PERFORMATIVITY Educational Art Project

27 June – 10 July 2011, Kyiv

In 2011, after much discussion about the need to explore other forms of communication that differ from conventional talk, forms that would be capable of questioning the very problem of communication, the participants of TanzLaboratorium initiated the project PERFORMATIVITY. Instead of describing the world, performative art acts in the process of communicating, on the one hand taking into consideration the time that is passing, and on the other – opening a space of doubt, as it is impossible to verify the truth of a performative message. In performativity, content is not reported; rather, it presents itself. A certain message (text or action) becomes not only a statement about something, but also a demonstration of what is being communicated.

PERFORMATIVITY is an educational art project in which the educational component moves away from the tradition of “teacher (who gives) — student (who assimilates)”; all the participants are equally involved in the situation that is being created. Project participants include choreographers, dancers, theorists, artists, actors and musicians from Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Portugal, Canada and the USA. And audiences that come to watch performances also work through their act of perceiving, which may serve as an occasion for critical self-reflection.

Among other things, the project investigates the performativity of curatorial practice and is structured as three independent curatorial research projects. Each project involves various kinds of activities that are conceptually interrelated. The curators explore the themes of their respective projects (“The Reality of Time”; “The Singularity of Absence”; “On the Other Side of the Surface”) in practice, through their own bodies. In this situation, action becomes a way of thinking that casts doubt on the action itself. In the words of anthropologist-performer Fernanda Eugenio, writing about Portuguese project participant Joao Fiadeiro, “His method… is just a clarification of vital functioning, of the operative dynamics of human relations, of cohabitation. The protagonist-artist is no longer to be seen; the only protagonist is the event itself.”

Cultural and historical research are currently experiencing a “performative turn.” This performative interpretation of the past reframes the history of various cultural, political, social and religious roles. These roles may be collective and individual, and their “performance” can be obligatory or voluntary.

The crisis of cultural prospects in Ukraine, as reflected in the level of development of contemporary art, art education, etc., forces us to look at the country’s history and culture in a cardinally new way. As a phenomenon that transgresses genre, disciplinary and media boundaries and demands constant analysis of itself and the conditions of its own existence, contemporary art is capable of influencing the development of cognitive technologies and cultural innovations. The performative turn is one possible alternative for Ukrainian culture.

PERFORMATIVITY is the first step in the formation of an alternative art education platform in Ukraine that may expand and change form and location depending on the needs of the artistic community and context.

Curatorial projects:
“The Reality of Time” – Olga Komisar
“The Singularity of Absence” – Larysa Venediktova
“On the Other Side of the Surface” – Oleksandr Lebediev, Larissa Babij

This project was made possible through the generous support of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation “Development of Ukraine”, the Polish Institute, the Embassy of Portugal and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (Portugal)

Partner organizations: Foundation Center for Contemporary Art, Cultural Project, Kupidon Art Group, National Art Museum of Ukraine, Karas Gallery, Les Kurbas National Theatre Arts Center