rethinking why performance matters through the matter of performance
Performing Idea

Symposium: Performative Writing


8th October

With: Hélène Cixous (on video), Matthew Goulish, Adrian Heathfield and Peggy Phelan (presented by Lin Hixson)


New forms of writing on and around contemporary art and performance have emerged in recent years, alongside the figure of the artist as cultural critic and curator. These forms of writing often problematize the notion of critical distance, deploying creative, dialogic and autobiographical strategies to engage with the multiple affects of the artwork. To what extent may critical thinking and writing be an art form? Speakers examined the histories, limits and possibilities of the forms of ‘performative writing’, the dynamics of the performing idea.

This session on Performative Writing also comprised a preview of Trashing Performance, the second themed year of Performance Matters, with contributions from Oreet Ashery, Mel Brimfield, Gavin Butt, Dominic Johnson and Bird La Bird.


Video extracts



Hélène Cixous (extract of a video conversation with Adrian Heathfield, filmed by Hugo Glendinning)


Peggy Phelan (presented by Lin Hixson)
[please note this video requires headphones]


Panel preview for 'Trashing Performance', chaired by Gavin Butt, with Oreet Ashery, Mel Brimfield, Dominic Johnson and Bird La Bird


Note: complete video documentation of all performance lecture events can be accessed through the Study Room at Live Art Development Agency and at the British Library.