Reenact This: Practice as Research


This workshop explores the intersection of research and practice through the creation and interpretation of performance art re-enactments. Following simple instructions, in groups and individually, students will come up with proposals, scores and short performances that re-imagine, re-contextualise and/or personalise pieces of live art from the 1960s to today. Practical work is accompanied by discussion and lectures about the re-enactment work of contemporary artists such as, my own project Once More With Feeling (2009), Tania Bruguera’s Tribute to Ana Mendieta (1986-1996), Clifford Owens’ Anthology (2011), Charles Atlas’ Rainer Variations (2002) and more.

The workshop (like re-enactment itself) aims to test how performance art and its past strategies can communicate to new audiences and convey contemporary concerns. It also provides a chance to consider the ethics and value of re-enactment as an artistic and academic tool. Other issues that will be touched upon include: theatricality verses authenticity, high and low forms, originality and repetition, duration, media, identity and site-specificity.

The workshop is suitable for experienced performers and absolute novices. The timing for the workshop is flexible; I have done versions of it in 2 hours at Goldsmiths College, 2.5 hours at Byam Shaw/Central St. Martins and the full 4 day workshop at University of Hull, Scarborough. For more details about the structure of the 2-4 day workshop, download this pdf.