16 May 2010

A long weekend of Live Art at the ICA, curated by Tim Etchells. 21-23 May 2010

“I worked with Ant Hampton last year to produce a provocative virtual season of events for the ICA when they closed their Live Art department, so it's an odd thing to be invited into an institution of which one has been publicly critical of. However the chance to help hold the doors of the ICA open to Live Art for a while is too good to miss, especially considering the ICA's historical role as an important supporter of live work.”

With contributions from leading artists, academics and writers in the field, Futures & Pasts is a long weekend at the ICA, London exploring the diverse pasts and possible futures of Live Art and performance practise. Curated by writer, artist and performance maker Tim Etchells with the aid of artist Ant Hampton and Lois Keidan (Live Art Development Agency) this ambitious event combines marathon lecture performance with a rolling scheme of conversations, interviews and archival investigations alongside speculations about the future of this vigorous and vital area of contemporary art practice. Futures & Pasts culminates in a day long Open Space discussion event or public meeting, framed by Phelim McDermott and inviting practitioners, curators, audiences to identify and explore key questions and ways forward for the Live Art and performance scene in the UK.

Futures & Pasts comprises four main strands. You can join as an audience member or participant anytime over the long weekend, moving between parallel events and discussions.

Some of the Pasts
Friday – Sunday 21-23 May. Lower Gallery, ICA. 12 – 7pm.

Over three days the gallery is transformed as the site of an ongoing investigation on the power of performance, as a succession of invited artists, curators and writers linked to the field frame investigations on the exuberant and influential past of the form. Audiences can arrive anytime, stay, leave and return at any point. Conversations, interviews, slideshows, mini-performances, video-screenings and all kinds of playful hybrid interventions unfold in the gallery as different perspectives on the archive are explored. Personal recollections sit next to attempts at authoritative time lines, inexplicable images and sounds sit next to narratives and interactions of different kinds.

Some of the Futures
Saturday 22 May. ICA Theatre 12-10pm.

Throughout the day audiences for this marathon event can arrive anytime, stay, leave and return at any point. More detailed timetable of who’s speaking and when available in due course.

A ten hour durational performance lecture in which artists, academics and writers connected to the field of live performance make independent thirty minute presentations on the topic of the future. From diverse artistic futures, to the future of arts institutions and funding regimes, to the future makeup of audiences or participants in Live Art these presentations show contemporary artists and thinkers leaping forwards to the challenge of what’s next. Expect speculation, polemic, optimism and pessimism in distinctly unequal measures.


Sunday 23 May. ICA Theatre and breakout spaces. All day. All welcome. Facilitated by Phelim McDermott.

This Open Space Discussion Event is open to anyone interested and concerned about the future of performance and live art in the UK. The day will begin from the questions above and below but will rapidly develop to address  new questions proposed by those attending the meeting.

What are the particular draws or necessities of making live work now? And what might these be in the future?

Iconoclastic, idiosyncratic and yet deeply connected to questions of public and social space Live Art and performance exists at certain fault line in the relationship between the individual and the collective. What are the tensions between independence and the institutional realm? What does each approach or context offer that the other cannot, are they irreconcilable and/or mutually exclusive approaches to culture? What are the possible advantages and possible pitfalls of acting collectively as artists? What roles can artists and arts institutions play to help support the development of radical art practice?

If any of these issues interest you or there are any other issues you want to raise and work on please come to this event. All are welcome practitioners, academics, audience.

We will be working in Open Space, which may be new to you. It has been used successfully all over the world since 1985 for dealing with wide ranging issues from redesigning aeroplane doors, creating shows, to strategising social activism. It is an open-ended event that enables a self-organising group to use its collective imagination to deal with complex issues within an incredibly short space of time. By the end of the event the following will have occurred:

– Every issue of concern to anybody will have been raised, if they took responsibility for doing that.
– All issues will have received full discussion, to the extent desired.
A full report of issues and discussions will be in the hands of all participants.

And you will have taken part in making it happen.

Performing Wikipedia
Friday – Sunday 21-23 May. 12 – 7pm. Public Spaces, ICA.

Performing Wikipedia project will set up camp in the bar area at the ICA from 12-7pm each day. Please join us with laptops, reference materials and your writing skills.

Performing Wikipedia invites participants to collaborate on updating the on-line encyclopedia with materials about performance and live art. A marathon attempt to write the legacy of performance into electronic public space, Performing Wikipedia is at once a mediated collaborative performance, and an intervention which propels the history and representation of Live Art into this significant on line encyclopedia/resource.