Online Workshop 2022
1st International Online Workshop
The body, the museum, the future
Live on Zoom
in collaboration with Tel Aviv Museum of Art
Lucas Cranach the Elder, The Fountain of Youth (detail), oil on canvas, 1546
Our aim is to share thoughts about the performative activity in museums, in light of the not-so-long history of performances in museums and the recent circumstances we live in today. The format we have in mind is an intimate online ‘think-tank, where each participant is presenting a short talk and inviting guests from team, community or city, whom they believe could contribute to the discussion. We would like to think together about the presence of the living body in the museum – the body that is at the core of the drama we’ve experienced over the past almost three years.
We ask: Can the living body initiate processes of being together? Can it ignite social motivations? Can it be the source that indicates future directions for the museum as a place of gathering? Can it be a place for imagining the precarious future rather than maintaining the problematic present? And how does performance in the museum propel these processes forward?
Organised by: Ido Feder, a choreographer and artistic director of Diver Festival, and Ruti Direktor, the curator of contemporary art at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.
9th Nov. 2022
Discussion led by Sarah-Louise Spies - University of Chester, Scholar and Choreographer
10th Nov. 2022
Body within a Body: The Live Body and the Museal Organism
By Ruth Direktor
Several performative projects at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art will serve as case studies through which to contemplate the relationships between the museum, the visitor, the performer and the curator. And as a result, the question to be asked: Why does the museum need the living body? Why especially today - in our neo-liberal, spectacle-oriented, post-Covid society - the living, fragile and surviving body, is necessary for the future of the Museum.
Ruth Direktor is the Curator of Contemporary art in Tel Aviv Museum of Art since 2014. A major part of her curatorial activity is focused on video art and performance. She started her career as an art critic, writing regularly (from 1984 till 2008) in the most prominent newspapers and weekly magazines in Israel. Throughout the years she has been teaching in art academies, concentrating on different issues of contemporary art, both Israeli and International.
Transmediality of Performance
By Eleonora Milani
The increasingly prominent presence of performance in the institutional space has contributed to a medial shift. Performance today, particularly in spaces designated for art, can be grasped and examined in its transmedial quality, the ability to cross over multiple distributive platforms and embodied in different media. The transmedial quality of performance will be explored through the productions of Ligia Lewis, Cecilia Bengolea, and Anne Imhof.
Eleonora Milani (b. 1987, Italy) is an art historian, editor, and writer based between Milan and Rome. She is currently Managing Editor at Flash Art magazine for both International and Italian edition. Her current research investigates the relationship between dance, performance art, moving images, and all practices that refer to time-based media within institutional spaces. She is Lecturer of “Critical Writing” at the Master’s Degree Visual Arts and Curatorial Studies in NABA, Milan/Rome.
The Body as an Agent of Change: Performance at Tate 2019-2022
By Tamsin Hong
Since I started working at Tate in 2019, I’ve meditated on how performance and live art are critical to questions around bringing new perspectives and embodied experiences to the museum. In particular, I’ve collaborated with artists, colleagues and audiences to examine who stages a live work (artists, performers, staff, participants) and expand the possibilities by making our spaces more accessible. In this presentation, I will reflect on the past three years of performance at Tate Modern and share some of the strategies and complexities we encountered and how that will inform how we approach our programme in the future.
Tamsin Hong has been Assistant Curator at Tate Modern since 2019, specialising in performance. After navigating performance during the pandemic, Hong’s work has now expanded into African and Australian art, including the current exhibition on land rights A Year in Art: Australia 1992. Finding synergies between performance practice and the First Nations’ artists approaches to art making, Hong is interested in how these approaches are connected to women’s knowledge systems and ecology. Lecture description:
Can choreography change the world?
By Joanna Leśnierowska
I bet you smiled in response. However, exactly this question, has in 2019 triggered a vivid discussion of a group of international curators, artists, writers, thinkers and activists I had a privilege to bring together. That led to The Grand reUnion project, a performative conference addressing the question of relevance of choreography in the present social and political time. Originally designed as an in-person gathering, it was conceived following a desire to pause, as a chance to create time, and opportunity to make space for deepened reflection – both in theory and through practice - on the global circumstances of our era. Little did we know that there would be no need to contrive the conditions under which to be suspended, that a pandemic would arrive and enforce such a pause. A pause greater than we could have imagined. But still it turned out nothing compared to what came after, and which seemed simply unimaginable. And yet it still happened. So, can we still keep dancing and making dances today as we were yesterday? Can the art of composing movement in time and space equip us with tools to confront not only the unknown but also, unimaginable? Can choreography change the world? or at least, help it to heal?
Joanna Leśnierowska: independent choreography curator and visual dramaturge. In the years 2004-2020 she run first regular dance space/choreographic development center in Poznan, Poland. Within that frame she also conceived and led several international collaboration projects. Parallel to her curatorial work, she has been also developing own practice as visual dramaturge/light designer and performance-maker. Since 2019 Joanna runs Acziun Susch – based at Muzeum Susch (CH) program of choreographic reflection and research. She also curates projects at National Museum and Nowy Theatre in Warsaw.
Vulnerability of the Moving Body
By Joel Valabrega
The lecture will address the challenges and complexities inherent to setting up a performance programme from scratch in a contemporary art museum during a pandemic. The performance programme at Mudam welcomes artists from different generations with works that span a range of disciplines including choreography, music and spoken word performances with a clear aim to present the facets of this discipline to a diverse audience. The programme has the ambition of reflecting the diversity of languages and expressions that characterise this increasingly prominent and underrepresented artistic domain. As much attention as performance has garnered in recent years, its role within institutions is still ambiguous. Using vulnerability as a key word and guiding thread, the lecture will investigate the relationship between artist, institution and audience.
Joel Valabrega (b. 1991) is Curator of Performance and Public Programmes at Mudam Luxembourg. She holds a master’s degree in Architecture (Politecnico di Milano and IUAV of Venice). She has worked within institutional contexts (Hangar Bicocca, Triennale Milano, V-A-C Foundation and Mudam Luxembourg) as well as in independent spaces (THEVIEW Studio). Valabrega is responsible for programming at MEGA, a Milanese project space, together with Davide Giannella, Giovanna Silva and Delfino Sisto Legnani. She was visiting curator at the V-A-C Foundation in Moscow and Venice (2018–2019) and later joined the curatorial team of Triennale Milano to curate the public programme PARLA ASCOLTA GUARDA FAI (2020). She has curated exhibitions and special projects with artists including Tarek Atoui, Alexandra Bachzetsis, Pauline Boudry & Renate Lorenz, Cecilia Bengolea, Dance Divine, Darius Dolatyari-Dolatdoust, Joanna Dudley, William Engelen, Lara Favaretto, Nicholas Grafia and Mikolaj Sobczak, Trajal Harrell, Yasmine Hugonnet, Every Island, Stine Janvin, Jacopo Jenna, M¥SS KETA, Gianni Pettena, Alessandro di Pietro, Éliane Radigue, Michele Rizzo, Vasya Run, Ula Sickle, Sam Stewart, Strasse, Nora Turato, Ziur, ∞OS. Her curatorial practice is further extended through research and collaboration with art magazines.
Navigating The Museum As Performance: Particularities and challenges of the presentation of performance in a museological context
By Cristina Grande, Pedro Rocha & Ricardo Nicolau
The Museum as Performance’ is an annual program of performances that takes place in the galleries, auditorium and Park of the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art. Curated by Cristina Grande, dance and performance programmer, Pedro Rocha, music and performance programmer (both working at the Serralves Performing Arts Department), and Ricardo Nicolau, curator of the Museum, this programme recognizes the growing importance of performance in contemporary art and contributes to sediment the history of Serralves as a pioneering museum in transdisciplinarity. Created in 2015, ‘The Museum as Performance’ takes shape following diversified axes: mirroring the diversity of practices that can be included in the field of performance, while simultaneously questioning the margins of this same field; reflect on the growing relationship between contemporary art institutions and performance, on the evolution of their convergences and tensions; dialogue with existing architectural elements and spaces; present an international programme with a significant focus on new works by national artists.
Through a selection of works presented in the past 8 editions, the curators of this program will address the particularities and challenges of the presentation of performance in a museological context, from the unprecedented relationships with the space and with the public that it establishes (the way it alters the very perception of what it is to be a spectator), the ability to reflect on urgent problematics and how it challenges notions of body, nature, time and space.
Cristina Grande (Porto, 1962) is Head of Performing Arts Department and contemporary dance and performance curator of Serralves-Museum of Contemporary Art. In this context, she has organized the artistic residency "Mugatxoan" (2002-2010), directed by Ion Munduate and Blanca Calvo, was co-curator of the "Trama" Live Arts Festival (2006-2011) and is co-curator of "The Museum as Performance" (2015-2022). In the international context, she curated the project “Piccola Europa” (Portuguese contemporary live arts, Italy, 2009), co-curated the second edition of "Performance Day 2017: Le Musée Performée (2017), organized by Ferme du Buisson ( Paris, France) and, more recently, curated the exhibition of the visual artist Francisco Tropa (November, 2018), at the invitation of the CND/Centre National de la Danse (Pantin, Paris), in the "Musées au pluriel" program.
Pedro Rocha (Porto, 1973) is a curator of music, sound art and performance based in Porto.
Since 1999, he has been curating music/sound for Serralves Foundation including the music programme for the Museum of Contemporary Art and the festival Serralves em Festa. In Serralves, he currently co-curates the program The Museum as Performance. Between 2006 and 2011, he co-curated the performing arts festival Trama, happening in several locations in Porto. Between 2014 and 2020, he curated music and sound performances for the public programmes of Pirelli Hangar Bicocca art center in Milan. He co-curated the programmes/events “P! – Performance in the Public Sphere” with Ana Pais (Lisbon, 2017), “Tactical Contact” with Mark Fell at No Bounds Festival (Sheffield, 2019), Lusosonic Festival (Villa Arson, Nice, 2022), amongst others.
Ricardo Nicolau (Portugal, 1976) is a curator and deputy to the Museum Director of the Serralves Museum of Contemporary. In 2000−03 he edited and directed Pangloss art magazine and, from 2005 to 2009, worked as a curator in Chiado 8, an art space in Lisbon, where he curated exhibitions of Leonor Antunes, Francisco Tropa and Ana Jotta, among many other artists. At Serralves, he has curated solo exhibitions of Pedro Barateiro, Charlotte Moth, !Von Calhau!, Ricardo Valentim, Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc, Carlos Bunga, Patricia Dauder, Alexandre Estrela, Ana Manso, Dayana Lucas, Horácio Frutuoso, Nora Turato, Lourdes Castro and the duo Mariana Caló and Francisco Queimadela, and many group exhibitions. He is co-curator of "The Museum as Performance" (2015-2022). He authored Fotografia na Arte: De ferramenta a paradigma, Que sais-je? (Porto: Fundação de Serralves, 2006 and 2016, respectively), Jotta Dossier (Porto: Braço de Ferro, 2009), Perpetual Interview, Ana and Isabel (Porto: author’s edition, 2017, 2018 and 2019).
Structures & Propositions: Bodies in performance at MCA Chicago
By Tara Aisha Willis
Touching on a handful of performance projects curated at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago before, during, and looking ahead in the aftermath of COVID lockdown, this presentation examines the museum's uniquely interdisciplinary but highly partitioned infrastructures—architectural, programmatic, and administrative. Each project discussed worked within and around those structures, proposing temporary alternatives in which performers (and audiences) physically navigated and interrogated the museum's spatial, archival, and interpretive capacities. The presentation also points to upcoming propositions in the MCA's performance series, extending into an uncertain future.
Tara Aisha Willis is a dancer, writer, and Curator of Performance at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. She holds a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from New York University; her scholarly research focuses on contemporary practices of improvisation and experimentation in Black dance performances. Her writing has been published by Getty Research Institute/X Artists' Books, Wendy’s Subway Press, Performa Magazine, and The Black Scholar journal, among others.
Ex-Spectacular Event: Performance Curation as a Mythical Institutional Critique
By Ido Feder
Diver Festival is a contemporary dance festival in Tel Aviv-Jaffa that was always envisioned as a performative curatorial intervention. In my talk, alongside a description of the festival’s endeavours and its recent history in the museum, I will also offer a manifesto employing inventive concepts and a mythological sensitivity in order to illuminate the urgency and cultural importance of curating performance in our present day’s “neoliberal scenography” and its troubling future.
against every bomb that falls, we plant a tree
By Raluca Voinea
Bodies are expendables, cheap merchandise, overexploited tools and seldom they are self empowered and turned into a collective body that can determine change and progress. In art contexts, bodies become fetishes, they are put on display alongside tokens of material culture, they are seemingly depoliticised and over aestheticized. How to take back the space of the museum and of other cultural institutions and make the bodies within vibrate, resonate with the outside world, make them generate questions and knowledge, desire and dreams? Can the museum be a generator of different formats for performance or is it only a receptacle for already established forms of performing? Where are the radical expressions of performance happening today?
Raluca Voinea is a curator and art critic, based in Bucharest. Since 2012 she is co-director of tranzit.ro Association. From 2012 to 2019 she managed tranzit.ro space in Bucharest. Starting with 2021, the ideas and approach that configured this space are continued in a new project, The Experimental Station for Research on Art and Life, a collective project realised by tranzit.ro together with a group of artists, curators, theorists, economists and other cultural workers in the village of Silistea Snagovului, 40 km north of Bucharest. Since 2008 she is co-editorof IDEA arts + societymagazine. Her work is grounded in a local context, yet open for transversal and transdisciplinary collaborations. In 2013 Raluca Voinea was the curator of the Romanian Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale with the internationally acclaimed project An Immaterial Retrospective of the Venice Biennale, by artists Alexandra Pirici and Manuel Pelmuş.
Led by Sarah Spies
Sarah Spies is a choreographer, performance curator and senior lecturer in contemporary dance and performance art. She is part of Manchester-based artists-led curatorial collective Accumulations and has led and collaborated on numerous internationally funded public research and performative events and programmes. She is the author of Choreographies of the Curatorial: Performative Trajectories for Choreography and Dance in the Museum (2020) and the co-editor of (Un)Commoning Voices & (Non)Communal Bodies (2021) with Maayan Sheleff. She is on the editorial board of TURBA – The Journal for Global Practices in Live Arts Curation.
Second Day pt.1
Second Day pt.2