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Presentations and discussions. 20th February 2010


normal">Performance, memory, re-enactment


Dicussion forum with the partaicipation of  Ong Keng Sen, Ana Longoni, Antonio Prieto, Rebecca Schneider, Janez Jansa, Goran Sergej Pristas, Bojana Cvejic e Isabel de Naverán. 

ARCO. 20th February 2010

The concept of “disappearance” is inextricably bound to the concept of “presence” when defining performance practice. The resistance to objectification shifts subjectivity to an area of transit, that elusive present which can, however, contain within itself both past and anticipation. As such, artistic action has proven itself to be particularly effective in making disappearances visible: there is a coherence between the medium and the object, or rather between environment and that experience which resists objectification as well as representation.

Victims of disappearance, either individuals or narrations, are left outside history and consigned to the space of memory. Memory differs from the imagination in its pretence to reality, to a reconstitution. However, it shares with it the presence of absence. Making the absent present is, in some way, a challenge to the current game of reality and, in that challenge, imagination and memory can crossover to the point where fiction contaminates the reconstitution of the missing to achieve the objective of the present. Contrary to the orthodox definition of performance, which clings to the real, fiction, and even the fabulous, can become a means of understanding and intervention.

Imagination and memory share other characteristics that differentiate them from scientific knowledge and history: their proximity to the body and the sensitive, their secondary relationship with writing. A few decades ago it seemed possible to draw a clear distinction between history and memory based respectively on their relationship with writing (code) and orality (corporeality). However, verbal language is no longer dominant in our construction of the history because it is becoming less so in our daily communication. History does not have to be written.

While performative practices shed their fixation with the bodily-organic (often identified with the real, the present, the unrepresentable), artists discover new ways to imagine or to perform knowledge and history. And this applies even to the very history of performative practices, to that history until recently considered impossible without running the risk of betraying the truth of the medium itself. Many artists’ interest in re-enacting or re-staging unrepeatable pieces of the past is symptomatic of a new concern for thinking history though the history of performance practice: the history of the body, of gestures, of modes of communication, of the history of memories and the history of projects.

Coordinator: José A. Sánchez, Professor at the School of Fine Arts of Cuenca

Special guest: Ong Keng Sen, director of Theatre Works, Singapour


Forum Programme:


1. “Bringing to present/bringing to presence”

           Antonio Prieto, Critic and lecturer at Universidad Veracruzana, Mexico

           Ana Longoni, writer, curator and professor at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina.


2. “Re-enactments”

           Rebecca Schneider, Lecturer at the Brown University, Providence, USA

           Janes Janza, Artist and writer. East Dance Academy


3. "Choreographies of the attention”

          Goran Sergej Pristas, Artist and writer, BAD-CO, Theater Academy Zagreb

          Bojana Cvejic, Artist and theoretician, P.A.R.T.S (Brussels) and TKH Centar (Belgrade)

          Isabel de Naverán, Critic and researcher, UPV-EH

Actividad subvencionada por el Ministerio de Cultura