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Performance Art

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Performance Art

On this page: {Intro} {Stuff} {The Usual Suspects} {Techniques} -^_6



So, what are the aesthetics of peformance art as opposed to theatre? Do we need restrict our definition/usage of theatre to "traditional theatre" -- whatever that is; ie, elisabethian, classical greece, Mollier vs the 1800c ?? More directly: What are the particular aesthetics that select/differentiate between performed text and performance;per se ? (it is recommended to listen to the 1st movemetn of Prokofiev's Symp #2 (yes; number 2, and NOT the classical) (an old beige rain coat might help as well) We take as read text as text as text as text read as simple recitation and/or discussion, etc. Even if i speak as non chalantly as possible the words To be or not to be (or their equivalents in Klingon) there is almsot no way that i can do so without destroying context at that moment. Or, as certainly one of the most feared (or one assume so) poets of Plato, has sed: >>In ancient times, paintings we- re given their finishing touches in stages. Each day brought so- mething new. A painting used to be sume of actions. In my case, a painting is the sum of destructions. I paint a work, and then I destroy it.<< -- Pablo Ruiz Picasso Thus, in the case of Hamlet's words (arguably the most famous words in the Language English!), we can not escape their weight of destruction. Imagine a clown of most comic proportions, who suddenly "strikes a pose" and utters them, or a dictator (eg, Hitler, Nero, Cardinal Jimenez, etc) - that is, the two anti-podes of human existence (nilhilism vs obliteration). In either case, their preceding remarks/actions/etc are struck into another unvierse this sort of *ultimate* dividing mark: "To be or not to be". Of course, we cheat here, since the words would have little meaning prior to the widespread knowledge of Hamlet, it's performances, and the "soaking in" of the work as pure text. Note that only the the case of Hitler and his time (the 1900c), would his audience be aware of what the words meant - whether spoken in English or not. We might well ask if there have "always" been such words? Thus, we might have found some equivalent in the time of the the Roman or Catholic scourages of equal maginitude in the denigration and derrogation of the human spirit. But, we would find such words useful in any event. In the modern context, uttering "Fire" in a theatre, or the word "gun" in the presence of secret service agents protecting a president, king, or other official would be the only equivalent in destructive power. Here, quite literally so. And what of the words of a doctor concerning some critical results of a test? For example, an "HIV" test? In my own case, i had determined if indeed i was still "hiv free" i would say a certain thing from a certain play - sort of thanks to the mues for sparing my life (at least for a little while, and in this major way). The lab tech got my file, went back to the back of the office - through which i could see him looking at my file. The passage from the reception room, led past the desk that served as the reception, down a darkish hall, and into THE ROOM (that is, the room where people were counciled when the news was not good). And the ages clicked by, the tech (way "back there") continued, looking at the sheets stapled to my file. An infinity of time passed as inifnity does (as it does at about 3 minutes into Satie's "Ballet Realiste"). Finally (as it turned out, i had had a liver cancer test done as well, and of course, that was a bit unusual).... oh, you're all right..... (sed he') so out sprang these works, Very well, then we shall have a new opera. And Herr Mozart shall write it. And it shall be in German; there 'tis, then. Odd, how performance just "happens". START AGAIN -^_6

The Usual Suspects

Jacques Derrida