following up on the links we had today, i pluck from both articles a couple of questions:
a) Jen Ortiz.
By definition, performance art is transitory. It’s sometimes
spontaneous. It’s often interactive. And it’s always an experience. It
isn’t, however, a tangible object like, say, a painting, sculpture or
even a string of musical chords on paper. And so, we’re left with a
perplexing question: can performance art ever be bought? In other words,
is it possible for a piece to be “owned” by anyone other than the artist
once the performance is over?
Can performance art be collected or reproduced and still maintain its original message and ephemerality?
b) Oliver Basciano
Watch this web space: online art beamed straight to your desktop
>>Sleeping Upright recently commissioned works for exhibition both on the web and at the Nottingham Contemporary gallery. The results ranged from the Hannah Perry's uncomfortable looping of a passionate kiss, to Leslie Kulesh's mesmeric relaxation-tape pastiche. The digital works it hosts are offered up for sale, with buyers having the website URL rights transferred to their ownership....
Not all of the current web-based art projects are concerned with posterity. Bubblebyte.org hosts a series of solo shows – like the current exhibition of psychedelic digital drawing by Travess Smalley – for a finite time, before leaving only the private view invitation (yes, they host online private views) as proof of the show's earlier existence... Miss the show and it's gone forever?
So I began watching Hannah Perry's clip in the "Reception Area" of 'Sleeping Upright' -- a short loop, on my laptop.
It is silent, I might keep it running in the background while writing this. It might be intriguing to reflect on the performance of kissing, and on the short clip now looped online, perhaps downloadable, keepable, reproducible and re-mashable.
The performance is not gone, it was shot and edited. Most so-called ephemeral performance art events, if we know of them, were recorded or produced or documented for posterity or continuity, and some artists perfected this (even without thinking of "selling" at the time) as a form of serial production: e.g. Tehching Hsieh's long time performances.
I knew of Tehching Hsieh from a few photographs. But it was not until the exhibit and book launch of Adrian Heathfield's catalogue (produced with Tehching Hsieh) in London  -- Out of Now: The Lifeworks of Tehching Hsieh -- that I gathered and marveled at the extent of careful production applied by this almost forgotten and overlooked Taiwanese-American artist to his performances and their capture. I am not sure what word to use, as 'capture' only indicates the method of "collecting" evidence of time passing that he devised, while the book itself is a beautiful Warholian serial performance on pages , in print, in itself, thus disseminating or reproducing what was once a time-based action. The book is collectible, and thus in extension the performances. They could also (if one were to mimic the marvelously controversial and collection-driven Marina Abramovic, who bought up a former cinema in some small town in upstate NY to archive her work) be re-performed, perhaps by younger art students, i.e. re-cast.
Esther's monoprints are very interesting examples of a kind of serial post/re-production as well, and one might also imagine the prints (or other-platformed "choreographic objects" and variations/descriptors and rearrangements, i think the music world and sampling have given us the most un/ 'stable' model of all of this perhaps, even though there surely are antecedents in painting as well) to have been the objective of the performance, such as Ana Mendieta's photographs of her unwitnessed performance-actions & rituals -- unwitnessed except by the camera or capture system of course. What is the object of performance?
Are there many "things" to collect then, if we are addressing such mediated and remediated/reversioned art forms or productions, and some of them of course (site specific ones, for example) would need to include contextual sampling and recapture? And how do you collect durational work.
How to capture slow space and decelerated movement, how to get inside a butoh dance? It would interest me to hear someone practicing butoh speak about a loop (short 8 second slip) or a butoh movement appearing on line and downloadable. What would it be? I am sure it can be done, but one might here have to address the question of the scarcity of the work and its artistic qualities mentioned by Esther, or its shareability (as objective).
(Trans)Cultural contexts of discussing the durational and a consciousness of body-mind or somatic/performance practices or spiritual practices may also have to be dealt with, if you wish to consider dream time and practices (also butoh or body weather derived) that are deeply connected to the land or specific location and consciousness of the transient and producible ephemerality, and the sacred.
I think the Hans-Ulbricht Obrist story, of going to Beijing and reading out his neo-retro futurist manifesto on "post-hastism", is probably not really relevant, so I won't bore you with it - it struck my attention only as i was involved, last year, in a Choreolab/butoh workshop on deceleration, and we discussed - by moving through - a number of issues related to perception of ourselves in time and place -- existential questions, listening to how substantial changes in dealing with time can be achieved in the sense of deceleration, and what the roles of the performative arts (and in extension of course new media arts and the sciences) might be, in practice and, i should think, also in regard to the theme discussed here: collection.
Here might be a good place to distract, and speak about the quest of the particle physicists laboring underground in their tunnel in CERN, with their holy accelerator. They found the boson, the god particle! amazing.
So now I am not sure how to tie this up. Existential questions of how we experience our changing environment are one thing. Obrist telling his Chinese audience that it might be a good time to slow down was considered an insult by some in his audience who told him to go back to the West and preach there.
I am still watching the kissing of course, in the back of my screen, it seems now to play itself in slow motion, and as far as ephemeral youtube media clips or online artworks are concerned, I don't know what their future will be, in accelerated technologically driven times, and how one could possibly collect the millions and millions of clips and fragments appearing online all the time.
I saw an interesting title of an exhibit that just closed at the Folkwang Museum in Essen: "Static Movement" :
As to time, you might want to glance at Tim Etchells's poem that he wrote for Tehching:
to time past
to time remains
to time future
for our last performance, see http://people.brunel.ac.uk/dap/forthetimebeing.html