1st Edition

Reconstructing Performance Art Practices of Historicisation, Documentation and Representation

Edited By Tancredi Gusman Copyright 2023
    252 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book investigates the practices of reconstructing and representing performance art and their power to shape this art form and our understanding of it.

    Performance art emerged internationally between the 1960s and 1970s crossing disciplinary boundaries between performing arts and visual arts. Because of the challenge it posed to the ontologies and paradigms of these fields, performance art has since stimulated an ongoing debate on the most appropriate means to document, preserve and display it. Tancredi Gusman brings together international scholars from different disciplinary fields to examine methods, media, and approaches by which this art form has been represented and (re)activated over time and its transnational history reconstructed. Through contributions and case studies spanning various countries, regions and artistic fields, the authors outline an innovative theoretical-methodological framework for capturing the processes and strategies for transmitting the tangible and intangible heritage of performance art.

    This book will be of great appeal to students, researchers, and practitioners in the fields of Theatre and Performance Studies as well as Visual Arts and Art History, who have an interest in performance art, its history and presence in the contemporary artistic and cultural landscape.


    Contributor Bios


    Introduction: On the Present of Past Performance: Investigating the Practices of Reconstructing and Representing Performance Art

    Tancredi Gusman


    PART I: Reframing the Past: Histories and Historiographies of Performance Art

    1. Mapping the Emerging Historiographies of Performance Art in East-Central Europe

    Amy Bryzgel                                                                                                    

    2. The ’68 Aesthetic and Political Radicalization in the Argentinian Avant-Garde

    Ana Longoni and Mariano Mestman

    3. Collective Memory and Live Art: The Methodology of Performance Chronicle Basel

    Sabine Gebhardt Fink

    4. The Historical Roots of "Performative Theater": The Italian Post-Avant-Garde

    Lorenzo Mango

    PART II: Unfolding the Action: Media and Documents of Performance Art

    5. How Records and Documents Become Art: The Role of Documentation in the Preservation, Exhibition and Experience of Performance Art

    Gabriella Giannachi

    6. Performance Documentation: Ephemerality, Temporality, Authenticity

    Philip Auslander 

    7. Book as Archive of Performance Art and Source Material of Its History

    Barbara Büscher

    8. Listening to the Histories of Performance Art

    Heike Roms

    PART III: Representing Performance: Information, Collection, Reactivation

    9. Capturing Narrative and Data in Performance Art: The Joan Jonas Knowledge Base

    Barbara Clausen, Deena Engel and Glenn Wharton

    10. On the Long Road to Becoming a Matter of Course: Collecting Live Performances in Museums and Other Art Collections

    Wolfgang Brückle and Rachel Mader

    11. Making Movement Memorable: Tino Sehgal and Boris Charmatz at Tate Modern

    Susanne Franco

    12. Retrospective Remarks on Rose English, Mona Hatoum and Ana Mendieta: Where Is Performance?

    Georgina Guy and Johanna Linsley




    Philip Auslander, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, US.

    Philip Auslander is Professor of Performance Studies and Popular Musicology in the School of Literature, Media and Communication of the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, US. His most recent books are In Concert: Performing Musical Persona (2021) and the third edition of Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture (2023).

    Wolfgang Brückle, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Lucerne, Switzerland.

    Wolfgang Brückle is senior lecturer at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. His research focuses on late medieval art, art theory, museum history, contemporary art, and media history, with a special attention to photography-related topics. From 2018 to 2022, he led two SNSF-funded research projects on post-photography.

    Amy Bryzgel, Northeastern University, Boston, US.

    Professor Amy Bryzgel is a specialist in performance art from Eastern Europe. She has published three books on the topic, including Performance Art in Eastern Europe since 1960 (Manchester University Press, 2017).

    Barbara Büscher, Hochschule für Musik und Theater "Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy", Leipzig, Germany.

    Barbara Büscher has published essays on post-dramatic live art, performance theory and media art, performance/performing archives, performance art and architecture. Since 2017 she has been co-directing the research project "Architecture and Space for the Performing Arts" (funded by DFG). She is a co-publisher of the online journal MAP – media/archive/performance (www.perfomap.de).

    Barbara Clausen, Université du Québec à Montréal, Canada.

    Barbara Clausen is Associate Professor at the Art History Department at the University of Québec in Montréal, Canada. Her research, writing and curatorial projects are dedicated to the historiography and institutionalization of performance-based art practices and the discourses surrounding the politics of the body and the archive.

    Deena Engel, New York University, US.

    Deena Engel, Clinical Professor Emerita in the Department of Computer Science at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University, focuses her research on contemporary art. She also collaborates with conservators at major museums on projects which address the challenges involved in the conservation of time-based media art.

    Susanne Franco, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy.

    Susanne Franco is an associate professor at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, where she teaches dance and theatre studies. Her main interests are modern and contemporary dance and research methodology. She is the PI of the international research project "Memory in Motion: Re-Membering Dance History" (2019–2023) at Ca’ Foscari.

    Sabine Gebhardt Fink, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Lucerne, Switzerland.

    Sabine Gebhardt Fink is Professor of Contemporary Art at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, as well as a curator and author. She has co-founded the Performance Index Festival and the network Performance Chronicle Basel, and recently collaborated with the exhibition Bang Bang at the Museum Tinguely in Basel.

    Gabriella Giannachi, University of Exeter, UK.

    Gabriella Giannachi has published Virtual Theatres (2004); The Politics of New Media Theatre (2007); Performing Nature: Explorations in Ecology and the Arts, ed. with Nigel Stewart (2005); Archive Everything (2016 and, in Italian, 2021); Histories of Performance Documentation, co-edited with Jonah Westerman (2017); Documentation as Art, coedited with Annet Dekker (2022) and Technologies of the Self-Portrait (2022 and, in Italian, 2023).

    Tancredi Gusman, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy.

    Tancredi Gusman is Assistant Professor in Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Rome Tor Vergata. He is currently Co-Convenor of the Historiography Working Group of the International Federation for Theatre Research. His publications focus on theater and performance histories, addressing performance and documentation, German theater and criticism, aesthetics and theatre theories.

    Georgina Guy, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK.

    Georgina Guy is Senior Lecturer in Theatre and Performance at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her book Theatre, Exhibition, and Curation: Displayed & Performed (2016) was shortlisted for the UK Theatre and Performance Research Association Early Career Research Prize and formed the basis for a research-led course at Tate Modern, London.

    Johanna Linsley, University of Dundee, UK.

    Johanna Linsley is an artist-researcher and Lecturer in Creative Practice at the University of Dundee. She leads with Rebecca Collins the project Stolen Voices; their album Stolen Voices 001 was shortlisted for a Scottish Award for New Music in 2021. She is one of the editors of Artists in the Archive (2018).

    Ana Longoni, CONICET/ Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina.

    Ana Longoni is a writer and researcher, specialized in the articulations between art and politics in Latin America since the 1960s. She has promoted the Southern Conceptualisms Network since its foundation in 2007 and was Public Activities Director at the Reina Sofía Museum (2018–2021). Her latest book is Parir/partir (2022).

    Rachel Mader, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Lucerne, Switzerland.

    Rachel Mader is professor and head of the Competence Center Art, Design & Public Spheres at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. Her research focuses on artistic self-organization, art education, artistic research, ambiguity in art and the collection of ephemeral art. She is co-president of the Swiss Artistic Research Network.

    Lorenzo Mango, University of Naples "L’Orientale", Italy.

    Lorenzo Mango is Professor of Modern and Contemporary Theatre at the University of Naples "L’Orientale". His most recent books are Edward Gordon Craig (2021) and Il Novecento del teatro: Una storia (2019). He is co-editor of the online journal Acting Archives Review: Rivista di studi sull’attore e la recitazione (www.actingarchives.it).

    Mariano Mestman CONICET / University of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

    Mariano Mestman is a researcher at the National Council of Scientific Research (CONICET) and the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he teaches. His works include studies on working-class cinema, Third World cinema, and the artistic vanguard of the 1960s. His latest book as editor is Las rupturas del 68 en el cine de América Latina (Akal, 2016).


    Heike Roms, University of Exeter, UK.

    Heike Roms is Professor in Theatre and Performance at the University of Exeter, UK. Current projects include: sound documents of performance art; the participation of children in performance work of the 1960s and 1970s; the development of performance art in British art schools (Live Class, with Gavin Butt, Northumbria University).

    Glenn Wharton, UCLA, Los Angeles, US.

    Glenn Wharton is Professor of Art History at UCLA, and Chair of the UCLA/Getty Interdepartmental Program in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage. His publications cover a range of initiatives in the conservation of contemporary art, anthropology of public monuments, artwork identity, and enhancing sustainability and social justice through conservation intervention. 


    Tancredi Gusman is Assistant Professor in Theater and Performance Studies at the Department of History, Humanities and Society, University of Rome Tor Vergata. From 2017 to 2019 he led the EU Horizon 2020 project "Between Evidence and Representation: History of Performance Art Documentation from 1970 to 1977" at the Freie Universität Berlin and was Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow at the International Research Center "Interweaving Performance Cultures." He is currently co-convenor of the Historiography Working Group of the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR). His research investigates the politics of representation and spectatorship, and the histories of performance art, performance documentation and theater criticism.