Performance Art

Performance art is a performance presented to an audience within a fine art context, traditionally interdisciplinary. Performance may be either scripted or unscripted, random or carefully orchestrated; spontaneous or otherwise carefully planned with or without audience participation. The performance can be live or via media; the performer can be present or absent. It can be any situation that involves four basic elements: time, space, the performer’s body, or presence in a medium, and a relationship between performer and audience. Performance art can happen anywhere, in any type of venue or setting and for any length of time. The actions of an individual or a group at a particular place and in a particular time constitute the work.

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Visual arts, performing arts, and art performance

Performance art is an essentially contested concept: any single definition of it implies the recognition of rival uses. As concepts like “democracy” or “art”, it implies productive disagreement with itself.

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Picture credit: https://pixabay.com/en/marcel-marceau-actor-mime-french-402739/

The meaning of the term in the narrower sense is related to postmodernist traditions in Western culture. From about the mid-1960s into the 1970s, often derived from concepts of visual art, with respect to Antonin Artaud, Dada, the Situationists, Fluxus, installation art and conceptual art, performance art tended to be defined as an antithesis to theatre, challenging orthodox art forms and cultural norms. The ideal had been an ephemeral and authentic experience for performer and audience in an event that could not be repeated, captured or purchased. The widely discussed difference, how concepts of visual arts and concepts of performing arts are utilized, can determine the meanings of a performance art presentation.

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Picture credit: https://pixabay.com/en/shadow-play-monkey-light-950026/

Origins

Performance art activity is not confined to European or American art traditions; notable practitioners can be found in Asia and Latin America. Performance artists and theorists point to different traditions and histories, ranging from tribal to sporting and ritual or religious events. In an episode of In Our Time broadcast on Thu, 20 Oct 2005, 21:30 on BBC Radio 4, Angie Hobbs, Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Warwick; Miriam Griffin, Fellow of Somerville College, Oxford; and John Moles, Professor of Latin, University of Newcastle discussed with Melvyn Bragg the idea that Antisthenes and Diogenes in ancient Greece practiced a form of performance art and that they acquired the epithet of cynic which means “dog” due to Diogenes behaving repeatedly like a dog in his performances.

Text credit: Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Performance_art

Cover credit: https://pixabay.com/en/bboy-breakdance-dancing-hip-hop-1450053/

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