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Performativity in the Gallery

Staging Interactive Encounters


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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11. Attending the Gallery


← 190 | 191 →SOPHIA YADONG HAO

11Attending the Gallery

The gallery, in its concrete appearance as a room with four walls is, to misquote the title of Henri Lefebvre’s seminally influential book, a consensual event for the reproduction of social space.1 Taking this misreading as its cue, this chapter will examine how the curatorial tactics deployed around A CUT A SCRATCH A SCORE: A Comic Opera in Three Parts, sought to counter the reproduction of space, social relations and domains of knowledge.2


A man in a black suit and a bow tie stands in front of the stage. He calls out instructions, steps onto the stage, moves a prop, steps back and looks again. He walks to the left eyeing a projection, makes a signal to a group of singers, then returns to the stage and sits on a chair and speaks to one of the performers. He stands up again and steps off the stage to fix his gaze on the assembly of performers, props and projections that occupy one half of ← 191 | 192 → the Cooper Gallery. He turns away and glances at the audience who sit on chairs arranged in long lines opposite the stage. The audience looks back at him, Bruce McLean, as he marks out a space between the performance and the audience (see Figures 11.1 and 11.2).

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