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.”