I am looking at this and in particular this bit:
Yet a moment’s consideration of the characteristics of performance art in the 60s and 70s is enough to understand that re-enactment, rather than a sign of victory, is actually the most evident indicator of its defeat, its capitulation to the rules of the art world (which demands products) and the entertainment business (which demands repetition).
While radical stances like Marina Abramović’s (“no rehearsal, no repetition, no predicted end”)  were relatively isolated at the time, there was broad consensus over the need for authenticity (opposing the fictional nature of theatre, the eternal adversary of performance art), together with that of creating unique, unrepeatable, unpredictable events (with the immediacy of the ‘here and now’) which could not be reduced to the status of object or product. If this is performance art, re-enactment is its consummate nemesis. Re-enactment takes up (repeats, reconstructs and responds to) an original event. It is based on a script, and is therefore entirely predictable, and it has a defined ending. Lastly, its dialogue with the source event, and exploration of analogies and differences respect to the original, require preparation, rehearsals and the construction of a set. Its quest for authenticity is based on a reconstruction, which brings it dangerously close to theatre…
and I am thinking, obviously in the first instance, what a horrible concept being ‘dangerously close to theatre’ is. There’s nothing wrong with theatre, with my theatre. Yes there are plays. And plays are on the whole pretty shit. except Shakespeare. Oh and Beckett. And then I really like some of Hare’s plays…. mmm then there’s a whole host of one off affairs that have been thoughtfully interpreted for my consideration….. So maybe plays aren’t all shit. But I understand the point, you know this repeatable version of theatrical art shuffled out on stages across the land, faithfully reproduced in the school halls and village community centres, Coward, Orton and Wilde….. oh how we laugh, at being dangerously close to theatre.
Although that’s the question though, or at least one of them – the ‘script’ thing against the ‘writing for performance’ thing. Is it perhaps like the difference between acting and performing? This resistance is there in its ‘dangerously close’, why?
At least I agree with the bit before, about hating performance art, if by that they mean the inaccessible, instant, naked, piss, shit, no words, except one, no eye contact, no conversation, simply over, soon gone, sort of ha, ha, ha, in your face capitalist oppressors of my art, you can’t sell it, check us out with our anti-art world art, we’re so cool we don’t need your money (just your photos and critiques and write ups)…. and well at the moment no-one could buy it even if you could sell it, so I think that argument is at least for this moment making a ‘leap into the void’, ‘Oh for the love of God’ indeed.
Rant and shameless inserting of cultural references, over and perhaps challenge accepted…. How not to repeat, predictably? How unpredictable may I be, every time I think about repeating I can’t, I can respond and rethink. Repeating and responding and rethinking….
Which leads not so neatly to rose spritzers and the last day of summer in autumn and retrocognition, interconnectedness, quantum physics and perhaps even a little Jungian analysis….. Artist as Witness, thank you David Richmond, was definitely in the air.
A story re-told about the time we were told about walking in woods, with veterans, the air changing and being there, heart racing, fearing for your life. And there we there, remembering together. Piecing the story back together again from 5 years ago when we sat and listened. Well I sat and listened attempting to understand.
It’s perhaps not as strange as it seems that quantum physics and performance keeping meeting in the strangest of places… (as an aside perhaps that’s a dating strategy for the future).
Maybe creative process is merely being open to wandering one of many available paths through the whole. Maybe I’m being reductive. Still this is a place for musing and not always having to present perfect arguments
We wondered if perhaps we could say that Gemma now and Gemma then are somehow disharmonious and that ‘even my past memories remain in the implicate order’ (Marie Claire Clarke, October 1st 2011, The Swan, Bishopgate).
In someway I am out of tune with myself, that expectation of age, of me and who I am, was and want to be have distanced me from myself. The girl who shouted loudly about the things she’d gotten up to feels shame faced to discuss such intimacies, well its simply not done. Who was she, that girl so free in herself, so naive, so without shame?
The pondering and careful application continued, that I would need to find a stimulus which may allow for unfolding to occur and to explicate the implicate. Ethically I wonder if I can put myself through that and well perhaps in theory, the right object would allow anyone to tell me about myself then. Perhaps the object isn’t from the show but something else from my life… how odd, a flashback to student halls of residence and the smell of late November… and the sentence ‘I was the girl that Jamie fucked, when really it was the other way around’. And now the pink sky, is it early morning or late evening? There was definitely a very unique smell though, a smell of composting leaves and thin, hard-wearing carpet and students, November almost certainly, the sound of swinging, slamming fire doors. I don’t care who I fancy. And I don’t care who knows… God I drank too much and made a tit of myself. I looked desperate and I guess now the way I think I looked then matters too much now to risk repeating.
mmm and so later after looking at other artists, in particular 7 easy pieces I am wondering what’s bad about repeating, about saying again surely this language (once called theatre since re-branded all sorts of ‘insert prefix’ art) is about repeating, about re-telling what was once worth saying for it will surely be worth saying again.