catch you in a passionate whirl, and are all-consuming;

at worst they are a fumble in the dark, best forgotten about.

Shows are love affairs. Intense comings-together of the elements;

to be toyed with, writhed-over (or perhaps hurried out of the door).

They are a chance concoction of persons, a place and a moment in time, never to be repeated…


Until, that is, they call you out of the blue and find you in a moment of weakness…

Redux : Speakers : Dominic Johnson

Between now and 8 December, we will be introducing all the speakers for the Redux symposium. To learn more about the event and to book tickets, please visit the Performing Documents homepage.

Dominic Johnson is a Senior Lecturer in the School of English and Drama, Queen Mary, University of London. He is the author of Glorious Catastrophe: Jack Smith, Performance and Visual Culture (2012) and Theatre & the Visual (2012); and editor of Franko B: Blinded by Love (2006), and Manuel Vason: Encounters (2007). His edited book Critical Live Art: Contemporary Histories of Performance in the UK is forthcoming in 2013. His performances have been presented at venues in the UK including National Portrait Gallery (as part of Gay Icons), SPILL Festival (as part of Visions of Excess), SACRED at Chelsea Theatre, Gay Shame and Torture Garden, Fierce Festival, and National Review of Live Art; and internationally, in Austria, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, France, Italy, Slovenia, and the US.

For Redux, Johnson will be speaking about his own performance work, and placing the issues that arise in a broader cultural context. He writes:

I have performed a solo performance called “Transmission” more than twenty times since 2007. This has involved remaking and revising the piece for a range of venues including live art festivals, clubs, black box theatres, white cube galleries, and a museum. It has been presented in various forms including as a short performance, a longer performance, and as a “double bill” with Ron Athey. Most recently, I “relinquished” the performance, imposing it upon a collaborator’s body. My presentation will explore the origins and imperatives of “Transmission”, and the mutations and transformations that it has endured in the various venues and forms it has encountered. The performance hopefully will act as a case study of how an archival event or object begins, lives, grows, and travels — and as a trigger for some notes on how this particular event might draw upon broader contexts and cultural histories.