Curating Performance is a nine-session course unfolding over May and June with the students of the 1st and 2nd year bachelor degree program at SNDO – School of New Dance Development, Amsterdam. The course considers performance within the framework of its institutional history to think through its contextualisation, presentation and preservation through curatorial practice, and the theoretical and practical implications of this for artists, institutions and audiences alike. The course has a contemporary focus, and take as it’s starting point the recent trend for including performance within museums, galleries, and festival programmes, and the emergence of alternative contemporary arts organisations and initiatives that are dedicated to the study and curation of performance, and of which the co-ordinating organisation, If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution, is an example.
The course acknowledges that art in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, is typified by an increasingly ‘interdisciplinary’ character. This is evidenced by a fluid migration of forms, practices and terms across disciplinary boundaries and sites of presentation for visual arts, dance, theatre, music and literature, and through the potentials of new media technologies. Within this ‘curating’ and ‘performance’ have emerged as defining, widely applied and mutually influencing ideas. In the course these ideas are critically considered through selected contemporary examples of curating performance that responds to the needs of interdisciplinary practices, draw upon ideas of performance to expand theories and practices of curating, and uses performance as a key strategy to satisfy institutional agendas. In turn, how these curatorial practices have mutually influenced, been appropriated or opened up new possibilities and sites for the development of works by artists is also considered.
The curatorial practices to be covered in the course will include the presentation and collection of historic performance work, and the development of curatorial frameworks for the production and presentation of new works by artists, through such methodologies as curating performance in exhibitions and as public programme, collecting performance, performance documentation, re-performance and commissioning. The course will also consider examples of curatorial practice that engage with performance works by artists beyond a Western canon to consider what is at stake not only when disciplines intersect, but cultures as well. To complement the classroom sessions the course also includes two field trips to the Stedelijk Museum to view A Year At The Stedelijk: Tino Sehgal and Ed Atkins: Recent Ouija, with a talk by curator Martijn van Nieuwenhuyzen, and to the Tropenmuseum, to view Body Art and the permanent collections.
Through this the course aims to introduce and engage the students in the lively contemporary debates surrounding the curation of performance, and to equip them with the critical and practical skills that they require to think through how they structure and shape their own artistic work in relationship to the curatorial structures that they might choose to create, engage with, or respond to.
Curating Performance is an SNDO – School for New Dance Development course commissioning If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution. In response to SNDO course conceptualization, intentions and general outline, the programme contents has been developed by If I Can’t Dance’s director Frédérique Bergholtz and curator Susan Gibb, and will be co-ordinated by Susan Gibb.