Modernity defined the perfect spaces for the contemplation of artistic practices. The white cube became the ideal environment for the contemplation of art. In the exhibition of white walls isolated from the outside, the viewer can wander among and stop before works without any distraction whatsoever. As a result, their entire being, and particularly their eye were completely given over to the aesthetic experience. This same «neutrality» would be conferred on the theatre space, in which the black box would be consolidated as the ideal device to eliminate any reference to the outer world that might distract spectators deep in concentration, who in their stillness, would watch the lives of the characters unfold in front of them as if they were seated at a café terrace.
In this cycle of performances, dance and theatre, we present a set of proposals that depart from the idea of performance as a discipline that expands and oversteps the traditional boundaries of not only the practices themselves, but also the conventional exhibition spaces and institutions dedicated to artistic practices. How can dance and theatre be presented in the same museum? To what extent can the specific conditions of presentation inherent to each alter the logic of the museum space? How can the frameworks of meaning contributed by the museum transform these practices? It is in this mind frame that we suggest a program in which the concepts of performance and performativity are analysed on the basis of various proposals. Thus, not only the bodies will perform, but also the images, words and, obviously, the things.
In the definitions given by both Austin, and then Buttler, Derrida or more recently even Maurizio Lazzarato, the term performativity alluded to the linguistic, the identifying and the objectual. Moreover, in recent years, the concept of performativity has also invaded the political terrain. To such an extent that the events protagonised by the bodies of citizens in the squares of a large part of the Mediterranean Arc have been described as performances. And so it would appear to be important to rethink the contributions contemporary artists are making to this practice.
Over a series of six dual performance sessions and the workshop Open space Black Box / White Cube? Thinking about the periphery to be held in the Sala Pradillo in Madrid, we suggest cross-disciplinary encounters through a program of performances grouped into 6 sessions to be expressed around three axes: language, the political body and the performativity of things.
The acts of language: the cycle opens with the piece titled Black by Mette Edvarsen, who quite aptly constructs a series of objects through the spoken word and movement that allude to the blackness of the theatre. Those objects which, painted black, we find in any stage setting, deprived of all color. The artists participating in this block will work with the spoken word to create situations in which those present are accomplices in the construction of meaning.
The political body: according to Butler, the policy of «being together» or the «appearance of bodies in the square», represents an act of bravery by those who risk their physical safety in the simple act of re-occupying the public space, so frequently privatized. What role might bodies play in an impoverished public area in the midst of a crisis of representative democracy? How to deal with issues such as presence, representation and occupation through the work of dance and performance? Here it again becomes essential to rethink concepts such as the «people», «the masses», «the crowd», the performance of me and social choreography.
The performativity of things: the work of these artists revolves around the activation of objects that are apparently insignificant with the intention of triggering new layers of meaning that go beyond positivist materialism. Whether through the use of appropriationist strategies of Duchampian origin, or others closer to the surrealism of objects found, or those from situationist détournement, these creative acts focus on generating new ways of relating to our environment. But in this block we will not just talk about objects, rather we will delve into the meaning of things, those elements that go beyond the radical separation established by modernity between subjects and objects. Thus, things have the capacity to allude to abstract matters, but may also transport us to the world of animism, and naturally, the fetish. Therefore, performance would be that «thing» that refuses to be trapped.
Curated by Pablo Martínez
In this cycle of performances, dance and theatre, we present a set of proposals that depart from the idea of performance as a discipline that expands and oversteps the traditional boundaries of not only the practices themselves, but also the conventional exhibition spaces and institutions dedicated to artistic practices.