Remake symposium

Remake Symposium (Arnolfini Auditorium): Saturday 15th September 2012

Arnolfini Archive, Bristol Record Office  Performance Re-enactment Society, Untitled 8

A day considering the legacy, potency and potential pitfalls of re-staging live performance via lecture, panel discussion and conversation.

The Remake symposium offered a space to discuss the use of other artists’ documents in the creation of new work. What are the political, aesthetic and historical issues that attend this type of work? What does it say about the way performance is valued more generally?

The day included performance of work commissioned for Performing Documents by Every house has a door and Performance Re-enactment Society. Also includes a special (re-)performance of Stuart Sherman by Robin Deacon.

Speakers includde: Adrian Heathfield, Robin Deacon, Rosemary Butcher, James Yarker, Pil & Galia, Janez Jansa, Mel Brimfield, Every House Has a Door & the Performance Re-enactment Society.

[Photo credit: Untitled after Club of No Regrets, 1993 (Performance Re-enactment Society and Hugo Glendinning, Bob Whalley and Lee Miller). The Pigs of Today Are the Hams of Tomorrow symposium. Plymouth Arts Centre. 2010.

Remake Symposium (Arnolfini Auditorium): Saturday 15th September 2012


Registration and coffee



Keynote Presentation

Adrian Heathfield



Panel 1

Robin Deacon

James Yarker

Stefanie Sachsenmaier (on behalf of Rosemary Butcher)






Panel 2

Pil & Galia Kollectiv

Janez Janša

Mel Brimfield



Coffee Break



Panel 3

Every House Has a Door

Performance Re-enactment Society



Drinks reception and break for dinner



Stuart Sherman's Hamlet (A Careful Misreading by Robin Deacon)

*at University of Bristol, Wickham Theatre



9 Beginnings by Every House Has a Door

*at Arnolfini Auditorium


ONGOING: extracts from Robin Deacon's A Portrait of Stuart Sherman, and Performance Re-enactment Society's Group Show.



Adrian Heathfield (University of Roehampton)

The Ghost Time of Transformation


The talk looks at questions of curatorial strategy in relation to performance and dance histories, and their re-activation and alteration through contemporary works. It focuses on what might be at stake, in temporal, experiential and mnemonic terms with new works and exhibitions that take fluid, processual and transformative approaches to the display of performance histories in the present. In particular it examines Moments: A History of Performance in 10 Acts (ZKM, 2012) both in terms of the revival of its constituent works and its curatorial sensibility. What is being re-performed and re-moved here, and what might such animations have to do with the survival and transmission of some of the more ineffable qualities of performance?


Robin Deacon (Artist/ School of the Art Institute of Chicago)



This is a semi fictional account of an artist revisiting an archive of their work, and a subsequent attempt at revisionist interpretations of this body of documentation. The text will explore moments of distance and dislocation from one’s own archive - the sense that although what you see and hear is you, there is another uncanny sense in which your own documentation may feel like another person’s work. Or that you wish that it was. A mediation on the materiality of documentation and the desire to abdicate artistic responsibility, this presentation aims to reconsider the meaning of the phrase 'what have I done?'


James Yarker (Director, Stan’s Café)

Re-Staging The Carrier Frequency


James Yarker co-founded Stan's Cafe in 1991, since when he has directed all the company's major shows. He completed an MPhil at Lancaster University investigating presence and absence in live performance. He is occasionally asked to guest lecture at universities but is mostly focused on making theatre. In 1999 Stan's Cafe revived The Carrier Frequency by Impact Theatre Cooperative as part of Birmingham's Towards The Millennium festival.


Stefanie Sachsenmaier (on behalf of Rosemary Butcher) (Middlesex University)

Rosemary Butcher, After 'Kaprow' and Beyond


During 2010 I worked closely with Rosemary Butcher on her processing of Allan Kaprow’s archive of 18 Happenings in 6 Parts, as part of the making of her reinvention of the work, which she presented in November 2010 at the Clore Ballroom of the Royal Festival Hall in London. My presentation seeks to give prominence to Butcher’s voice and creative process, in focusing on how Butcher created and digested the initial reinvention, and how it moves on in a new project entitled After Kaprow: The Silent Room. It overall investigates her creative link to Kaprow’s work, which she identifies as located in the language, rather than the specific context the artist was working in.

Pil and Galia Kollectiv (Artists/ University of Reading)

In and On Absentia


Under post fordism, the worker performs the self by 'delegating' (in the Bruno Latour sense) his or her subjectivity. 'In and On Absentia' is a performative lecture distributed through VHS tapes, in which the fragmented image of the self continues to work - both metaphorically and physically. A homage to David Cronenberg's Videodrome, where the long deceased Dr. Oblivion perpetuates a media presence using an archive of tapes, the presentation considers the possibility of reenacting the document so as to undermine the ruling paradigm of dividuality and produce repetitions that contest the demand to repeat and remake the self.


Mel Brimfield (Artist)

This Is Performance Art


Mel Brimfield introduces her ongoing project 'This Is Performance Art'. It is a multi-part fictional TV programme, exhibition and lecture series, and programme of invented 're-staged' large-scale interdisciplinary performance works.  The content is drawn from a sprawling pseudo-archive of staged performance documents produced collaboratively with performers including dancers, theatre-makers, actors, musicians and comedians. Recent 'This Is Performance Art' exhibitions and performances have been commissioned by The Government Art Collection for the Whitechapel Gallery, the Henry Moore Institute, Performance Matters (Trashing Performance programme, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts and Tate Liverpool.


Janez Janša (Artist/ Director, Maska Institute, Slovenia)

On Reconstruction


I will present some of my works (from 2006 to 2009), which are based on the performances made by artists in the 60’s and 70’s and show different strategies in dealing with the past and history.  Every act of historicizing is a construction of the past. We construct the past through the gaze of the present, with the gaze being constructed by a set of social, political, cultural, methodological, interpretative, and other factors. We historicize the past in the present, but we do it for the future. Every historicizing includes, on the one hand, the opening of the overlooked and concealed; it brings and strengthens the unheard voices, while, on the other hand, it closes or, better yet, uses this operation to package a certain chapter of the past. The presentation will reflect terminological questions in dealing with history such as re-enactment, reconstruction, appropriation, quote...

Every house has a door

9 Beginnings – Artist Talk


The Every house has a door 9 Beginnings team will present reports from the process of the four-week Bristol project residency, along with considerations of the meanings and potential of creative responses to archival sources. Lin Hixson, Matthew Goulish, Selma Banich, Sebastián CalderónBentin, Annalaura Alifuoco, Nik Wakefield, and Nicki Polykarpou.

Performance Re-enactment Society

Group Show – Artist Talk


PRS have been in residency at Arnolfini over the last month, working with archival documents of past exhibitions and in close conversation with members of staff. They will reflect briefly on the three parts of Group Show, their distinct curatorial choices and approaches, sharing their processes of using brochures, catalogues, slides and interviews as sources for new performance work. They will show a selection of these documents and discussion of their workshop outcomes will touch on the relationship between the archive and memory, how history is performed and the potential of interpreting documents as scores. For this project PRS are Paul Clarke, Laura Dannequin, Tom Marshman and Clare Thornton, with Suzie Zara, Cara Davies and Arnolfini stewards.