MUU organises a series of conversations on performance art, with the purpose of opening a discussion on performance art today, its various forms and approaches, artists and works, their relationship to the tradition of performance art and other art forms, ethical and social issues and current problems. Conversations on performance art -series continues with the third part Monday 1 October at 6pm in MUU Gallery and the host of the event will be Annette Arlander. This time the guest is performance artist Tomasz Szrama and the topic of discussion will be related to his specific mode of involving audiences in participatory actions, which he calls Social encounters of despair.
He explains: Characteristic feature of my work is the use of spectators, active participation of the audience and improvisation. Such a strategy embeds my presentations into the tradition of understanding performance art as a process art, where the very moment of creation and the involved risk are essential.
Tomasz Szrama (b. 1970 in Poland) graduated in 1998 from the Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw, Poland. Currently he lives in Helsinki, Finland. Szrama shifts between multiple disciplines, including photography, video and other time-based works. Regardless of the medium, a dominant thread, common in his work is the use of his own body and methods of performance art, which he practices since 1995.
Why speak about performance art?
Artists Association Muu organises a series of conversations on performance art, with the purpose of opening a discussion on performance art today, its various forms and approaches, artists and works, their relationship to the tradition of performance art and other art forms, ethical and social issues and current problems.
Performance art is often artist driven; many performance art events, festivals and publications are instigated and organised by performance artists and artist organisations. Therefore, it seems appropriate that this series of conversations, too, is instigated by artists, the artist organisation Muu.
Muu has planned to organise a series of conversations on performance art for quite a while. One impulse behind these conversations is the research project How to do Things with Performance? through which Annette Arlander has agreed to host the conversations to begin with.
But why should we speak of performance art? Traditional performance art is often ephemeral and comprises works made to be unique events. They are often aimed as conceptual actions or statements, contributions to a debate in themselves, rather than experiences to be consumed that would need the recommendation or appraisal by critiques. Of course, performance artists, too, wish for feedback on their work and want to hear the experiences of spectators, but first and foremost they need critical comments and questions from colleagues.
A performance art work is dependent on its context. Without the context of performance art, a work can, in the worst case, melt into the general selfie-boom or be understood as a mere provocation. In the current attention economy, sided by the growing experience economy, which further increases the status of art as a consumer product or fosterer of the quality of life, the creation of a relevant conversational context is not easy. Creating a context requires talk – questions and questioning, interested and critical colleagues, relating to the tradition – in other words conversation.