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: Imperfect Theories
Things can lead to theories. They can point to a way of seeing artefacts or objects that is more significant than the thing itself.
Studio 02: Narrative, Storytelling and Time
This studio focus on modes of storytelling and narrative conventions. We particularly focus on time in narrative, and the studio undertakes a brief aesthetics of time and thinks about how art and culture has imagined time.
Studio 03: Memento
The Memento research studio employs a critical, layered and multi-disciplinary approach to the problems around memory and society.
Studio 04: Knowing Audiences
In this studio we will be thinking about audiences, how they can be understood, theorised and researched.
Studio 05: Small Encounters
Emma Davenport and Gina Pierce
Textiles present exciting material and theoretical opportunities for us to think through our practice, to make sense of the world around us in the past, present and future.
Studio 06: 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 07: Meaningful Work
"The aim of art is to destroy the curse of labour by making work the pleasurable satisfaction of our impulse towards energy, and giving to that energy the hope of producing something worth the exercise." William Morris
Studio 08: The Liminal
This Dissertation Studio examines instances of the liminal as they occur in critical theory and culture, and is open to any topic and students from all disciplines.
Studio 09: The Form of the Text
Studio 9 encourages you to approach the dissertation as a crafted textual project. Through workshops and seminars we will consider some of the elements and activities of which the dissertation is comprised, and look at innovative and exciting ways to work with the form of the text, and the act of building it.
Studio 10: Science Fiction Futurity
The utopia of technology never quite arrived. In the 1960s, you often hear, we were promised flying cars, space settlements, robot butlers and the end of work. But then, curiously, the horizon of futurity diminished.
Studio 11: Commonism
Commonism – with an o in the middle – explores how political activism, participatory design processes, interventionism, collective action and shared authorship are transforming the world of art, architecture and design.
Studio 12: 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 13: Data Stories
Dissertations produced in this studio will be informed by critical research into how data is collected and then used as raw material with which to make or mediate architecture, design and art work.
Studio 14: Music is the Weapon: Performance, Culture, and Liberation through Music and Performance
This interdisciplinary studio reflects the widening of music and film studies in the last thirty years to include popular music, and popular culture linking art, music, film, advertising, social issues and minority struggles for liberation.
Studio 15: London Walking
Walking as a mode of art practice has its roots in the Dada and Situationist movements of the early twentieth century, with significant developments during the conceptual ‘turn’ of the 1960s.
Studio 16: 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.