2nd DaDao Live Art Festival in Beijing, China July 2004

15 July 2004
International Symposium
"From Practice to Model"

Conveners: Thomas J. Berghuis, WU Hong
Special guest: Wang Nanming
at Now Design Club, Dashanzi Art District


It was Marx who spoke of Napoleon in that sometimes the same events occur twice in history: the first time they have real historical impact, whereas the second time they are no more than its farcical evocation and its grotesque avatar - nourished by a legendary reference.

Those who consider performance art to be a field of practice of the past may be in need of some recognition ofthe present. Performance art is alive, although its practices are perhaps too much based on reai time for those interested producing timeiy constructions to be important. Therefore we often see how exhibitions of contemporary art taking no notice of perforrnance practices, unless it becomes reproduced in photographs, on film, or any other form that creates the object.

The present challenges for performance lies not so much in practices. Not when one recognizes how over the past decade a huge number of artists around the world have again worked themselves to extreme ends to prove that art can offer more direct signals on our contemporaneity.

Here art becomes moved from merely being treated as an object oftemporal display, and instead is given prominence in the space ofthe workshop where the subject and object can directly confront each other.

When performance art practices are no longer seen as issues of the past than future challenges lie in providing the space and discursive field needed for these practices to continue.

In recent times such space can be found in a wide range of performance art festivals that are taking place each year in a wide range of countries around the world. However, as many of these festivals prove, the discursive field on performance still needs to be widened up, creating an awareness on what it means when artlsts deal directly with time, space, and the audiences. This is where te term 'live art' may become of use again, pointing at those events that are able to create direct historical impact, rather than a curator's nourishment of a legendary reference.

Thomas J. Berghuis
Beijing, 8 July 2004

Time Schedule

Practices and its Constraints - Iutroducing Performance Art in China
Convener: Wang Nanming
In this session leading art critics and curators from China will be invited to present their views on performance art as it has been practiced in China during the final decade of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century.
Prospective participants include: Gao Ling, Leng Lin, Wang Nanming, Huang Du, Zhang Zhaohui

Sta(te)ging Performance - Challenging the Practice of Performance in Asia
Convener: Thomas J. Berghuis
In this session several participating artists from Asia, all of whom have been involved in organlzing performance art events will be invited to speak on their experiences and some of the chalienges involved in the practices and pubiic display ofthese practices in Asia.
Prospective participants include: Lee Wen (Singapore), Zhu Ming (China), Arahmaiani (Indonesia), Yuan Mor'o Ocampo (Philippines)

"Think UK" Performance
Cai Yuan and JJ Xi
(China/UK based artists)

Live Art - Opening up a Discourse on the Embodied Event (Tentative Title)
Convener: Thomas J. Berghuis
This session features visiting curators and artists from the UK who have become active in thinking about new roles for the term 'Iive art' to open up the discourse of performative and time based practices that are unrestricted by artform boundaries.

Into the Event - Post Sense Sensibiiity, Live Art and the Notion of the Real
Convener: Wu Hong
This session features a group of artists and art theorists from China who have recently been involved in setting up events that move beyond the model of the exhibition and instead aim to create new stages for the direct production ofart in public and private spaces in China.
Prospective participants include: Shu Yang, Michael Mayhey, Wang Chuyu, Thomas J. Berghuis

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