196 pages | 14 B/W Illus.
Performance Action looks to advance the understanding of how art activism works in practice, by unpacking the relationship between the processes and politics that lie at its heart. Focusing on the UK but situating its analysis in a global context of art activism, the book presents a range of different cases of performance-based art activism, including the anti-oil sponsorship performances of groups like Shell Out Sounds and BP or not BP?, the radical pedagogy project Shake!, the psychogeographic practice of Loiterers Resistance Movement, and the queer performances of the artist network Left Front Art. Based on participatory, ethnographic research, Performance Action brings together a wealth of first-hand accounts and interviews followed by in-depth analysis of the processes and politics of art activist practice. The book is unique in that it adopts an interdisciplinary approach that borrows concepts and theories from the fields of art history, aesthetics, anthropology, sociology and performance studies, and proposes a new framework for a better understanding of how art activism works, focusing on processes. The book argues that art activism is defined by its dual nature as aesthetic-political practice, and that this duality and the way it is manifested in different processes, from the building of a shared collective identity to the politics of participation, is key towards fully understanding what sets apart art activism from other forms of artistic and political practice. The book is aimed at both specialist and non-specialist audiences, offering an accessible and engaging way into new theoretical contributions in the field of art activism, as well as on wider subjects such as participation, collective identity, prefiguration and institutional critique.
List of Figures
1. ‘Harmonic Disobedience’: Constructing a Collective Identity in an Activist Choir
2. A Viking Longship: Participation in Performance Action
3. From Transgression to Prefiguration: Performance Action as a Blueprint for Social Change
4. Breaking Barriers: Bodies, Institutions, and Codes
5. Loitering in the City: Psychogeography as Art Activism
6. New Narratives: Rethinking Activism through Art in the Youth Project ‘Voices that Shake!’
7. Breaking the Mould: Art Activism and Art Institutions
8. Towards a Theory of Art Activism
This series presents the latest research in political sociology. It welcomes both theoretical and empirical studies that pay close attention to the dynamics of power, popular protest and social movements, as well as work that engages in debates surrounding globalisation, democracy and political economy.