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.

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.