The fifth edition of the annual seminars’ series Three Uses of the Knife is dedicated to explore what and how new economies, formats and strategies shape contemporary performance-related art. The latter today is widely integrated into exhibition programs in museums and large-scale art events such as Whitney Biennial, NY, or dOCUMENTA, Kassel, and, thus, is often discussed in terms of service and experience economies. However, performance-related art practice resists full and smooth integration into institutional framework and creates a number of challenges both for institutions and performance artists.
Simultaneously performance art experienced several shifts within its own paradigm: it integrated such disciplines as dance and theater, or even hypnosis. Performances take part not only on stage or in institution but also in bodies and minds of the viewers.
All these shifts are taking place in a close relation to things and objects that participate in the performances, and later are suspended in a limbic condition between a common artefact and an autonomous display object. Are and how things are performing to us and each other?
The Three Uses of the Knife series will be distributed into four days according to the three major questions of explorations: Things and objects in performances; Internal performances of body and mind; performance-related art and institution. The audience will meet and hear presentations by Éric Mangion (FR); Myriam Lefkowitz (FR) in conversation with Kristupas Sabolius (LT), Pascal Rousseau (FR) & Marcos Lutyens (USA); Alicia Frankovich & Anna Gritz (UK) accordingly.
September 27, Friday, 6 p.m.
Performativity of things
Éric Mangion (FR)
Moderated by Monika Lipšic
The history of performance unfolded in a close relation to things and objects that participate in the performances, and later are suspended in a limbic condition between a common artefact and an autonomous display object. Are and how things are performing to us and each other? French curator Éric Mangion will analyze this topic through introduction to his exhibition “Do not play with dead things”. It was the first exhibition that shed light on the role of objects in the history of performance, inviting the viewer to consider what meanings are added to artistic practices through the participating of things.
October 10, Thursday, 7.30 p.m.
Arts Printing House (Siltadarzio g. 6, Vilnius)
Performativity of Body and Mind of the Encounter I
Myriam Lefkowitz (FR) in conversation with Kristupas Sabolis (LT)
The fifth edition of the annual seminars’ series Three Uses of the Knife is dedicated to explore what and how new economies, formats and strategies shape contemporary performance-related art. In a number of recent contemporary art practices, artists employ the human mind and body as medium for their works. With a help of different techniques and medias various images and sensory experiences are created in the mind of the participant that become a unique piece exclusively owned by the same participant or group. These new art practices and the phenomenon of creation of the artwork no where else, but in the participant’s mind, will be discussed in two sessions of meetings, which will enable the attendants to undergo the experience proposed by the artists, and to discuss these experiences in open conversations.
The first meeting of the two sessions around this topic, titled Performativity of Body and Mind of the Encounter, will take place on October 10, 7.30 p.m., in the Arts Printing House (Siltadarzio str. 6, Vilnius). The artist Myriam Lefkowitz and the philosopher Kristupas Sabolius will be in conversation, through an induction device and a philosophical talk questioning the concept of imagination in relation with perceptive experiences. What form of images do those experiences produce? How do those images circulate in all kinds of different activities, slightly disrupting (or even modifying?) the relation we weave to our surrounding?
The organizers recommend to bring a soft blanket or a mat in order to be able to comfortably dive into the unique experience proposed by Myriam Lefkowitz.
The presentation and discussion will be in English with no translation.
Three Uses of the Knife: Performativity of Body and Mind II
A third meeting of the annual Three Uses of the Knife series will take place on October 26, Saturday, 7 p.m. at the Arts Printing House (Siltadarzio str. 6, Vilnius). In it, the participants will continue the discussions and experiences around the subject of performativity of body and mind, this time focusing on the relation between art and hypnosis. The guest speakers: intermedia artist Marcos Lutyens (USA) with curator and contemporary art historian prof. Pascal Rousseau (FR). Moderator of the discussion – Dovilė Tumpytė.
Marcos Lutyens has often worked with various tools and approaches to explore the unconscious and associated schema. During the meeting in Vilnius, he will lead a creative workshop The Un-conscious Un-iversity, in which the induction’s pathway will lead the participants in a hypnotic state through a typical day at this Un-stitution: from the building itself, automatic drawing, automatic thinking, and automatic being to generation of self and collective worlds. The shared impressions of the participants could be of used to incubate and develop a school and its curriculum in the future.
On the other half of the event, the participants will hear a lecture by prof. Pascal Rousseau. The curator contributed his essay Under the Influence Hypnosis as a New Medium for the (d)OCUMENTA 13 series 100 Notes, 100 Thoughts. In his notebook, philosopher Pascal Rousseau uses the medium of hypnosis and an account of its followers to draw a line from the fin de siècle to the beginning of the twenty-first century. At the moment, hypnosis is applied by various contemporary artists and cultural producers as a neo-conceptual method that transcends the polarity of active-passive and reflects on the historical roots of hypnosis. At the end of the 19th, the new psychology favours what could be named the “golden age of medical hypnosis” (Charcot, Bernheim). Far for being restricted to a medical discourse, this hypnotic paradigm is rapidly transferred into Aesthetics and the Arts, specifically into the performative arts (dance) where the cognitive relationship between body and mind is strategic. With a focus on Loie Fuller, Pascal Rousseau will attempt to outline how it’s possible to consider hypnosis as a real paradigm for modernism in arts.
The lectures will be held in English.
Sponsored by: Lithuanian Ministry of Culture, Lewben Art Foundation
December 13, 7 p.m., Arts Printing House (Siltadarzio 6, Vilnius)
Body in the Institution – Institutional Body
Anna Gritz (UK) and Alicia Frankovich (NZ / DE)
Moderated by: Virginija Januškevičiūtė
In the recent years we have witnessed how performance and dance have been widely integrated into exhibition programs in museums and large-scale art events. This relation of performance to institutional structures is often discussed in terms of service and experience economies. However, performance-related art practice resists full and smooth integration into institutional framework and creates a number of challenges both for institutions and for performance artists. Curator Anna Gritz (UK) and artist Alicia Frankovich (DE) will explore these issues, and the productive possibilities of the relationship between institution and performance in the last meeting of the Three Uses of the Knife. The event will be moderated by Virginija Januškevičiūtė, curator at the Contemporary Art Center (CAC), Vilnius.
In her presentation, Anna Gritz will reflect on a general tendency to absorb/present durational and performative strategies in institutions, relating this tendency to existing theory and research on the subject of high performance, the live, and productivity, and also to her own programme at the South London Gallery, which is very much focused on testing out the margins of performative practices and the infrastructure that enables performative work. She will present the practices of Cally Spooner, Gerry Bibby, and Kelly Nipper amongst others as her case studies during the talk.
Alicia Frankovich’s talk, titled “Working conditions: performing within institutions” will explore these problematics from an artist point of view.
Several strategies will be discussed, including works where she has exhibited the social relations of the artist, curator and other exhibition staff as an extension of analyses into the conditions of art production, and constructing situations that make these social dynamics visible and political. In addition, Frankovich will also discuss the way she has worked with the time structures and constraints of exhibitions in order to investigate the politics of artistic labour and its consumption.
The event will be held in English.
Organizers: Artnews.lt, National Gallery of Art.
Sponsors: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania, Lewben Art Foundation.