Redux Symposium (Arnolfini Auditorium): Saturday 8th December 2012.

Arnolfini Archive in Bristol Records Office  Blast Theory, Something American

Redux was a packed day of discussion and performance looking at how artists use their own archives as creative resources. What changes when a work is repeated five, ten or twenty-five years later? How might looking back a collaboratively created works challenge our understanding of 'self-reflection'? Does the theatrical repertoire have anything to say to the Live Art archive? Through talks, discussion and newly commissioned work, Redux explored how performance might help re-think the timescales of the live and the liveness of history.

Our fantastic line-up of speakers included a keynote presentation by renowned performance scholar Amelia Jones, and talks by international artists, scholars and theatre makers Terry O'Connor, Hancock & Kelly, Dominic Johnson, Amanda Coogan,  Graeme Rose, Andrew Quick and Claire MacDonald.

Additionally, Performing Documents commissioned Blast Theory and Bodies in Flight to create new pieces based on their own archives, both of which span multiple decades. We were very happy to premiere these pieces as part of the Redux symposium.

[Photo credit: Blast Theory, Something American, 1996]

Redux Symposium (Arnolfini Auditorium): Saturday 8 December 2012

10.30am    Registration and Coffee

11am        Keynote presentation

                Amelia Jones

12pm        Panel 1

                Dominic Johnson

                Amanda Coogan

                Hancock & Kelly

                Cara Davies

1.30pm     Lunch   

3pm          Panel 2

                Terry O'Connor

                Graeme Rose

                Andrew Quick

                Claire MacDonald

4.30pm     Coffee

5.15pm     Commissioned Artists' Panel

                Blast Theory

                Bodies in Flight

6pm          Drinks

7pm          Film Screening: Works on Video by Blast Theory and Bodies in Flight



Performance Art as a ‘Redoing’ of the Self


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."

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


Repeat Transmissions

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.

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.


Lone Duets

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.

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).


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. 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, Coogan contends, 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.

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.


Instability in Stability

Entering a dark and dusty attic, what might you find?
Who might you discover? What memories? What nostalgia?
What a lot of stuff!
Why do we keep the things we do?
What do they communicate about our personal histories, identity and experiences?
How do these objects amass to create an archive of oneself?

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.

Cara 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. Currently undertaking her PhD research at the University of Bristol as part of the AHRC-funded project Performing Documents: modelling creative and curatorial engagements with live art and performance archives, her research considers the ways in which we can re-contextualise and re-mediate existing archive materials within new performative settings. Cara is a selected Escalator: Live Art Artist (2011), whose solo work has been presented in Cyprus, Spain, Utrecht, Finland and Turkey.


rekindling the old flame, prodding the wound

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…

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.


The Patina of Performance: Theatre as Living Archive

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.

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).


Performing with Ghosts

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.

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.



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.

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.


Jog shuttler

About the project
A bank of screens plays loops of unseen experiments, half-formed ideas and well-known work, in a large grid. What links the footage or the ideas behind it is not immediately clear, other than it has all been generated by the same artists' group over the last 21 years. Navigating through fragments of Blast Theory's archive, viewers impose their own edit by sifting, shuttling and looping, making sense of it for themselves.


Do the Wild Thing! (Redux)

About the project
Do the Wild Thing! (1996) was Bodies in Flight's eighth project and the first led by a specific research concern: to explore the encounter at the heart of all performance between flesh and text, between discursive and embodied practices. Four of the original collaborators return to this peepshow about desire and voyeurism to produce new works each in their own medium - dance, photography, text and video.


Bodies in Flight artist talk

Do the Wild Thing! Redux

Blast Theory artist talk

Jog Shuttler



Do the Wild Thing! (Redux) installation

Do the Wild Thing! (Redux) film shoot

Jog Shuttler installation

Blast Theory/Bodies in Flight Reading Room


'Muse' (a text by Simon Jones as part of Do the Wild Thing! Redux)

'Through Non-Collaboration' (conference paper by Simon Jones, delivered at the Performance Studies international conference at Stanford University, June 2013)