rethinking why performance matters through the matter of performance


Gavin Butt (Co-Director)

Gavin Butt is Reader in the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London. Trained as an artist and art historian, his research has now broadened to encompass work across the intersecting areas of performance studies, queer studies, and modern and contemporary visual culture. Much of this work involves rethinking the value of objects, events and knowledges deemed unworthy by so-called serious discourses of criticism and scholarship, in order to pay heed to alternative economies of cultural engagement and pleasure.  His book on gossip and homosexuality in US art, Between You and Me: Queer Disclosures in the New York Art World 1948-1963, was published by Duke University Press in 2005. He is also editor of After Criticism: New Responses to Art and Performance (Blackwell 2004). Currently he is working on a new book project exploring the production of 'trash publics' in queer/feminist art and performance, including consideration of the work of David Hoyle, Oreet Ashery, Mel Brimfield, Bird La Bird, Andy Warhol, and others. He has published widely in books and journals. He has also lectured internationally, and organised scholarly fora and creative events, at numerous academic and public institutions including Frieze Art Fair, the Louvre, Arts Council, AICA, Vienna Festival, InIVA, HAU Theatres, Berlin, New York University, and the Venice Biennale. At Goldsmiths he is also Programme Leader of the MPhil / PhD in Visual Cultures.

Gavin's website

Augusto Corrieri (Researcher)

Augusto Corrieri is a performance artist, choreographer and writer. Since 2005 he has been developing a solo-led performance practice in the UK and Europe, working on how to make spectators critically aware of their place within the construction of a theatre event. His works include solo and group performances, all of which attempt to reduce theatre to its essential components: the performance Dance Company (2007) uses You Tube to teach a basic sequence of dance warm-ups and theatre games to an unknown cast of 10 performers, who only meet the day before performing the show live. A 2008 commision by Camden Arts Centre initiated a trilogy of gallery-based durational performances that “disappear” as soon as they are viewed: the most recent was The Lasting Image (2010), for the Whitstable Biennale, in which the 4 performers form a still tableaux replicating the advertising poster of the show.
His practice as research PhD project - 'Curtains are ghosts' - focuses on the ways in which contemporary performance is haunted by the architectural and aesthetic ideology of the classical theatre stage. Moving between performance making and writing, the project asks whether the conventions of the classical theatre - the proscenium arch, the curtain, the footlights, and many other binary demarcations of space and time - are still the dominant paradigm for constructing and interpreting the event of performance.

Augusto's website

Adrian Heathfield (Co-Director)

Adrian is a writer and curator of performance and visual art. He is Professor of Performance and Visual Culture at Roehampton University, London. His work across critical theory, creative and curatorial practice questions the ethics of the encounter between the spectator and the artwork. These enquiries have led to discussions of performance in relation to the status of sensory experience within cultural knowledge, the politics of commemoration and shifts in the perception and presentation of mortality. He has written many essays on live art, theatre and dance. He recently published the monograph Out of Now: The Lifeworks of Tehching Hsieh (MIT Press and the Live Art Development Agency 2009). Perform, Repeat, Record: Live Art in History, a book co-edited with Amelia Jones, will be published in 2011. He is the editor of Live: Art and Performance (Tate Publishing and Routledge 2004), Small Acts (Black Dog Publications 2000) and the box publication Shattered Anatomies: Traces of the Body in Performance (Arnolfini 1997). He has curated many events, including 'Live Culture' (Tate Modern 2003) and 'The Frequently Asked' with Tim Etchells, a durational chain dialogue commissioned by Tanzquartier Vienna (2008). He has taught performance practice and theory in many places across Europe, Scandinavia and America. He was President of Performance Studies international (2004-2007).

Adrian's website

Lois Keidan (Co-Director)

Lois Keidan is the co founder and Director of the Live Art Development Agency London. She is concerned with supporting the development of the conditions and contexts within which art, artists, audiences, writers, students and scholars can flourish. From 1992 to 1997 she was Director of Live Arts at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, presenting a year round programme dedicated to supporting and representing new artists, new ideas and new practices from the UK and around the world. Prior to that she was responsible for national policy and provision for Performance Art and interdisciplinary practices at the Arts Council of England. She contributes articles on Live Art to various magazines and publications and gives presentations at festivals, conferences, colleges, and venues in the UK and internationally. She sits on a number of Boards and Advisory Panels. In 1999 she was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by Dartington College of Arts and in 2009 she was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by Queen Mary, University of London.

Live Art Development Agency's website

Owen Parry (Researcher)

Owen works on contemporary performance and visual culture and its historical entwinement with sexual, popular and counter cultural practices since 1950s. He is currently completing his PhD titled Refuse Performance: The Formation and Destruction of Value in Contemporary Performance in the department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, with AHRC funding (2009-2012), and in collaboration with Performance Matters. His research employs practical and theoretical methods for exploring and exploding the curious paradoxes between performance and refuse; the wasted, wasting away, overlooked or discarded, and refuse; (i.e. refusal) that which deliberately rejects cultural value. Owen is excited by “difficult” and “illegitimate” engagements in art and performance that elicit refusal and provoke questions about valuable intentions. Owen's performance practice also turns to performance's bad reputation, often incorporating contradictory and questionably legitimate acts, employing promiscuous methodologies, and drawing inspiration from the passions of the looser, thug and villain in place of the earnest conformist. The eroticism of the live encounter and the queer body, adorned in all its miserable histories and spectacular and peculiar guises are also re-occurring features in his work. Owen is a regular performer with Oreet Ashery, collaborator with Eirini Kartsaki and is one half of the duo Mitch & Parry with Andrew Mitchelson. He has co-organised a Lab at A Foundation (2010), Forum at Whitechapel Gallery (2010), Salon at Toynbee Studios (2011) and PoP on Potentials of Performance (2012). Owen has performed internationally at prestigious venues, festivals and conferences, at private parties and sleazy nightclubs, for upper-class scholars and toilet trawlers, audiences of two-thousand to audiences of one. He was co-editor of a special trashy edition of Dance Theatre Journal (2011) .

Owen's website
Owen's blog