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36ème Congrès du CIHA - Lyon 2024

Parrainé par le Ministère de la Culture,
le Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche,
le Ministère de l'Europe et des Affaires étrangères

Performance: Conservation, Materiality, Knowledge

Jules Pelta Feldman 1, Emilie Magnin 2, Hanna B. Hölling 3

1/2 Bern Academy Of The Arts - Bern (Switzerland), 3Bern University (Switzerland)

Sujet en anglais / Topic in english

Performance art is often considered an immaterial medium. Yet its immateriality is belied not only by the material physical traces it leaves behind – including documents, costumes, and other objects – but also by the insistent, if ephemeral, materiality of the human body. This proposed panel seeks papers on the topic of performance’s materiality considered through the lens of conservation. What is the relationship between a performance and the materials it leaves behind, and what experience of the performance can be gleaned from them? Do photographs, “relics,” and other objects replace an absent body, thus smothering performance’s liveness, or do they refer melancholically to an unfillable lack? How might we understand the materiality of the body or, indeed, that of non-human performers such as animals, machines, or even bacteria? How can the material or immaterial elements of a performance be conserved? Though performance has sometimes been considered beyond the realm of art conservation, its increasing presence in museums and museum collections has rendered these questions urgent.

Encouraging global perspectives and particularly those form underrepresented contexts, we are calling for papers from scholars, conservators, artists, curators and others that take a theoretical or practical approach to exploring the various materialities of performance and their role in its continuation. We invite contributions from all over the world that explore the conservation of contemporary, historical or indigenous performance; comparative examples of modern Western and non-Western conservation practices of performance conservation; performative elements in material art forms; the materiality of the performing body and its documentatory potential; the persistence of performance through physical elements or traces; the role of orality in the conservation of performance; aspect of continuity of performance in indigenous cultures; non-human performance and its conservation; care-thinking and communities of care and performance conservation; or any other relevant topic.

This panel is organized by team members of Performance: Conservation, Materiality, Knowledge, a research project sponsored by the Swiss National Science Foundation and hosted by the Bern Academy of the Arts. While there has been increasing interest within scholarship and curatorial practice in performance and its afterlives, this research project is among the first to specifically address the problem of performance conservation.