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Accepted Paper:

Trespassing borders: encounters and collaborations in performance art  
Alicja Khatchikian (University of Vienna)

Paper short abstract:

By challenging canonical understandings of visual arts, performance presents contested ways of seeing and generates an equally debated documentation. In an attempt to trespass fixed positions and binary pathways of thought, I explore the space of simultaneously being ethnographer and performer.

Paper long abstract:

Constantly resisting time and space, performance is an art that historically spotlights the artist within a spatial and temporal frame (the here-and-now) in relation to an audience and a political and socio-cultural context. By allowing the artist to be its first spectator and searching for a simultaneous exchange between performer and spectator, performance proposes conditions of socialisation that challenge normative structures of power and spectatorship.

Performance audio-visual documentation undergoes similar tensions: beyond being a collection of images, records of performance retain the processes that those bodies and spaces underwent through time and movement. Within these processes, ethnographers are confronted with the necessity to investigate, interpret and translate the complex dynamics underlying those images.

Recognising transformation as an inherent facet of performance requires an understanding of the artists as researchers working perceptually, reflexively and qualitatively: the visual thus becomes a spatial and experiential dimension wherein ethnographic research and artistic inquiry intersect.

This paper highlights two pivotal moments of my fieldwork: while reflecting on the core of my ethnography — the subjective experience of selected performances I attended at two international festivals dedicated to performance art —, it unveils an increasing need to engage in performance. I therefore explore the condition of simultaneously being ethnographer and performer and some of its critical points through the presentation of different kinds of material: by questioning my role as ethnographer and performer, conceptual thinking and experiential inquiry merged in an attempt to explore the potentials of alternative ways of seeing, sensing, and knowing.

Panel P092
The impact of images: knowledge, circulation and contested ways of seeing [VANEASA]
  Session 1