Over the last few decades “performance art” has imposed itself on contemporary theatre, regardless of the ambiguity of the word itself and the consequent particular confusion that it may create in the field of theatre, where the theatre performance is traditionally one of the most important objects of study. Originally developed in teh visual arts of the 1960s, with their search for new forms of expression, often oriented towards the performing arts and the multimedia, “performance art” or simply “performance” has become an integrated part of the experimental theatre or theatre avant-garde in our time. More than a fashion or a simple trend, it has come to question the contemporary theatre, thus preparing for a return to the sources or to the essence of theatre itself.
At the present time, however, performance is a much wider concept than merely a tendency in contemporary theatre. It is important to point to the interdisciplinary character of the concept, which is clearly shown in the widespread use of performance as an independent research method with special departments of performance studies at several universities in the United States. In this respect it can only be compared to the importance that semiotics has gained as a widely used method in various research fields.
As a research method performance is closely related to anthropology, with a special interest in the origins of man, the human body (and mind) and the collective memory of a period situated at the beginning of the development of the society we now are living in. Even the vocabulary used within performance studies is often borrowed from anthropology. It is at this fundamental level that the field of performance studies joins with other neighbouring disciplines, such as linguistics, psychoanalysis, sociology, gender studies and even religious studies. (Continue reading the preface by Sven Åke Heed in NTS vol 9…)
Sven Åke Heed
Anton V. Sergeev
Sergei Eisenstein and the Spectators’ Metamorphoses
A Black Crucified Donkey. Carlo Goldoni’s Les vingt deux infortunes d’Arlequin as performed by the TAMeatromusica and the Ravenna Teatro
Performance Art in Contemporary German Theatre. Interpretations by Bondy, Müller and Breth
You Can See It Now. Wrapped Reichstag as Performance
The Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium or the Mind-Body Islands
Theatre as a Sophisticated Experiment. Kristen Dehlholm, artistic director of Hotel Pro Forma, talks to Eva Rask Knudsen
Erik Exe Christoffersen
Hotel Pro Forma: Dust (Wau!) Støv
Rite(s) of Time
Theatres Without Theatre