rethinking why performance matters through the matter of performance
Trashing Performance

Mainstream and Underground


27 October 2011

Toynbee Studios, Theatre


With Neil Bartlett, Bean, Bruce Benderson, Dominic Johnson, Keith Khan, Benjamin Sebastian, and Mara Vujic (City of Women)


Over the past half century or so performers and audience members alike have grown accustomed to thinking of themselves as of, or opposed to, the mainstream. But what does this vexed, though seemingly transparent, word mean in the 21st century? Is it a set of values? Is it associated with particular artists, venues, or publics? And what of the related idea of an underground? Famed since at least the 1960s as a cultural space outside of, or ‘underneath’, the mainstream, is it now defunct? If so, how – if at all – do contemporary performance artists think of themselves in critical relation to the mainstream? The contributors to this event addressed these questions with reference to performance history and the artistic and curatorial production of contemporary performance spaces.

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Full video documentation of Trashing Performance is available to view at the Live Art Development Agency Study Room and the British Library