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Histories of Performances

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First and foremost, the Performing Arts isn’t what many peole think. The Performing Arts are esencially a form of creativity performed in front of thr audience. It can reflect society, or it can be random. The only thing that matters, is that its creative

Also, the performing arts must be in real time and at a theater. The word theater was derived from the Greek word “Theatron” whch means seeing. Many thinkk a theate is refined to just one place or building. A theater is any location with an audience. The word theatre could also mean company, troupe, of people or porfessionals. In terms of a company, theatre mean the body of ideas, the rights to the plays being preformed, the contract bewteen the perfomers and management.

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The German Bauhaus, founded in 1919, included a theater workshop to explore relationships between space, sound and light. The Black Mountain College (founded [in the United States] by Bauhaus instructors exiled by the Nazi Party), continued incorporating theatrical studies with the visual arts – a good 20 years before the 1960s Happenings happened. You may also have heard of “Beatniks” – stereotypically: cigarette-smoking, sunglasses and black-beret-wearing, poetry-spouting coffeehouse frequenters of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Though the term hadn’t yet been coined, all of these were forerunners of Performance Art. By 1970, Performance Art was a global term, and its definition a bit more specific. “Performance Art” meant that it was live, and it was art, not theater

Performance Art also meant that it was art that could not be bought, sold or traded as a commodity. Actually, the latter sentence is of major importance. Performance artists saw (and see) the movement as a means of taking their art directly to a public forum, thus completely eliminating the need for galleries, agents, brokers, tax accountants and any other aspect of capitalism.

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Next to the claims for the total destruction of any museum and libraries, the apotheosis of war and speed, for the first time in history the action itself respectively the gestus was allocated with an artistic meaning: "The gestus will not be any longer any retained and encapsulated moment of the universal dynamic, but will be rather the eternalisation of a dynamic feel" (Jones, Amelia, 1998, p. 63).This avantgardistic advance questioned all given principles of the art-business and - market and did not loose any actuality up to nowadays at all. In their shows, common all day actions like reading newspapers, to look at their watches or to blow ones nose became part of their performances

The audience, not used to any scenes like that at all, reacted often with extreme disgust, anger and rejection. Tumults broke out again and again, that soon became integrated and consciously provocative parts of the shows, forcing the spectators out of their passive roles and to produce new thought-provoking impulses (Lebel, Jean-Jaques, 1965).

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Obviously, like several contemporary art movements, Performance is acted out for it's own sake and according to its own priorities. Sometimes resembling a circus act, at times amusing, offensive - even repulsive, it challenges conventional ethics and (above all) our notion of what art is, or should be.

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Boccioni, Umberto: Die futuristische Malerei – Technisches Manifest, in: Jappe, Elisabeth: Performance, Ritual, Prozess. Handbuch der Aktionskunst in Europa, München – New York: Prestel Verlag 1993, p.11

Actions from: „Disconcerted states of mind“ by Giacomo Balla, in a description by Goldberg, RoseLee: Performance Art – From Futurism to the Present, New York: Harry N. Abrams Inc. 1988, p. 28

Jones, Amelia: BodyArt/Performing the subject, Minneapolis/London: University of Minnesota Press 1998, p. 63 14 Cf.

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