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Performativity in the Gallery

Staging Interactive Encounters


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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13. South African Live Art and the Representation of its Residue: On Gabrielle Goliath’s Stumbling Block



13South African Live Art and the Representation of its Residue: On Gabrielle Goliath’s Stumbling Block

Recently, live art documentation has been described as ‘the sum of all documentation materials; those which are used or produced in preparing a performance as well as materials and media used during a performance and all medial recordings created during the performance’.1 The team of scholars involved in the research project archiv performativ at the Zurich University of the Arts called these various media ‘artefacts’.2 Taking heterogeneous locational contexts into consideration (such as the predominantly Euro-American perspective on live art historiographies),3 I would like to suggest that the concept of artefact(s) allows for synonyms. South ← 221 | 222 → African cultural producers may favour another term – the ‘residue.’4 With regard to ‘the many “lives” of performance in its documentary, archival, and representational forms’,5 as Amelia Jones put it, in the following I will focus on the residue’s representation in the gallery space, looking closely at the medium of time-lapse photography. Taking both artistic and curatorial practices of how to display residues in the South African context as points of departure, my case study reflects on Gabrielle Goliath’s Stumbling Block (2011).6

As part of conversations with South African cultural producers, I have repeatedly encountered the term ‘residue’, fluctuating between curatorial tactic and artistic intention. The heterogeneity of live art’s mediatization opens up for multiple strategies of how to display these residues in the...

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