A new (Levinasian-Röttgerian) theory of performance art

A conference-performance by Pablo Alvez Artinprocess

  • A lot of what is written about performance concerns performance in general (as in performing arts) and not performance art in particular.
  • This creates confusion about what parts of that general performance theory apply to performance art.
  • It also limits the possibilities to theorise on the specificities of performance art.
  • Due to some of this laziness, things become messy. The fact that all these considerations are actually generated by people who do not do performance art, or who drag a heavy limb from other fields of origin does not help either, makes us question their authority.
  • There is a lot of “theory” on performance art that just keeps on repeating the same clichés for decades now... the need for presence, the need for risk taking, bla bla bla. Please do not even start mentioning that “espace-temps” thing otherwise I’ll scream.
  • There is also the criticism aiming at “pieces” of performance art, which reveals expectations (a dramaturgy, a “spectacle”) not fully thought through (but what dramaturgy? What spectacle?). Such expectations are, therefore, prejudgements.

  • On the 22nd of December we started unfolding a new pamphlet which is post-“all these things” and draws people’s attention to some interesting sources for reflecting more carefully about what performance art is. None of this is really new, but for some reason those sources seem to remain largely overlooked. We will dedicate particular attention to Kati Röttger and Emmanuel Levinas.

Documentation:  Watch the video of the conference.

Text references: Levinas Totalité et Infini.

Röttger The mystery of the in-between.