Adrian Heathfield writes on, curates and creates performance. He is the author of Out of Now, a monograph on the artist Tehching Hsieh, editor of Ally and Live: Art and Performance and co-editor of Perform, Repeat, Record. His numerous essays have been translated into ten languages.

He conducted the three year European Union funded creative research project Curating the Ephemeral (2014–2016) on immaterial art and museal practices. He was co-director of Performance Matters, a four-year AHRC funded research project on the cultural value of performance (2009–2013).

He co-curated the Live Culture events at Tate Modern, London (2003) and a number of other performance and durational events in European cities over the last eighteen years. He was curator of Doing Time, the Taiwan Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale (2017), a curatorial adviser and attaché for the 20th Biennale of Sydney (2016) and an artistic director with the collective freethought of the 2016 Bergen Assembly, Norway.

Heathfield has worked with many artists and thinkers on critical and creative collaborations including film dialogues, performance-lectures, dramaturgy, writing and workshop projects. He was President of Performance Studies international (2004–2007) and is Professor of Performance and Visual Culture at the University of Roehampton, London.


All images appear courtesy of their authors or copyright holders and should not be reproduced without permission.


Afterlives: The Persistence of Performance

Talks and conversations curated and convened by Adrian Heathfield and André Lepecki

25 – 27 September 2015, Crossing the Line festival, New York

Hosted by Museum of Modern Art and French Institute Alliance Française

Artists, curators and thinkers gathered over three days to present talks and stage intensive conversations on vital issues for contemporary performance practice.

Performance is increasingly documented, archived, evaluated, institutionally incorporated and globally disseminated. While often celebrated, performance’s ephemerality also binds performance to its many returns, its mediations and afterlives. Now criticism is focused more on the recurrence and persistence of performance than on its disappearance. Whether a performance lingers as vague memories, oral legend, transmitted techniques, or as an ‘infrastructure of feeling,’ performance’s material remains (objects, images, scores, textual traces) support and project its continuing radical inclinations. This event aimed to re-think how performance matters and persists in time. Participants discussed the caretaking performance requires in disciplines and organizations, its capture by systems and institutions, and its letting go into the past and the future.

With: Fred Moten, Kathleen C. Stewart, Matthew Goulish, Lin Hixson, Ralph Lemon, Sharon Hayes, Janez Janŝa, Jane Bennett, Janine Antoni and Maria Lind.

Afterlives was initiated by Columbia University School of the Arts as part of Curating the Ephemeral, an ERC funded research project.

Afterlives was part of the Crossing the Line festival and was realized in collaboration with The Museum of Modern Art’s Department of Education and Department of Media and Performance Art and with the French Institute Alliance Française.

Crossing the Line

Fred Moten Talk

Lin Hixson & Matthew Goulish Talk

Kathleen C. Stewart Talk

Afterlives: The Persistence of Performance Rosemary Lee, Ascending Fields, 1992. Photo: © Hugo Glendinning. Courtesy of the artist.