Re-enact, repeat, reiterate, re-perform – a practitioner’s chat

Join us for an afternoon’s discussion about re-enactment and related practices at Westspace, Melbourne Saturday 9 July 2-4 pm

If you make work or think about work that connects with re-enactment, repetition, reiteration and re-performance, or you’re just curious, please come along.

Last November in Brisbane a group of artists, curators and academics spent an afternoon talking re-enactment, repetition and the like as part of an art history conference (more about that in an earlier post on this blog). Several of us will be in Melbourne to listen in at PSi#22, the international performance studies conference and we plan a follow-up chat to discuss our work further, mull over new thoughts and generally reflect on these ideas as we work with them in our practices. We welcome new participants to our conversation.

More info:
Performance re-enactment (or “re-performance”) has emerged since the turn of the century as an arena of practice and scholarship, an embodied means of “doing” historical research as well as a way of critically reflecting on ephemeral artworks from the past. Recent texts have begun to unpick the multiple layers of mediation that produce, and emerge from, re-enactment practices. Re-enactment inevitably raises questions about authenticity and the primacy of “unmediated” experience versus the role of documentation. As experimental film scholar Jonathan Walley writes, the motivation for carrying out a re-enactment may begin with a desire to access an “authentic” experience of a past work of ephemeral art, but the physical-material practice of actually executing a re-enactment can prove unpredictably generative of insights that go far beyond the historical.

Our starting place from 2015:
Amongst the artists and curators who spoke, some looked closely at re-enactment as a creative strategy to access artworks from the past and the myriad implications of this. Others extended the the discussion to take in re-iteration and repetition as generative practices from which new work can emerge. This pointed us towards a boundary for re-enactment that brushes up against appropriation and textual analysis. The two strands crossed over in a number of ways – exploring the productive slippage from “original” to re-enactment, and alluding to the ways re-enactment generates community.

About the event photo: Elizabeth Pulie- Lee Lozano’s ‘Decide to Boycott Women’ (re-performed) March 2015. Photo Elizabeth Pulie