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Alkazi Theatre Archives

A Bibliographic Listing from the Archive

Histories of Performance Documentation: Museum, Artistic, and Scholarly Practices

Book: Histories of Performance Documentation: Museum, Artistic, and Scholarly Practices.
Edited by: Gabriella Giannachi and Jonah Westerman
Published by: Routledge, 2017.

The book ‘Histories of Performance Documentation: Museum, Artistic, and Scholarly Practices’ explores the diverse approaches museums have taken towards performance works since the 1960s. The collection delves into the challenges of documenting live events, hybrid and interactive arts, games, virtual and mixed reality performances. By doing so, it investigates how the performative aspect has become increasingly significant in museum exhibits.Within the book, prominent curators, conservators, a artists, and scholars from esteemed institutions like MoMa, Tate, SFMOMA, and the Whitney come together, contributing interviews and essays. Comprising 15 chapters, the book is divided into two parts. The first part of the book is centred on interviews, while the second part features essays. The scholarly essays offer historical analyses of various types of performance, as well as methodological reflections on how the approach to documentation produces specific kinds of knowledge.
In the introduction, Westerman clarifies that the objective of this collection is not an exhaustive survey of the field. Nor does it attempt to present a revolutionary, singular approach that simplifies the complexity, assuming that careful editorial selection could neatly define this ever-evolving field. Instead, the book aspires to something less grandiose yet potentially transformative. By offering these assembled interviews and essays, the focus shifts subtly from questioning the ontology of performance documentation to exploring historical accounts and in-depth analyses of how various uses of documentation, rooted in museum, artistic, and scholarly practices, actually shape our understanding of what constitutes performance in the first place.

“‘Histories of Performance Documentation’ offers a selection of practical histories — institutional and disciplinary— that focus on how curators, conservators, artists, and scholars do things with performance” (p.11).

Histories of Performance Documentation- Museum, Artistic, and Scholarly Practices