Looking back on performance

4. temps

4. tempsLooking back on performance, I just spent the last two days going back over work that I’ve done and especially concentrating on performance pieces. A lot of the work that I have done has been in performance art.

I do not put much about it on this site because I feel that “you really have to be there”.

However over the next few weeks I will try to document as much as I can and share different parts of this thing that I do with you.

It has all been sparked off by some students of mine askingĀ  how do you do performance art? So I am trying to show them ways to do “performance art”.

The short answer? There is no way to do performance art. It is really just a way of doing things, a gesture and sometimes needing the public there as a witness. It is mediocrity and anti technique. And it is the opposite. It is anything and/ but it escapes definition.

The only things that seem to be constant are space and time. You could add in gravity and human beings as well. But I’m sure there are ways of doing performance art with animals (cf. Laurie Anderson’s Music for Dogs) and maybe, performance art only exists in this multiverse.

Or maybe all of us are doing performances in this reality.Here is me performing as an artist in my workspace.

Macdara Smith in his workspace. Photo: Thomas Sappe
Macdara Smith in his workspace. Photo: Thomas Sappe

Performance art can be incredibly rewarding both to the people who witness it and those who do it. It can also be a horrible failure because it promises so much. And fails to deliver. That risk is what is at the heart of performance art and its promise of freedom. In dark times! Ha. Ha. Ha.

These are the aspects of performance that are so fascinating. The freedom of it. This approach informs a lot of my other work. And my other work helps when I do performance as well.

So, now you know how to do it- do performance art today!

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