In the last decade or so we have moved from objects to subjects or audiences. In parallel, the word performative has been adapted from a theoretical term to a key rubric within the discourse of contemporary art, architecture and beyond. Presently we might say that any work that relates to the here-and-now, that is a work that in some formal, thematic, or structural way alludes to ideas of embodiment, enactment, staging, or theatre is called performative.
The studio looks at works, curated exhibitions and texts as acts that seek to create an impact – a reaction – in contrast to hermetic practices that are framed by set of immutable parameters. We put the conventions of art production, presentation and historical persistence into focus, to show how these conventions are co-produced by any artwork, and propose that it is precisely this dependency on conventions that opens up the possibility of changing them. What surrounds the work (conventions, rules, buildings, histories) shapes its understanding.
In this way, art is not perceived as an essentially passive recipient to be filled with creative endeavour, but as a productive activity with a social and political significance; performativity becomes a means of acting so as to produce a reality. The studio provides you with support to select your topic, group seminars and individual tutorial guidance. In addition, there will be lectures and workshops relating to performativity, a short project and visits to exhibitions.
Suggested readings, resources and preparatory activities
Performativity impacts on a wide range of cultural activities. Below are some examples:
- Dorothea von Hantelmann, How to do Things with Art: The Meaning of Art’s Performativity, JRP Ringier,Zurich, 2010.
- Katrina Palmer, The Dark Object (Bookworks, London, 2013)
- Tom McCarthy, Remainder (London, Alma Books, 2006)
- Kenneth Goldsmith, Uncreative Writing: Managing Writing in a Digital Age (Columbia University Press, 2011)
- News from Nowhere, a seminal installation by Korean artists Moon Kyungwon and Jeon Joonho, combines art, science and philosophy to co-produce a reality for the viewer between the future and present tense. Watch video
Hantelmann’s writings on performativity have become seminal and centre on art as a form of doing, an active rather than contemplative form. Palmer’s and McCarthy’s books come out of an engagement with artists’ writing, that is, a form of writing that begins in the art studio as a form of practice. We can see other ways of co-producing realities in Goldsmith’s work, which is indebted to Walter Benjamin’s monumental Arcades Project. Here, writing is more of a curatorial action than a form of creative invention.
Image: Moon Kyungwon and Jeon Joonho, News From Nowhere (2012–ongoing)
|Tutor||Nico de Oliveira|
Studio 01: ideas in places
This studio prescribes a direct treatment of place, whether subjective or objective.
Studio 02: Narrative and Storytelling
This studio focuses on modes of storytelling and narrative conventions. We will particularly consider how narrative intersects with, and informs, identity.
Studio 03: The Conquest of Joy
This studio encourages dialogues around the cultural production at a time when narratives founded on certainty have ceased to make sense.
Studio 04: Bullshit, propaganda and post-truth
This studio will look at the emergence of the notion of ‘post truth’ and explore links between other ideas around propaganda and Harry Frankfurt’s argument about ‘bullshit’. We will consider the usefulness of these ideas, and how they can be explored in creative practice.
Studio 05: Meaningful Work
This studio will consider the value of making -in itself, independent of the product or outcome, exploring the idea of craft as meaningful work.
Studio 06: Writing Rough
What are the outer limits of the essay? Write on the edge of the possible in a rich, researched and evidenced discussion which creatively explores the expanded field of the essay.
Studio 07: Thinking with Ruins
This studio pays heed to these cultural forms and persuasions but asks, how might we productively think with ruins in the present?
Studio 08: The things you can tell just by looking (or, Oriented Writing)
Writing tells us who we are and how each of us thinks and interprets the world.
Studio 09: Le Marteau Sans Maître
Digging through the deepest layers of archaeological time, André Leroi-Gourhan (La geste et la parole, 1964) concluded that for millions of years, human culture and technology evolved without complex language, rational planning or abstract ‘thinking at a distance’.
Studio 10: Globalism
For good or ill, we live in a global world. Whilst this may appear to be obvious, globalism is only a relatively recent term as is the phenomenon itself. What do we mean by this? How did we arrive in this place?
Studio 11: Performative Acts: Art, Architecture and Writing
Nico de Oliveira
In the last decade or so we have moved from objects to subjects or audiences. In parallel, the word performative has been adapted from a theoretical term to a key rubric within the discourse of contemporary art, architecture and beyond.
Studio 12: Decay, Repair and Back Again
Things break down and decay. In this studio you will experiment repair as strategy to negotiate breakdown, and you will practice mining patina and weathering for information and stories.
Studio 13: ‘If I stay silent nothing will change’: Identity, Politics, Social Change and Creative Culture(s)
This cross-disciplinary studio considers how power, culture, politics, identity, representation, activism, social media, and mass culture theory intersect with a range of arts practices, including photography, architecture, design and fine art, film studies, fashion and music, sound, pop art, and theatre.
Studio 14: A Material World
As the title suggests, this Studio will be based on the processes that are intrinsic to the design and making of textiles, however it will also be looking at the materiality of these textiles as objects.
Studio 15: Souvenir
This studio is concerned with those objects that are lent a particular enchantment because of their relationship with the past. It considers the role of memory and how it is embodied in cultural artefacts.