1st Edition

Performance The Ethics and the Politics of Conservation and Care, Volume I

    416 Pages 50 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book focuses on performance and performance-based artworks as seen
    through the lens of conservation, which has long been overlooked in the larger
    theoretical debates about whether and how performance remains.

    Unraveling the complexities involved in the conservation of performance,
    Performance: The Ethics and the Politics of Conservation and Care (vol. 1)
    brings this new understanding to bear in examining performance as an object of
    study, experience, acquisition, and care. In so doing, it presents both theoretical
    frameworks and functional paradigms for thinking about—and enacting—the
    conservation of performance. Further, while the conservation of performance is
    undertheorized, performance is nevertheless increasingly entering the art
    market and the museum, meaning that there is an urgent need for discourse on
    how to care for these works long-term. In recent years, a few pioneering conservators,
    curators, and scholars have begun to create frameworks for the longterm
    care of performance. This volume presents, explicates, and contextualizes
    their work so that a larger discourse can commence. It will thus serve the needs
    of conservation students and professors, for whom literature on this subject is
    sorely needed.

    This interdisciplinary book thus implements a novel rethinking of performance
    that will challenge and revitalize its conception in many fields, such as art history,
    theater, performance studies, heritage studies, and anthropology.

    List of figures

    List of contributors

    Introduction: Caring for performance 

    PART I
    Care: Theoretical entanglements

    1 Charisma and desire in the conservation of performance art 

    2 Not, yet: When our art is in our hands 

    3 Vitality and the conservation of performance 

    4 Conserving the un-conservable: Documenting environmental performance for the twenty-first century 

    5 Innovation and preservation: Shadreck Chirikure on the performance of heritage—A conversation with Hanna B. Hölling

    The politics and institutions of care

    6 An experimental acquisition: Ralph Lemon’s Scaffold Room (2014)
    at the Walker 

    7 In the shadow of the state: Collecting performance at IMMA and
    institutions of care in the Irish context 

    8 Towards a performance continuum: Archival strategies for
    performance-based artworks 

    9 Peeling the paint off the walls: Kelli Morgan on Black performance
    and racial justice in Western Institutions 

    10 Performing the “Mask”: Kongo Astronauts (Eléonore Hellio and
    Michel Ekeba) on postcolonial entanglements 

    Living conservation

    11 Knowledge has to live: Dread Scott on Slave Rebellion
    Reenactment (2019) 

    12 Conserving a performance about conservation: Care and
    preservation in Mierle Laderman Ukeles’s maintenance art 

    13 Living materials: Ethics and principles for embodied stewardship 

    14 Precarious movements: Contemporary dance as contemporary art 

    15 Potential afterlives: Cauleen Smith on the relation of film to


    Erin Brannigan is Associate Professor in Theatre and Performance at the
    University of New South Wales. Her publications include Moving Across
    Disciplines: Dance in the Twenty-First Century (Sydney: Currency House,
    2010), Dancefilm: Choreography and the Moving Image (New York:
    Oxford University Press, 2011) and Bodies of Thought: 12 Australian Choreographers,
    co-edited with Virginia Baxter (Kent Town: Wakefield Press, 2014). She
    has published various chapters and articles in film, performance and dance journals
    and anthologies. Her current research project is Precarious Movements:
    Dance and the Museum, and has two monographs associated with this project:
    Choreography, Visual Art and Experimental Composition 1950s–1970s (London:
    Routledge, 2022) and The Persistence of Dance: Choreography as Concept and
    Material in Contemporary Art (Ann Arbor: Michigan University Press, 2023).

    Brian Castriota is Time-Based Media Conservator at the National Galleries
    Scotland, Freelance Conservator for Time-Based Media and Contemporary
    Art at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Supervising Conservator with the
    Archaeological Exploration of Sardis, and newly appointed Lecturer in
    Conservation of Contemporary Art and Media at University College London’s
    History of Art Department. He has previously held lecturer positions
    at the University of Glasgow and the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.
    He completed graduate-level training in conservation at the IFANYU
    (2014), he was a Samuel H. Kress Fellow in Time-Based Media Conservation
    at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (2014–16) and he received
    a PhD in History of Art from the University of Glasgow (2019). As part of
    the Marie Skłodowska-Curie ITN New Approaches in the Conservation of
    Contemporary Art (NACCA) his doctoral research examined notions of
    artwork identity and authenticity commonly invoked in conservation theory
    and practice, and he has published various articles and book chapters on
    these topics. He co-edited a special issue of ArtMatters International Journal
    for Technical Art History (2021), and he is co-editing a volume on the conservation
    of contemporary art in the Getty Conservation Institute’s Readings
    in Conservation series.

    Shadreck Chirikure is Edward Hall Professor of Archaeological Science in the
    Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, University of
    Oxford where he holds a British Academy Global Professorship. He is
    Adjunct Professor of Archaeology at the University of Cape Town. Chirikure
    applies techniques from the hard sciences to study ancient materials and technologies.
    He uses the results of discoveries in the field and the laboratory to
    develop new understanding, conserve heritage and to tackle global challenges.
    Chirikure is the Editor of the journal Archaeometry, Editor in Chief of the
    Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of African Archaeology and Senior Editor of
    the Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of Anthropology. He sits on editorial
    boards of more than 12 journals in archeological science, archeology and
    heritage science.

    Jules Pelta Feldman is an art historian, critic, curator, archivist, and salonnière.
    They are postdoctoral research fellow for the project Performance: Conservation,
    Materiality, Knowledge, which is sponsored by the Swiss National
    Science Foundation and hosted by the Institute for Materiality in Arts and
    Culture, Department of Conservation and Restoration, at Bern Academy of
    the Arts. Pelta Feldman received their doctorate in art history from the
    Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and has previously worked in
    various capacities at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Whitney
    Museum of American Art, and the Grey Art Gallery. Pelta Feldman writes
    criticism for publications in Switzerland, Germany, and the United States.
    They are also director of Room & Board, an artist’s residency and salon.
    Formerly located in Brooklyn, Room & Board is now based in Basel and
    additionally commissions socially-distanced artworks.
    Gabriella Giannachi is Professor in Performance and New Media at the University
    of Exeter, UK. She has published a number of books including: Virtual Theatres
    (2004); The Politics of New Media Theatre (2007); Performing Presence:
    Between the Live and the Simulated, co-authored with Nick Kaye (2011); Performing
    Mixed Reality, co-authored with Steve Benford (2011); Archaeologies
    of Presence, co-edited with Michael Shanks and Nick Kaye (2012); Archive
    Everything (2016 and, in Italian translation, 2021); Histories of Performance
    Documentation, co-edited with Jonah Westerman (2017); Moving Spaces:
    Enacting Dance, Performance and the Digital in the Museum, co-edited with
    Susanne Franco (2021) and Technologies of the Self-Portrait (2022). She has
    written papers for several humanities and science journals and has been an
    investigator in a number of AHRC, RCUK, EU, Nesta and Innovate funded
    projects in collaboration with Tate, Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art
    Gallery, Factory 42 and LIMA.

    Iona Goldie-Scot is currently pursuing a doctoral degree at Maastricht University
    in the Netherlands. Her research has its foundations within the research program
    New Approaches in the Conservation of Contemporary Art (NACCA)—
    a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network established to resolvefundamental questions concerning the identity, values and authenticity of
    modern and contemporary artworks and the consequences for their conservation
    as well as rethink historically-grown professional distinctions
    such as those between the curator and the conservator. Iona’s research
    interests specifically lie in the institutional changes occurring in museums
    in light of the increasing acquisition of performance-based artworks, the
    shifting nature of custodian responsibility, and the efficacy of varying
    methods of documentation in the preservation of performance artworks.
    Prior to her doctoral studies she received a Distinction in her MA from
    Sotheby’s Institute of Art and was awarded a First-class Master’s degree
    from the University of St Andrews.

    Hanna B. Hölling is a Research Professor and Principal Investigator at the
    Bern University of Applied Sciences—Academy of the Arts, where she leads
    two projects funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. She is also
    an Honorary Fellow in the Department of History of Art at University
    College London (UCL). Prior to her current roles, Hanna was Associate
    Professor in the Department of History of Art at UCL, where she specialized
    in the History of Art, Media and Technology. She also served as a
    Mellon Visiting Professor for Cultures of Conservation at the Bard Graduate
    Center in New York. Hanna received her doctorate from the University
    of Amsterdam (2013). She has also held the position of Head of
    Conservation at the ZKM Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany.
    Hanna is the author of several monographs, including Paik’s Virtual
    Archive: On Time, Change and Materiality in Media Art (University of
    California Press, 2017) and Revisions—Zen for Film (Bard Graduate
    Center, 2015). Additionally, she has edited anthologies such as The Explicit
    Material: Inquiries on the Intersection of Curatorial and Conservation
    Cultures (with Francesca Bewer and Katharina Ammann; Brill, 2017) and
    Object—Event—Performance: Art and Materiality since the 1960s (Bard
    Graduate Center, 2022).

    Kongo Astronauts is an artist collective based in Kinshasa, founded in 2013 by
    Michel Ekeba and Eléonore Hellio. Their multi-media practice includes
    photography, film, sculpture, and performance, and engages with Kinshasa’s
    alternative culture network. Through the lens of Afrofuturism, they explore
    the multilayered cultural, political, and environmental histories of the Congo
    and its exploitation to reconsider its present. Integral to their practice are the
    “astronaut suits” worn by Ekeba, which are built from used and discarded
    electronics. Kongo Astronauts are interested in the creation of works that
    sometimes might be difficult to classify, works whose forms might be
    ephemeral or unstable, works which generate attitudes and processes, works
    which respond to a place or a context, given or constructed. They describe
    their own practice as “an attempt to resist the psychic ghettos that cover
    multiple postcolonial realities.” Other participants include Bebson Elemba,
    Céline Banza, Amourabinto Lukoji, and Daniel Toya.

    Pip Laurenson is a Professor of Conservation at University College London
    (UCL) and director of the MSc in the Conservation of Contemporary Art
    and Media at UCL East. Pip has 30 years of experience in the conservation
    of contemporary art, establishing and leading Tate’s pioneering Time-based
    Media Conservation section from 1996 until 2010. Between 2010 and 2022
    Pip was Head of Collection Care Research, working to develop, lead and
    support research related to the conservation and management of Tate’s collections.
    From 2016 to 2022 Pip held a special chair as Professor of Art
    Collection and Care at Maastricht University. Pip is committed to interdisciplinary
    research that serves and responds to art of our time and the
    major challenges facing the conservation of contemporary collections in the
    21st Century. She has secured awards for research from a range of funders
    and from 2018-2022 she led the Mellon Foundation funded project Reshaping
    the Collectible: When Artworks Live in the Museum. She received her
    doctorate from University College London, is an accredited member of the
    Institute for Conservation and is a member of the Steering Committee of the
    International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art (INCCA).

    Louise Lawson is Head of Conservation at Tate. She is responsible for the leadership,
    strategic direction and development of conservation at Tate. She has
    been developing how performance artworks in Tate’s permanent collection
    are documented and conserved, through the project Documentation and
    Conservation of Performance at Tate (2016–2021). Louise has shared the
    knowledge developed through this project via lectures, presentations and
    academic publications. She has also been part of the wider project team for
    Reshaping the Collectible: When Artworks Live in the Museum (2018–2021),
    with case studies on Tony Conrad and on replication. Her current research
    project is Precarious Movements: Choreography and the Museum.

    Emilie Magnin is currently a PhD candidate within the Swiss National Science
    Foundation research project Performance: Conservation, Materiality,
    Knowledge at the Bern Academy of the Arts. Her research focuses on the
    institutional changes prompted by the increasing acquisition of performance
    artworks in museums, and particularly on the role and influence of conservators
    in this process. Emilie completed a master’s degree in Conservation-
    Restoration with a specialization in modern materials and media and
    holds the position of Conservator for Media Art and Installations at the
    Kunstmuseum Bern. She has previously worked as a Conservation Fellow at
    the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, as a contemporary art
    conservator for private practices, and as a moving image archivist for the
    Swiss Archive of the Performing Arts and the University Library of Fribourg.

    Valerian Maly is a performance artist, lecturer and head of the performance art
    department at the MA CAP at the Bern Academy of the Arts. He acts as a
    curator of performance-based projects and exhibitions. For over thirty-six
    years, Maly has lived and worked with Klara Schilliger with whom he hascreated intermediary and mostly site- and situation-specific performances
    and installations (often called InstallActions). The duo has lived and worked
    in Lucerne, Cologne, Bern and in La Chaux-de-Fonds. In 2008, they were
    awarded the Art Prize of the municipality of Berne. In 2016, they were elected
    to the International Artists’ Committee IKG, which, analogous to the
    PEN Club, campaigns for freedom of art, cultural self-determination, tolerance
    and cultural diversity. In the late1970s, as a cultural producer, Maly
    founded the film, video and performance festival VIPER. He was artistic
    director of several festivals, such as Pfeifen im Walde in Berlin (1994),
    Lucerne Festival (1997), the palindromic festival “emit time” at the Freie
    Akademie Bern (2002) and the performance art festival BONE (2011-2017).
    Maly initiated and co-curated two exhibitions at the Kunstmuseum Bern:
    Terry Fox: Elemental Gestures (2017) and République Géniale after Robert
    Filliou (2018).

    Hélia Marçal is a lecturer, researcher, and conservator based in London. She is
    Lecturer in Art, Materials, and Technology at University College London’s
    Department of History of Art, having previously worked as a Fellow in
    Contemporary Art Conservation and Research of the Andrew W. Mellon
    funded research project Reshaping the Collectible: When Artworks Live in
    the Museum at Tate (2018–2020). She has been the Coordinator of the
    Working Group on Theory, History, and Ethics of Conservation of the
    International Council of Museums’ Committee for Conservation since 2016.
    She received her doctorate from NOVA University of Lisbon and has published
    various articles and book chapters on conservation theory and ethics,
    conservation of time-based media and performance art, embodied memories
    and the body-archive, and participation and stewardship of cultural heritage.
    Her recent book project explores posthuman ethics in museums.

    Megan Metcalf is an art and dance historian who brings a practitioner’s perspective
    to scholarly research, combining work in institutional and personal
    archives with a background in dance and choreography. She received her
    PhD in contemporary art history from the University of California, Los
    Angeles (UCLA) in 2018 and has held positions at institutions including
    ArtCenter College of Art and Design (Pasadena, CA), Otis College of Art
    and Design, the Getty Research Institute, and UCLA (all Los Angeles, CA).
    Her work has been published by the Bard Graduate Center (NY), Danspace
    Project (NY), and Open Space (SFMOMA) and supported by the New York
    Public Library and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, among others. She
    is currently at work on a book about the history of dance and performance
    in art museums and is a History of Art and Visual Culture fellow at the
    Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2021–2023.

    Kelli Morgan is a Professor of the Practice and the Inaugural Director of Curatorial
    Studies at Tufts University. She is a critical race scholar as well as a
    curator, educator, and social justice activist who specializes in American artand visual culture. Her scholarly commitment to the investigation of anti-
    Blackness within those fields has demonstrated—among others, in persuasively
    formulated statements—how traditional art history and museum practice work
    specifically to uphold white supremacy. Morgan has held curatorial positions at
    the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, the Birmingham Museum of Art,
    and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Before joining the Tufts
    faculty, she held various teaching positions where she merged the classroom and
    the museum gallery to create anti-racist paradigms for how curators can
    actively address the complexities of traditional art history, community engagement,
    and scholarly innovation.

    Cori Olinghouse is an artist, archivist, and curator working with performance
    and time-based media. In 2017 she founded The Portal, an artist-led initiative
    that cultivates archiving as a poetic and performative practice. Recently,
    she collaborated with Charles Atlas on a moving image installation for
    “Judson Dance Theater: The Work is Never Done,” at The Museum of
    Modern Art. In 2019, she collaborated with the Studio Museum in Harlem
    on the acquisition and restaging of Autumn Knight’s performance work
    WALL—the first performance to enter their permanent collection. Formerly,
    as archive director for the Trisha Brown Dance Company, she developed a
    cataloguing and preservation initiative to assist in the legacy planning for
    Brown’s company and archive (2009–2018), a company she danced for from
    2002 to 2006. She holds an MA in Performance Curation from the Institute
    for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University and serves as
    visiting faculty at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College. https://

    Rebecca Schneider is Professor of Modern Media and Culture at Brown University
    in Providence, RI, USA. She is the author of The Explicit Body in
    Performance (1997), Performing Remains: Art and War in Times of Theatrical
    Reenactment (2011), Theatre and History (2014), and the long form
    essay “Slough Media” in Remain (2019). She has edited several collections,
    including special issues of TDR: The Drama Review on “Performance and
    New Materialism,” “Precarity and Performance,” and “Performance and
    Social Reproduction.” Over fifty other essays appear in journals and
    anthologies internationally and her work has been translated into multiple
    languages. Recently, her essay “That the Past May Yet Have Another
    Future: Gesture in the Times of Hands Up,” Theatre Journal in 2018,
    received the Oscar Brockett Best Essay Award with the American Society for
    Theatre Research. Her work has been supported by the Andrew W. Mellon
    Foundation and she has served as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at
    Queen Mary University in London, a Mercator Fellow at Goethe University
    in Frankfurt, and has delivered invited talks at museums around the world.
    She is currently working on two projects, a digital book on gesture and a
    project titled Shoaling in the Sea of History, taking up media, performance,
    history, and the oceanic for which she was named a 2021 Guggenheim Fellow.

    Dread Scott is a multimedia artist based in Brooklyn. His first major work,
    What Is the Proper Way to Display a U.S. Flag (1988), made while he was a
    student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, became the center of
    controversy, denounced as a desecration of the American flag by then-President
    G.H.W. Bush and outlawed by Congress. His work—in installation,
    photography, screen-printing, video and performance—addresses historical
    and contemporary injustice and inequality. For his 2019 Slave Rebellion
    Reenactment, Scott staged a reenactment of the 1811 German Coast Uprising,
    the largest revolt of enslaved people in U.S. history. His art has been
    exhibited at such institutions as MoMA/PS1, The Walker Art Center, Contemporary
    Art Museum St. Louis, Kunsthal KAdE (Amersfoort, Netherlands).
    He is a recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, a United
    States Artists Fellowship and a Creative Capital grant. His work is in the
    collection of the Whitney Museum and The National Gallery of Art.

    Farris Wahbeh, Benjamin and Irma Weiss Director of Research Resources,
    works within the field of cultural informatics to enhance access to art and
    archival collections. At the Whitney Museum of American Art, he oversees
    the Frances Mulhall Achilles Library and Archives, the Permanent Collection
    Documentation Office, which maintains the cataloguing and content standards
    relating to works of art in the Whitney’s permanent collection, as well
    as Visual Resources. Wahbeh also spearheaded, along with the Conservation
    Department, the Media Preservation Initiative (MPI), a focused project on
    the digital preservation and archival documentation of time-based media
    works of art. Wahbeh has gained experience from a wide range of institutions,
    including Columbia University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library,
    the Getty Research Institute, the Creative Audio Archive, and Intuit: The
    Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art.

    Claire Walsh is Art Collections Curator at the Centre for Research Collections,
    the University of Edinburgh. She is currently on career-break from her position
    as Assistant Curator: Collections at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in
    Dublin. Prior to this she worked at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern
    Art, Edinburgh and MAP Magazine, Glasgow. Recent curatorial projects
    include The Narrow Gate of the Here-and-Now: The Anthropocene (2021-
    22); Ghosts from the Recent Past (2020-21); and Archive 1990s—From Edge
    to Centre (2019-20). She holds an MA in Contemporary Art Theory from
    Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh (2013). Areas of research
    include the museum and the Anthropocene, collecting performance and the
    relationship between contemporary art practice and the archive. Since 2016,
    Claire has collaborated with Brian Castriota on numerous preservation projects
    in both Edinburgh and Dublin.

    Karolina Wilczyn´ska is currently a PhD candidate at the Institute of Art History at the Adam Mickiewicz University. The subject of her PhD research is the work of Mierle Laderman Ukeles as a case study aimed at a criticalrevision of socially engaged art, its methodology as well as its history. She completed the Erasmus Programme at The History of Art Department at the University College London. She supported the work of “The Legacy of Piotr Piotrowski” and helped in organization of the East-Central European Art Forum. In 2019 she received a Library Research Grant at the J.F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies in Berlin. She is the 2021 Fulbright scholarship holder at CUNY, New York.


    Hanna B. Hölling is Research Professor, Bern University of Applied Sciences—Academy of the Arts and Honorary Fellow, Department of History of Art, University College London.

    Jules Pelta Feldman is a Postdoctoral Fellow, Bern University of Applied Sciences— Academy of the Arts.

    Emilie Magnin is a Doctoral Candidate at Bern University/ University of Applied Sciences—Academy of the Arts and a Conservator for Media Art and Installations at the Kunstmuseum Bern.