The Power Institute Foundation for Art and Visual Culture

What is Performance Art? Australian Perspectives


Edited by Adam Geczy and Mimi Kelly


ISBN 978-0-909952-93-8
432 pages, paperback
130 illustrations
248 x 172 mm 
1080 gms


What is Performance Art? Australian Perspectives brings together texts from Australia’s most prominent theorists in the field together with major exponents of performance art themselves, creating a critical archive, and dialogue, that stand as central document of Australian performance art’s first fifty years.  

Performance art in Australia now has a long and rich history that until only recently has been situated within the larger narrative of Australian art. It is a practice that has engaged with important issues of the self and being and remains at the epicentre of expressions of gender, politics and the nature of communication itself.

Transient in nature, performance art is also mobile, economical and elastic. Unlike other Australian traditions (such as landscape painting), there has never been a question of what is distinctively Australian about it. This is because Australian performance art has always inhabited an international framework. But still, it is worth asking: what is the nature and contribution of Australian performance art from the 1970s until the present day?

Published by Power Publications




Introduction: What is Performance Art?
by Adam Geczy

Part I Histories

Imaginary, Symbolic, Real: A Short History of Performance  
by Rex Butler

‘To Give Lip’: Why Art Writing went Hand-in-Hand with the Appearance of Performance Art in Australia
by Heather Barker and Charles Green

Performance Art—Live and on Screen  
by Anne Marsh

Encounters with Performance/Art: Then and Now  
by Sarah Miller

Space—Actant—Event: A Performance Art Criterion  
by Laini Burton

Performance Disturbance: Performance Art and Sculpture  
by Charles Green

Performativity and Indigenous Art  
by Ian McLean

Part II Theories

‘A Space within Time Itself’: The Time Signatures of Performance Art  
by Edward Scheer

Performance as Populism/Populism as Performance  
by Rex Butler

Performance Art and Performing Gender  
by Adam Geczy

Falling into Place: How Performance Reflects the Ontology of Happening 
by Robert Nelson

Still Fraught, Still Relevant: Performing Through Popular Culture  
by Mimi Kelly

Part III Interpretations

Ken Unsworth: An Epilogue  
by Brad Buckley

Heartlines: Memory and Desire  
by Mary Knights

Performance as Component  
by John Conomos

Ob-scenic World: Romaine Moreton’s Ragtag 
by Maurice O’Riordan

When Very Little Happens: Durational Performances by Fiona McGregor and Tony Schwensen
by Blair French

White Girls Can’t Hump: Richard Bell’s Culture Jamming and Performance Politics  
by Janelle Evans

Framing Movement  
by Hannah Matthews

Part IV Testimonials 

Some Thoughts on What Performance Art Is  
by Jill Orr

Performance and Filming Fresh Skin like a Baby(2010): A Reflection on the Creation of the Work and Possible Future Display 
by Mike Parr

Space, Place and In Between
by Tess de Quincey

And if She Contacts Me Again She Will Know the Meaning of Pain
by Deej Fabyc

360-Degree Self-Portrait: About Turn
by Julie Rrap

Insert Token to Play
by Blak Douglas

Unsettling Suite
by S.J. Norman

I Stand In: Intimate Transactions for the Forgotten, Misplaced, Unrecovered and Removed
by Julie Vulcan

Enduring Parallels
by Ineke Dane

Murray River Punch: The Drink, the Paste, the Soup
by Bonita Ely

Disclosure and Fittingsat Sydney University, 1972
by Tim Johnson The Deep Play of Financial and Cultural Speculation
by Michael Goldberg

Dr Nobody
by Paul Mumme

Every Artist Remembered (EAR)
by Agatha Gothe-Snape

Renny Kodgers, Anal Scroll
by Mark Shorter

Gift/Back: A Participatory Performance Project by Unreasonable Adults—A Remixed Memory from Writings
by Jason Sweeney and Julie Vulcan

The Ghosts of Nothing: The World of a Work of Performance-Framed-as-Art
by Sean Lowry and Ilmar Taimre

Selected Works
by Peter Kennedy

In the Event of Amnesia the City Will Recall
by Denis Beaubois


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