The continuing incorporation of performance practices into visual art institutions, archives and collections, art markets and modes of global dissemination has paralleled a shift in its critical conception. Rather than being seen as a static historical object, a performance is now understood as an uncertain work that morphs over time; the ephemerality of its event is complicated by its recurrence, its lasting and many afterlives. In what ways does the ‘persistence of performance’ challenge our understandings of the material and immaterial, presence and absence, the secular and the spiritual? How might radical curatorial practices navigate a relation to the afterlives of performance and their morphology? I will look at several examples of my recent curatorial practice that advance and complicate relations between bodies, action and material things within the economies and practices of the museum, whilst addressing questions of genealogical value.
Adrian Heathfield is a writer and curator working across the scenes of live art, performance and dance. He is the author of Out of Now a monograph on the artist Tehching Hsieh and editor of Perform, Repeat, Record and of Live: Art and Performance. He has curated a number of significant performance projects in museums, theatres and galleries including Live Culture at Tate Modern in 2003 and the Taiwan Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale 2017. Heathfield is Professor of Performance and Visual Culture at the University of Roehampton, London.