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Performativity in the Gallery

Staging Interactive Encounters

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Edited By Outi Remes, Laura MacCulloch and Marika Leino

This book coincides with an increase in the programming of live art elements in many galleries and museums. Traditional art history has, however, been wary of live art’s interdisciplinarity and its tendency to encourage increased formal and conceptual risk taking. Time-based performances have challenged the conventions of documentation and the viewer’s access to the art experience. This book questions the canon of art history by exploring participation, liveness, interactivity, digital and process-based performative practices and performance for the camera, as presented in gallery spaces.
The essays present both academic research as well as case studies of curatorial projects that have pushed the boundaries of the art historical practice. The authors come from a wide range of backgrounds, ranging from curators and art producers to academics and practising artists. They ask what it means to present, curate and create interdisciplinary performative work for gallery spaces and offer cutting-edge research that explores the intricate relationship between art history, live and performing arts, and museum and gallery space.
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9. Crowd Control: Encountering Art’s Audiences

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← 156 | 157 →LEAH LOVETT

9Crowd Control: Encountering Art’s Audiences

A black and white reproduction of a photograph of an encounter. A young boy stands separate amidst conversations. He is at a safe distance from the action which holds his attention. A performance (the photographer’s subject). Three women conjoined into a precarious surveillance unit, held in formation and filming the exhibition space from above. Their arresting uniform: black stilettos, leather-capped leggings, hi-vis jacket and ex-police issue riot helmet-turned-tripod-foot.

* * *

There were more of you, but they were situated strategically. A few occupied the monumental plinths, tracking troublemakers through telephoto lenses and preventing those who would address you from taking the stage. The rest wore full riot gear and stood shoulder to shoulder in lines, bridging the gaps between boarded-up buildings and dividing your lot from passers-by. Then the boundary their bodies made began to contract and you were condensed with the rest into a mass.

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