Performance as social practice
Clausen, S. (2012) Performance as social practice. [Show/Exhibition]
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Starting point for these outputs is a large scale research project in collaboration with the Zurich University for the Arts and the Kunstmuseum Thun, looking at a redefinition of Social Sculpture (Joseph Beuys/ Bazon Brock, 1970) as a functional device re-deployed to expand the art discourse into a societal discourse. Although Beuys‘ version of a social sculpture involved notions of abstruse mysticism and reformulations of a national identity these were never-the less part of a social transformation that shifted and re-arranged power relations. Following Laclau and Mouffe in their contention that democray is a fundamentally antagonistic process and contesting Grant Kester’s understanding of a ethically based relational practice, this work is alignes itself with Hirschhorn’s claim to an aesthetic practice within communities, following the possibility to view a socially based practice from both ends of the ethics debate, whereby ethical aspects fuels the aethetic to “create situations that are beautiful because they are ethical and shocking because they are ethical, thus in turn aesthetic because they are ethical” (O’Donnell). This project sets out to engage in activities which interact with surrounding communities and evoce new imaginations of site, thereby understanding site as a catalysts for subjective emergences. Performance is tested as a site for social practice. Archival research into local audio/visual resources, such as the Swiss Radio Archive, the Swiss Military Film Archives and zoological film archives of the Basel Zoo, was instrumental to the navigation of this work, under theme of crisis, catastrophy, landscape, fallout, in order to create a visual language for an active performance site. Commissioned by the Kunstmuseum Thun in collaboration with the University for the Arts in Zurich as part of a year long exhibition programme, (other artists are Jeanne Van Heeswijk (NL) and San Keller (CH), ) this project brings together a series of different works in a new performace installation. The performance process includes a performance workshop with 30 school children from local Swiss schools and their teachers, which was conducted publicly in the museum spaces. It enabled the children to engage with an unexpected set of tribal and animalistic behaviours, looking at situations of flight and rescue, resulting in a large performance choreography orchestration without an apparent conductor, it includes a collaboration with renowned Swiss zoologist, Prof Klaus Zuberbühler(University of St Andrews) and the Colonal General Haldimann commander of the military base in Thun. The installation included 2 static video images, shot in an around spectacular local cave site (Beatus Caves) including 3 children. The project will culminate in an edited edition of the Oncurating Journal, (issue no, tbc, in 2012) including interviews and essays from project collaborators. (Army Commander General, Thun, Jörg Hess, performance script, Timothy Long, and others)
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