Reactivations: Essays on Performance and Its Documentation

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Reactivations: Essays on Performance and Its Documentation

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Introduction It has become commonplace to assert that performances, as live events, cannot be adequately documented, or cannot be documented at all, or that performance documentation is at least highly problematic. Many critiques of performance documentation are premised on the belief that ephemerality is the key defining characteristic of performance—that it is in performance’s nature to disappear and that to force it to remain through reproduction is to violate its very being. However, in recent years, the primacy of performance’s ephemerality has been repeatedly called into question through arguments that generally take one of two approaches. The first approach is to argue that performance is not ephemeral, in that it inevitably leaves something behind in addition to an audience’s retained memory of the experience. Diana Taylor classifies performance’s remnants into the two categories mentioned in the title of her influential text The Archive and the Repertoire. In the archive, she argues, reside the tangible artifacts of performance that serve as primary sources for traditional inquiry: “documents, maps, literary texts, letters, archaeological remains, bones, videos, films, CDs, all those items supposedly resistant to change.”1 Whereas it might be said that the archive enacts institutional memory, Taylor explains that “the repertoire enacts embodied memory: performances, gestures, orality, movement, dance, singing—in short, all those acts usually thought of as ephemeral, non-reproduciblePage 2 → knowledge.”2 Taylor thus posits that the very aspects of performance considered to disappear persist as bodily practices and are therefore recoverable and reproducible. She maps the idea of the live onto that of the repertoire by arguing that the allegedly ephemeral aspects of performance can only be reproduced through performance rather than documentation: “The live performance can never be captured or transmitted through the archive. A video of a performance is not a performance, though it often comes to replace the performance as a thing in itself (the video is part of the archive; what it represents is part of the repertoire).”3 In my book Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture, I argue at length against such binary thinking when it comes to the question of the live and the reproduced, and I favor perceiving the playback of a recording, for instance, as a performance in its own right, an idea that I have reiterated many times in other writings and that is either implicit or explicit in the chapters gathered in the present study.4 Here, I do not reproduce my earlier arguments but simply ask what I see as a commonsense question: if I seek to recover a gesture or movement associated with a particular kind of performance and if that gesture or movement is available to me on a video, in what sense am I not accessing the repertoire if I learn the movement from the video rather than through live bodyto-body transmission? The argument that whereas the movement recorded on the video belongs to the repertoire, the video itself is part of the archive assumes a questionable distinction between form and content, a distinction that has become increasingly untenable in light of contemporary performance and archival practices. For example, since 2012, the BMW Tate Live Performance Room at Tate Modern in London has presented performances that are accessible to their audiences only through online streaming. Although the performances take place in a room at the museum at specific times and are streamed live, no audience shares the physical space with the performers. The same stream that one can watch live is captured and becomes the documented Page 3 →version of the performance. The only differences between experiencing the live stream and the captured stream lie in the knowledge that one is seeing the performance as it is happening and in the ability to chat online with others watching it and to participate in a question-and-answer session after the performance. However, if we limit our consideration to the actual performance, the live experience and the archived experience are identical, radically challenging any distinction between a performance as content and its documentation as a way of reifying the content.5 Rebecca Schneider has also pointed out that Taylor’s distinction between the archive and the repertoire fails to escape binary logic: “The parsing of discourse as belonging to the archive on the one hand and nondiscourse as the realm of performance on the other replicates the very gnarled bind Taylor’s book simultaneously works, so very productively, to trouble.”6 I share Schneider’s positive assessment of Taylor’s questioning of the idea that performance simply disappears and derives its power from disappearance. She agrees with Taylor that the performing body can be seen as a “recording machine”

through which the supposedly ephemeral aspects of performance are preserved, but Schneider resists Taylor’s bifurcation of the way performance remains into the two categories of the artifactual (the archive) and the corporeal (the repertoire).7 For Schneider, performance is intrinsically something that troubles these categories, not by transcending them, but by making the distinction between them permanently irresolvable. When we approach performance not as that which disappears (as the archive expects), but as both the act of remaining and a means of re-appearance and “reparticipation” (though not a metaphysic of presence) we are almost immediately forced to admit that remains do not have to be isolated to the document, to the object, to bone versus flesh. Here the bodyВ .В .В . becomes a kind of archive and host to a collective memory.В .В .В . Page 4 →This body, given to performance, is here engaged with disappearance chiasmically—not only disappearing but resiliently eruptive, remaining through performance like so many ghosts at the door marked “disappeared.” In this sense performance becomes itself through messy and eruptive re-appearance. It challenges, via the performative trace, any neat antimony between appearance and disappearance, or presence and absence through the basic repetitions that mark performance as indiscreet, non-original, relentlessly citational, and remaining.8 In characterizing performance in terms of “basic repetitions” and as “non-original” and “relentlessly citational,” Schneider questions the understanding of performances as singular, nonrepeatable acts, an understanding that often goes hand-in-hand with the idea that they cannot be meaningfully documented. The second kind of argument against the notion that ephemerality is intrinsic to performance takes the position that precisely the documentation of performance makes it not ephemeral. This approach generally assumes that the performance experience of the initial, physically present audience, if there was one, cannot be privileged as definitive in a context in which most people will come to know the performance through documentation and reproduction. As Frazer Ward puts it, Generally speaking, then, in relation to presence, viewer activation, and duration, we have to allow that performance art does not only happen when and where it happens. And given the importance of its documentationВ .В .В . it is a viable claim that the afterlife of performance is as important as the initial moment, insofar as that is when and where its meanings unfold, and that is where it generates transformations of the audience that are not strictly event-reliant.9 Ward’s statement that “performance art does not only happen when and where it happens” implies that it also happens Page 5 →at other times and in other places (much the way the performances in the BMW Tate Live Performance Room happen as both live streams to be experienced at a set time and captured ones that can be experienced at any time). This understanding suggests that the performance experienced through documentation is the performance, not just a secondary reproduction of it. Henry Sayre clearly states the means by which the performance happens apart from its live instantiation: “Since these objects [performance documents] are the means by which the work’s larger audience is addressed—the means by which the art makes contact with the community at large—the audience must always reinvent the performance for itself.”10 As I discuss in chapter 2, this idea that audiences reinvent recorded performances in their own place and time is at the heart of Walter Benjamin’s concept of reactivation, which is, in turn, at the heart of my account of how audiences experience performances from their documentation. My thoughts on this subject depart from a premise similar to Frazer’s and Sayre’s. My approach to performance documentation is rooted chiefly in pragmatism. It is quite obvious to me that we regularly rely on documentation of one sort or another to give us a sense of performances that are not immediately available to us in live form. This pragmatism undoubtedly stems partly from my background in theater. If it were not possible to achieve a sense of what it was like to experience a past theatrical production from the documentary evidence (sometimes very scanty) that it left behind, the project of theater history would come to a grinding halt. Any discussion concerning performances that are not directly available to us depends on there being some kind of record to which we can refer so as to construct a common understanding of the event under consideration. Without such an understanding, no conversation is possible.

Most of the performances I discuss here come from the realm of performance art. I refer to a fairly limited range of Page 6 →examples drawn largely from the United States and Europe, because the examples are intended primarily to open up philosophical questions rather than to serve as objects of analysis and because this book is not intended as a survey either of performance art or its documentation. Nevertheless, I here define performance documentation very broadly, to include not just documentation produced in the context of the art world but also the full range of commercial recordings (including books, films, television programs, and so on) of theatrical, musical, art, dance, and other kinds of performances. We engage with performance documentation not only in the contexts of art making and academic research but quite regularly in the course of daily life. As I pointed out in Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture, there is statistical evidence that most people, at least in the United States, experience most genres of performed art in what could be called “documented forms” far more regularly than as live performances.11 For this reason, if no other, to insist on the primacy of the live experience seems quixotic at best. If I want to learn about a performance of any kind that I have not seen or heard, recall details of one I have seen, or communicate information about a performance to others (e.g., my students or the community for whom I post things on social media), the first thing I do is look for some kind of record of it, whether in the form of a still photograph, film, video, or written account.12 I have likened the activity of examining the available shards of information about a performance to the work of an archaeologist studying an archaeological record. An archaeologistВ .В .В . seeks to construct a sense of what these events were, what they were about, what it was like to have seen them, by digging into the artifacts they throw off. These artifacts—curatorial and artist’s statements, [critics’ analyses and reviews,] photographs, videos—themselves have various relationships to the [events]: whereas some are conceptual and preceded the actual events, others are documentary and record what happened.13 Page 7 → While I certainly recognize that the experience I can obtain from my examinations of the record is not the same experience I would have had by participating in a live event, I still understand it as an experience of the performance. I do not carefully frame the experience of examining a performance document as an experience of the document only, to be understood as separate from and not necessarily related to an experience of the performance itself. If anything, I and, I believe, most people who use recordings and documents to experience performances—whether performance art, rock concerts, or any other genre of performance—operate on the assumption that one can gain usable information about a performance and come to a valid understanding of it on the basis of its documentation. Another kind of pragmatic consideration that arises in relation to performance documentation has to do with the desire to codify “best practices” for documenting performances. This has become a particularly fraught question in the context of academic programs based on the paradigm of “practice as research,” in which it is imperative that candidates submit documentation of their artistic work to meet the requirements of a degree.14 In Chapter 3, as part of an account of the historical evolution of performance documentation as a self-conscious discursive practice, I discuss one way in which the question of how performances should be documented has been addressed outside this specific academic context. Apart from that discussion, I am not particularly concerned with best practices and generally treat performance documentation monolithically rather than discriminating among different media and documentary options. That said, for documenting performances, it is not self-evident that video or film, time-based media that utilize moving images, are inherently superior to still photography, which remains the most common means. For one thing, still images are not just still. A still image, particularly of a performance, which entails an unfolding action of some kind, either Page 8 →can evoke what came before and after the particular moment depicted or stands as an encapsulation of the entire action. Dance photographer Lois Greenfield suggests the first possibility when she discusses the questions her images raise in a viewer’s mind: “вЂWhere are they coming from? Where are they going?’ Or even, вЂHow is he going to land without breaking his neck?’ It intrigues me that in 1 /500th of a second I can allude to past and future moments even if these are only imagined.”15 In reference to

the latter possibility, Koral Ward writes that motion picture film editor Walter Murch would select one frame from each cinematic sequence to represent it, saying that “each of these single frames of film [contains] an essential kernel of the whole sequence of action,” from which the action can be extrapolated.16 The still image remains still only when it is not beheld. As soon as someone looks at it, that person may well perceive the image not as an isolated and suspended moment but as part of a sequence of action that tells us something about the whole action. Any claim that time-based media are the best means of capturing performance depends on stable binary distinctions between movement and stillness, past and present, and time-based and seemingly timeless media. Schneider challenges these shibboleths in a discussion of the presence of statuary in Greek and Roman theaters. I am interested in troubling the distinction between live arts and the still arts to which we have been habituated. The niches for statuary and the statues themselves can remind us quite fulsomely that the “live” occurred and occurs not as distinct from but in direct relation to the place of the frozen or stilled or suspended—yet arguably observant—statues. The live, so often composed in the striking of stills, takes place in the place of the still; and the still takes place live.17 Schneider’s last point is crucial: because our encounter with any image or document necessarily takes place in the present, Page 9 →the still image, whether document or statue, does not belong only to the moment in time that it represents or in which it was produced. Through our encounter with it, an image or record from the past becomes part of our present and also gestures toward the future. As Koral Ward puts it, What comes to presence [in a still photograph] is brought to the fore, something “stands before us, ” though not present in time. An event stilled and held constant in the “now” shows us what was “then,” but this “then” is always tempered by the present and personal perspective. Neither does this “then” remain identical to its own moment in the “now,” it gains significance and meaning as we carry it with us into the future.18 In other words, a photo that documents a performance does not simply freeze the event in its past moment. The very act of freezing is undertaken at a specific point in time as a gesture toward a future audience, so that the “now” of the moment at which the photograph was taken is also a future “then.” The moment at which the photograph is beheld refers to the past and is thus the future anticipated in the past, but it also constitutes an event in the present. This complex temporality of performance documentation is the topic of chapter 2. Although the term performance documentation, taken at face value, implies a fairly straightforward relationship between an event that once existed apart from its documentation and an artifact that represents the event in some medium, the possibilities for what is called “documentation” are actually much broader and more complex. In chapter 1, I propose two categories, the documentary and the theatrical. Whereas artifacts in the first category adhere to the definition just stated, those in the second category are distinguished by the fact that the performance they record has no existence independent of its recording. Yves Klein’s Leap into the Void (1960), Haley Newman’s work, and the Beatles’ album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) are cases in point, since each provides its respectivePage 10 → beholders with the experience of a performance that never took place in the way the photograph or record presents it.19 I am certain that this second category would not count as performance documentation at all for some, and one of my objectives in chapter 1 is to deconstruct the distinction between the two categories. Fig. 1. Vito Acconci (1940–2017), Following Piece (1969). Gelatin silver print, 8 Г— 8 cm (3 1/8 Г— 3 1/8 in.). (Purchase, the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 2000 [2000.273]. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image copyright В© The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image source: Art Resource, NY. В© 2017 Vito Acconci / Artists Rights Society [ARS], New York.) Considering philosopher David Davies’s discussion of Vito Acconci’s Following Piece (1969) allows me to pursue these Page 11 →questions in a slightly different direction here. One of Acconci’s descriptions

of the piece reads, “FOLLOW DIFFERENT PERSON EVERY DAY UNTIL PERSON ENTERS PRIVATE PLACE.”20 Davies writes, Our access to what Acconci did is limited to a few photographs whichВ .В .В . were staged after the completion of the performance.21 Here the performance-event in question arguably enters, as vehicle, into the identity of the work only by instantiating the type of performance characterized in the performative constraints set out by Acconci. The photographic record serves only to imaginatively enliven the performance for the receiver, to help her to imagine what the performance was like in virtue of satisfying those constraints. The use of photography in such a minimal documentary role is understood by the receiver as indicating that visible features of the actual performance not preserved on film are not important for the appreciation of the work. The photographs serve to isolate those features of the performance-event, as vehicle, which bear upon the articulation of an artistic content.22 By acknowledging, as wholly unproblematic, that Acconci’s photographs were staged after the fact, Davies does us the great favor of implicitly stipulating that performance documentation does not have to capture a specific instantiation of the performance in question. At a single stroke, Davies takes off the table the questions of documentation’s fidelity to an original event and its authenticity as a record of the event. Whereas Davies does not take the next step of suggesting the possibility that the performance staged in Acconci’s documentation never took place, Martha Buskirk does, pointing out that the power of such works lies partly “in the challenge they pose about whether to believe the artists’ claims to have done what they describe.”23 Discussing Acconci’s performance alongside other, related ones, Buskirk asks, “Does it matter whether a photograph actuallyPage 12 → documents the activity that it represents?” She replies, “In a sense it is not important whether these photographs are fact or fiction, actual documents or staged, because this is how each artist has decided to represent the work.”24 Her position is similar to that of Davies, who suggests that the fundamental purpose of performance documentation is not to record a specific event or to verify that it actually occurred but to articulate “an artistic content” and enable an audience “to imagine what the performance was like.” (Acconci’s documentation of Following Piece confounds the distinction between document and notation, in the same way as Nick Kaye argues site-specific art does.25 Acconci’s rendition of the performance as a work of visual art functions equally well as a record of the performance or a set of instructions, with illustrations, for executing the performance, and we can imagine what the performance would be like on the basis of either.) More problematic is Davies’s characterization of Acconci’s “use of photographyВ .В .В . in a minimal documentary role.” In another discussion, Davies argues that Francis AlГїs’s 1997 Patriotic Tales cannot be considered a performance work, because the video that purports to document it has been digitally manipulated to make it seem as if something happened when it never did.26 Davies thus implies a distinction between using a medium in a minimal documentary way that is more or less transparent and using a medium in a way that produces the reality it supposedly represents, a distinction that maps onto my categories of documentary and theatrical representations of performances, respectively. The problem is that the line between these uses of a photographic medium, between straightforward recording and distorting manipulation, is much less distinct than it may appear. It is well known, for example, that Klein constructed his famous Leap by having two photographers take two different photographs: one of Klein leaping out the window, with friends holding a tarpaulin below to catch him; the other of the empty street in which this event took place. These two images Page 14 →were composited in the darkroom to make it look as if Klein jumped without the benefit of a safety net. Based on what he says about AlГїs’s piece, I am fairly certain Davies would not consider Klein’s Leap to be a performance work and therefore would not consider the photograph of it to be a performance document. I hypothesize that he would characterize this image the way he does AlГїs’s video, by saying that Klein’s piece is a photographic work, not a performance, even though performed actions are among the raw materials the artist shaped into the work. Page 13 → Fig. 2. Yves Klein (1928–62), Leap into the Void (1960). Artistic action by Yves Klein

(Hungarian, PГ©cs, 1937–2009). Gelatin silver print, 25.9 Г— 20.0 cm (10 3/16 Г— 7 7/8 in.). (Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 1992 [1992.5112]. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image copyright В© The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image Source: Art Resource, NY. В© 2017 Yves Klein c/o Artists Rights Society [ARS], New York / ADAGP, Paris.) But on what ground could such an analysis rest? Since Davies admits staged representations of performances into the category of performance documents and since it is not verifiable, from the documentation, that Acconci ever actually performed Following Piece, the difference between these two works cannot derive from the fact that one really happened and the other did not. Klein claimed that the photograph of his leap was intended as a re-creation of an action he had executed earlier without benefit of documentation.27 Acconci advances a similar claim by presenting staged photographs to document something he had done earlier. In both cases, it is impossible to verify that the earlier incidents re-created in the documents ever took place. Davies’s analysis depends entirely on the notion that Acconci produced the representation of his performance by using the medium of photography in a “minimal, documentary” way, while Klein’s photographic image resulted from technological manipulation. Klein could have produced a similar image using photography in a “minimal” way, by simply framing the image so that the men holding the tarpaulin could not be seen. In this case, the image would seem to meet Davies’s requirements for performance documentation: it would not involve technical manipulation after the performance, and it would allow a beholder to imagine what the performance was like. The image would also be “understood by the receiver as indicating that visible features of the actual performance not preserved on film [in Page 15 →this case, the men with the tarpaulin] are not important for the appreciation of the work.” The photograph would “serve to isolate those features of the performance-eventВ .В .В . which bear upon the articulation of an artistic content.” Since, as both Davies and Buskirk suggest, the question of whether or not the document represents an actual occurrence is moot, what matters is the function of the document as a vehicle through which an artist communicates an “artistic content” to an audience, and this communication is something that Acconci’s and Klein’s photographs do equally well. From my perspective, the limitation that Davies’s approach shares with most discussions of performance documentation is a near-exclusive focus on the ontological dimensions of the subject, an overemphasis on the relationship between the performance and its document and on the accuracy and authenticity of the latter’s representation of the former. I have credited Davies with the insight that performance documentation does not have to be a record of a specific instantiation of a performance work in order to provide an audience with a sense of the work, but his insistence that the document has to be an authentic, unmanipulated record of whatever it represents (even if Acconci’s photographs are not of an actual performance of Following Piece, they still have to be documentary images that testify to the actuality of whatever they do show) reinstates the primacy of the ontological connection at one remove. One of the central arguments of this book is that, ultimately, the ontological relationship between a performance and its documentation is far less interesting and significant than the phenomenological relationship between the document and the beholder who experiences the performance from it. This argument emerged over the course of my writing the essays collected here, all of which have been revised to varying degrees for inclusion. Although I originally wrote these essays for disparate purposes and publications over more than a decade, I have always considered them to constitute a continuousPage 16 → exploration of issues surrounding the idea of performance documentation. I self-consciously designed each one to pick up the arguments where the previous one had left off, and I present them here in the order in which I wrote them. In the first chapter, “The Performativity of Performance Documentation,” I challenge the widely held notion that the value, integrity, and authenticity of performance documentation lies in its faithfulness to an original event, by questioning the status of the event largely through a consideration of audience. The conventional view is that performances happen and are witnessed directly by an audience that has a privileged experience of the performance; documentation seeks to capture this event in some way, but those who know the performance only from its documentation know only an impoverished version of it, compared with the experience of the audience who witnessed it firsthand. I argue against this view by proposing that events are constituted as performances not through the presence of an audience but, rather, through the act of documentation itself. I suggest that such acts

can be compared with performative locutions in the sense that documenting an event as a performance is the act that constitutes it as such. (In chapter 3, I offer a more refined application of speech act theory to performance documentation.) Finally, I gesture toward the idea that a phenomenological account of the relationship between performance documents and those who experience performances from them is of greater value than ontological analysis of the relationship between documents and performances. In chapter 2, “Reactivation: The Complex Temporality of Performance Documentation,” I offer a formal version of such a phenomenological account, drawing on the work of both Walter Benjamin and Hans-Georg Gadamer. The temporal complexity to which I refer derives from the fact that documentation is a present act directed to a future audience. When the future audience experiences the performance from its documentation, the audience’s experience takes place in the Page 17 →present (which is the future anticipated in the moment of documentation) but also has reference to the past (the moment at which the performance was documented). Fundamental to my untangling of this complexity is the idea that since we always experience documented performances in our present, documentation is not some sort of device for time travel that allows us to go back to the original moment of performance. I turn to the concept of “reactivation” that Benjamin advances in “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” which seems to suggest that Benjamin believed that reproductions could bring artworks from other times and places into the beholder’s present and presence. To develop the implications of Benjamin’s perspective on the relationship between past, present, and reproduced artworks, I turn to his writings on photography, specifically his idea that the present beholder of a photograph can locate in it a “spark of contingency” that forms a bridge between the past moment at which the photograph was taken and the present moment at which it is beheld, making the subject of the photograph present to the beholder. Wishing to develop a finer-grained account of how the beholder of a performance document can experience the performance in the present while simultaneously acknowledging its pastness, I rely on Gadamer’s hermeneutic phenomenology. For Gadamer, the present and the past constitute different horizons, such that it is not possible to arrive at an understanding of a text from the past on its own terms: those terms are no longer accessible to us, and we can understand things only in relation to our present horizon. However, to the extent that a text from the past engages us, we dialogue with it in a way that enables us to understand both the text and its pastness from the perspective of the present. For Gadamer, there is no unbridgeable chasm between past and present; the past is always contained in the present, and works from the past belong to the present to the extent that they speak to us now in a way that makes us wish to engage with them. Chapter 3, “Surrogate Performances: Performance DocumentationPage 18 → and the New York Avant-garde, circa 1964–74,” arose from my desire to historicize the idea of performance documentation. Although performances have been documented textually and visually for centuries, only a small portion of that archive is considered to be “performance documentation” in the current sense. With chapter 3, I sought to locate the origin of performance documentation as a self-conscious discursive formation. The resulting narrative (probably one of many possible narratives) identifies the origins of performance documentation as we understand it today in the New York art scene beginning in the late 1950s. It suggests that Michael Kirby was an important early theorist and promoter of the practice of performance documentation, particularly as distinct from criticism. Kirby’s view of documentation is similar to Benjamin’s perspective on photography: for both men, the recording is addressed to future audiences. Kirby also shared Benjamin’s faith in the ability of reproduction to deliver the original experience to be reactivated by the beholder. After exploring Kirby’s program for performance documentation, I discuss how two photographers specializing in performance documentation carried out that program, Peter Moore in the 1960s and Babette Mangolte beginning in the 1970s. I then consider the relationship of photographs produced self-consciously as documentation to the tradition of theater photography dating back to the mid-nineteenth century, before returning to speech act theory to present a richer version of the idea of performance documents as illocutionary speech acts (first suggested in chapter 1). This book’s conclusion, “Karaoke Performance Art,” serves traditional conclusive functions and also suggests another important direction in which to pursue the investigation of reactivation. Whereas the discourse around performance documentation has developed primarily in relation to artistic practices, the practice of reactivation is far more widespread. For example, every time we experience a musical performance from a

recording, we reactivate the performance from the Page 19 →recording. Whereas all the figures on whom I depend in this study—Walter Benjamin, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and Michael Kirby—suggest that the reactivation of a performance from its documentation is primarily a mental activity on the part of the beholder (an “act of consciousness,” in Gadamer’s terms), there can also be a corporeal dimension to reactivation. The possibility of reactivating a performance by performing it oneself comes into play here. The question of reenactment or re-performance is not confined to the art world but pertains to a wide variety of cultural practices, including air guitar, karaoke, and musical video games like Guitar Hero. Far from being a rarified practice confined to the art world, the reactivation of a performance from an archive is something in which almost everyone engages, in one way or another.

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Chapter One The Performativity of Performance Documentation Consider two familiar images from the history of performance and body art: one from the documentation of Chris Burden’s Shoot (1971; see fig. 3), the notorious piece for which the artist had a friend shoot him in a gallery, and Yves Klein’s famous Leap into the Void (1960; see introd., fig. 2), which shows the artist jumping out of a second-story window onto the street below. It is generally accepted that the first image is a piece of performance documentation, but what is the second? Burden really was shot in the arm during Shoot, but Klein did not really jump unprotected out of the window, the ostensible performance documented in his equally iconic image. For our understanding of these images in relation to the concept of performance documentation, what difference does it make that one image documents a performance that “really” happened while the other does not? I shall return to this question below. As a point of departure for my analysis here, I propose that performance documentation has been understood to encompass two categories, which I shall call the documentary and the theatrical. The documentary category represents the traditional way in which the relationship between performance art and its documentation is conceived. It is assumed that the documentation of the performance event provides both a record of it through which it can be reconstructed (though, as Kathy Page 22 →O’Dell points out, the reconstruction is bound to be fragmentary and incomplete)1 and evidence that it actually occurred. The connection between performance and document is thus thought to be ontological, with the event preceding and authorizing its documentation. Burden’s performance documentation, as well as most of the documentation of classic performance and body art from the 1960s and 1970s, is generally perceived as belonging to this category, even though it is clear that the performance documentation Burden provides for exhibition presents a highly selective and, in some cases, possibly distorted version of the events it documents.2 Fig. 3. Chris Burden, Shoot (1971). Performance at F-Space Gallery in Santa Ana, California, for which a friend shot Burden in the left arm from about fifteen feet. (В© Chris Burden. Image courtesy of the Chris Burden Estate and Gagosian.) Although it is generally taken for granted, the presumption of an ontological relationship between performance and Page 23 →document in this first model is ideological. The idea that the documentary photograph is a means of accessing the reality of the performance derives from the general ideology of photography, as described by Helen Gilbert (glossing Roland Barthes and Don Slater): “Through its trivial realism, photography creates the illusion of such exact correspondence between the signifier and the signified that it appears to be the perfect instance of Barthes’s вЂmessage without a code.’ The вЂsense of the photograph as not only representationally accurate but ontologically connected to the real world allows it to be treated as a piece of the real world, then as a substitute for it.’”3 (In relation to Slater’s notion that the photograph ultimately substitutes for reality, it is worth considering whether performance re-creations based on documentation actually re-create the underlying performances or perform the documentation. Examples of works that clearly play with this slippery question are the Wooster Group’s 2004 Poor Theatre re-creations of performances by Jerzy Grotowski and William Forsythe, and Marina Abramović’s 2005 reenactments of other artists’ performances in Seven Easy Pieces.) Jon Erickson suggests that the use of black-and-white photography in classic performance documentation enhances photography’s reality effect (for Erickson, color photographs assert themselves more strongly as objects in their own right): “There is a sense of mere utility in black-and-white, which points to the idea that documentation is really only a supplement to a performance having to do with context, space, action, ideas, of which the photograph is primarily a reminder.”4 Amelia Jones takes up the idea of the documentary photograph as a Derridean supplement to the performance, to challenge the ontological priority of the live performance. She offers a sophisticated analysis of “the mutual supplementarity ofВ .В .В . performance or body art and the photographic document. (The body art event needs the photograph to confirm its having happened; the photograph needs the body art event as an ontological вЂanchor’ of its

indexicality.)”5 While this formulation suggests the mutual dependence Page 24 →of performance and document (the performance is originary only insofar as it is documented) and thus questions the performance’s status as the originary event, it also reaffirms the status of the photograph as an access point to the reality of the performance, a position on which Jones must insist, since she argues from it to defend her own practice of writing about performances she never saw in the flesh (a situation with which I am in complete sympathy). In the theatrical category, I would place a host of artworks of the kind sometimes called “performed photography,” ranging from Marcel Duchamp’s photos of himself as Rrose Selavy, to Cindy Sherman’s photographs of herself in various guises, to Matthew Barney’s Cremaster films. Other examples include the work of Gregory Crewdson and Nikki Lee. These are cases in which performances were staged solely to be photographed or filmed and had no meaningful prior existence as autonomous events presented to audiences. The space of the document (whether visual or audiovisual) thus becomes the only space in which the performance occurs. Rebecca Schneider writes of Sherman, “The record of Sherman’s live pose is, of course, the photograph. But the photograph is also not only the record, since it is the reenactment itself, for it is through the material support of the photograph that the reenactment takes place as performance.”6 Klein’s Leap also belongs to this category. Apart from “close friends and photographers,” Klein had no audience when he jumped (which he did several times, “attempting to get the desired transcendent expression on his face”), and he used a protective net that does not appear in the photograph, which is actually a composite of two different shots unified in the darkroom.7 (It is an open question whether the friends were there to witness a performance or a photo shoot—in either case, they did not see the event depicted in the photograph.) The image we see thus records an event that never took place except in the photograph itself. From a traditional perspective, the documentary and theatricalPage 26 → categories are mutually exclusive. If one insists on the ontological relationship by demanding that to qualify as a performance, an event (what Davies calls a “performance-work”) must have an autonomous existence prior to its documentation, then the events underlying the works in the second category are not performances at all, and the images in this category are not documents but something else, another kind of artwork perhaps. The term performed photography, for instance, suggests that such works be understood as a kind of photograph rather than as performances; presumably, the events staged to be photographed serve merely as the “profilmic reality” captured by the camera rather than as performances in their own right. Erickson gestures toward such a position (without actually adopting it) in his review of Roselee Goldberg’s book Performance: Live Art since 1960, when he asks, “Does [the book] defeat its own premise when it includes the вЂperformed photography’ of Cindy Sherman, video, film stills (Matthew Barney’s Cremaster), and even the drawings and sculptures of Robert Longo?”8 Since these are all recordings of one sort or another, how can they qualify as “live” art? Page 25 → Fig. 4. Cindy Sherman, Untitled #199 (1989). In this photograph, Sherman simulates a painting of a woman of the American Revolutionary era. (Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.) From a different perspective, however, the two categories appear to have much in common. Although it is true that the theatrical images in the second category either had no significant audience other than the camera or could have had no such audience (because they never took place in real space), it is equally true that the images in both categories were staged for the camera. Although some of the early documentation of performance and body art was not carefully planned or conceived as such, performance artists who were interested in preserving their work became fully conscious quickly of the need to stage it for the camera as much as for an immediately present audience, if not more so. They were well aware of what Jones describes as performance’s “dependence on documentation to attain symbolic status within the realm of culture.”9 Barbara Bolt makes a similar point by citing a story recounted by Bruno Latour. Page 27 →

He cites the example of the French explorer La PГ©rouse who was dispatched from Versailles, by Louis XVI, to map the coastline of Sakhalin in China. In Latour’s narrative, an encounter between La PГ©rouse and a local Chinese man exemplifies the stakes involved inscriptive processes [sic]. Whilst the Chinese man was content to draw a map in the sand, La PГ©rouse insisted that these inscriptions be transferred to a notebook with pencil. Two sets of inscriptions: but of very different weight and effect! The documentation of performance and ephemeral art work entails a similar politic. Without photographic, video or written documentation, ephemeral and performance works have the same status as the Chinese man’s drawing. They are erased with the passing of time and the dimming of memory. They can make no claim to a legitimate place in art discourse. Documentation enables such a claim to be made.10 Jones explains that Burden “carefully staged each performance and had it photographed and sometimes also filmed; he selected usually one or two photographs of each event for display in exhibitions and catalogs.В .В .В . In this way, Burden produced himself for posterity through meticulously orchestrated textual and visual representations.”11 As another example, the European body artist Gina Pane describes the role of photography in her work in the following terms: “It creates the work the audience will be seeing afterwards. So the photographer is not an external factor, he is positioned inside the action space with me, just a few centimeters away. There were times when he obstructed the [audience’s] view!”12 The relationship of performance and its documentation to the audience mirrors that of the avant-garde gesture as described by Brian O’Doherty. For avant-garde gestures have two audiences: one which was there and one—most of us—which wasn’t. The original audience is often restless and bored by its forced tenancy of a moment it cannot fully perceive—and that often uses boredom as a kind of temporal moat around the work. Memory (so disregardedPage 28 → by modernism which frequently tries to remember the future by forgetting the past) completes the work years later. The original audience is, then, in advance of itself. We from a distance know better.13 As O’Doherty says here of the gesture, the primary audience for performance is often the one that will experience it later and from a distance, through memory reified in documentary form. Against the usual assumption that the present audience enjoys a position of privilege, it is possible that the present audience for a performance is in the same position as the initial audience for the avant-garde gesture—that of being too close—and that the audience that perceives the performance later, through its documentation, can know it better. It is clear, then, that such archetypal works of performance and body art as Burden’s and Pane’s were not autonomous performances whose documentation supplements and provides access to an originary event. Rather, the events were staged to be documented at least as much as to be seen by an audience; as Pane observes, sometimes the process of documentation actually interfered with the initial audience’s ability to perceive the performance. In this respect, no documented piece is performed solely as an end in itself: the performance is always, at one level, raw material for documentation, the final product through which it will be circulated and with which it will inevitably become identified, justifying Slater’s claim that the photograph ultimately replaces the reality it documents. As O’Dell puts it, “Performance art is the virtual equivalent of its representations.”14 In the end, the only significant difference between the documentary and theatrical modes of performance documentation is ideological: the former mode’s assumption that an event is staged primarily for an immediately present audience and that its documentation is a secondary, supplementary record of an event that has its own prior integrity. As I have shown here, this belief has little relation to Page 29 →the actual circumstances under which performances are made and documented. Fig. 5. Vito Acconci, Blinks (1969). (В© 2017 Vito Acconci / Artists Rights Society [ARS], New York.) Before drawing conclusions about these issues, I shall place one more piece of evidence into the mix, a performance by Vito Acconci entitled Blinks (1969). Like his Following Piece, discussed in this study’s introduction, Blinks raises some trenchant questions about the relationship between performance and

documentation.15 Acconci’s verbal description of the performance is simple. Holding a camera, aimed away from me and ready to shoot, while walking a continuous line down a city street. Try not to blink. Each time I blink: snap a photo.16 The documentation of the piece displays a grid of twelve black-and-white photographs of a fairly desolate stretch of GreenwichPage 30 → Street in New York City, above the verbal instruction. Like many of Acconci’s performances of this time, Blinks was premised on failure, since it is obviously impossible that Acconci could walk down a street for any length of time without blinking.17 It also has to do with achieving a high level of selfconsciousness in mundane circumstances, as Acconci must become hyperaware of an autonomic function (and perhaps equally aware of his surroundings) as he walks. Furthermore, as the artist Seth Price suggested to me, Acconci was making art out of nothing, an art without content. This performance confounds the already shaky distinction between the categories of documentary and theatrical images. On the one hand, the photos Acconci produced serve the traditional functions of performance documentation: they seem to provide evidence that he actually performed the piece, and they allow us to reconstruct his performance. They do not do so in the traditional manner, however, because they do not actually show Acconci performing: they are ostensibly photographs taken by Acconci while performing, not photographs of Acconci performing. Nevertheless, they partake of the traditional ontology of performance documentation. Since the action of the piece consisted of taking photographs, the existence of the photographs serves as the primary evidence that Acconci executed his own instructions: because the photographs were produced as (and perhaps by) the performance (rather than of the performance), the ontological connection between performance and document seems exceptionally tight in this case. On the other hand, Acconci’s performance is also very like those in the theatrical category, inasmuch as it was not available to an audience in any form apart from its documentation. A look at the photographs shows that the street was deserted—there were no bystanders to serve as audience. More important, the only thing bystanders would have seen was a man walking and taking pictures: they would have had no way of understanding they were witnessing a performance. Page 31 →Acconci’s photographs are thus more theatrical than documentary, for it is only through his documentation that his performance exists qua performance. Acconci’s Blinks points toward a central issue: the performativity of documentation itself. I am using the term performative in J. L. Austin’s most basic sense. Speaking of language, Austin calls statements whose utterance constitutes action in itself “performatives” (an example is saying “I do” in a marriage ceremony). Distinguishing performative utterances from constative utterances, Austin argues that “to utter [a performative sentence] is not to describe my doing of what I should be said in so uttering to be doing or to state that I am doing it: it is to do it.”18 If I may analogize the images that document performances with verbal statements, the traditional view sees performance documents as constatives that describe performances and state that they occurred. I am suggesting that performance documents are analogous not to constatives but to performatives, that the act of documenting an event as a performance is what constitutes it as such. Documentation does not simply generate images/statements that describe an autonomous performance and state that it occurred; it produces an event as a performance and, as Frazer Ward suggests, identifies the performer as “artist.”19 (When I return to speech act theory at the conclusion of chapter 3, I will suggest that the performativity of documentation created not only the identity of an event as a work of performance art but also the artistic scene from which performance art emerged in the United States, the canon of significant works, and the very concept of performance itself.) Perhaps this point will be clearer when articulated to a straightforward definition of performance, such as Richard Bauman’s.

Briefly stated, I understand performance as a mode of communicative display, in which the performer signals to an audience, in effect, “hey, look at me! I’m on! watch how skillfully and Page 32 →effectively I express myself.” That is to say, performance rests on an assumption of responsibility to an audience for a display of communicative virtuosity.В .В .В . In this sense of performance, then, the act of expression itself is framed as display: objectified, lifted out to a degree from its contextual surroundings, and opened up to interpretive and evaluative scrutiny by an audience both in terms of its intrinsic qualities and its associational resonances.В .В .В . The specific semiotic means by which the performer may key the performance frame—that is, send the metacommunicative message “I’m on”—will vary from place to place and historical period to historical period.В .В .В . The collaborative participation of an audience, it is important to emphasize, is an integral component of performance as an interactional accomplishment.20 I need not discuss the issues of skill and communicative virtuosity as they apply to performance and body art here. In an earlier consideration of Acconci’s work, I observed that “critical standards for вЂbody art’ are hard to articulate.”21 The virtuosity of this performance, as well as most performance and body art from the 1960s and 1970s, clearly does not reside in the performer’s mastery of conventional performance skills: perhaps it resides in the originality, audacity, evocativeness, and expressiveness of conception and execution.22 Bauman’s other points concerning the framing of an event as performance and the concept of responsibility to the audience are directly germane to Blinks. Since there was no audience for the “live” performance and since the event was not framed as performance for whatever accidental audience may have been present (i.e., Acconci provided no metacommunication to tell that audience he was performing, not just walking and taking pictures), Acconci’s actions are “framed as display” and “lifted outВ .В .В . from [their] contextual surroundings” solely through the documentation. Also, Acconci assumed responsibility to an audience through the acts of documenting and presenting the documentation. It is crucial Page 33 →that the audience in question is the one that perceived his actions solely by means of the documentation, rather than the incidental audience that may have seen him walking and photographing on Greenwich Street. This documentation—and nothing else—allows an audience to interpret and evaluate his actions as a performance. I realize that Acconci’s performance is a special case, but it is not as special as it may seem. All of the works in the theatrical category I posited earlier have the same relationship to performance as Blinks. In all cases, the actions undertaken by the artist and depicted in the images become available to an audience as performances through documentation only. By presenting the photographs of their actions, the artists frame the depicted actions as performances and assume responsibility to the audience. As with the Acconci piece, the audience to whom they assume responsibility is the audience for the documented performance, not that for the live event. The performances in the documentary category work differently, at least to an extent, because they generally have a dual existence: they are framed as performances by being presented in galleries or by other means, and there is an initial audience to which the performer assumes responsibility, as well as a second audience that experiences the performance only through its documentation. But this difference is much less substantial than it may appear. Consider the status of the initial audience with respect to documentation. Whereas sociologists and anthropologists who discuss performance stipulate, like Bauman, that the presence of the audience and the interaction of performers and audience is a crucial part of any performance, the tradition of performance art documentation is based on a different set of assumptions. It is very rare that the documentation of an audience approaches the same level of detail as the documentation of the art action. For example, in Babette Mangolte’s film of Marina Abramović’s Seven Easy Pieces (2005), the audience is shown only when AbramoviД‡ is invisible during her performance of Page 34 →Acconci’s Seedbed, where the audience becomes the main visual component of the film, or when she is most like a sculptural object, during her performances of Vallie Export’s Action Pants: Genital Panic and her own Entering the Other Side. In the last case, the audience appears primarily as silhouetted figures. The vast majority of the film is shot in tight close-ups that make it seem as if there is no audience present.23 Fig. 6. Marina AbramoviД‡ performs her piece Entering the Other Side as part of her exhibition Seven Easy Pieces at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, in 2005. (Still from the film directed by Babette Mangolte

[2005].) The audience is more present in Matthew Akers’s film of Abramović’s The Artist Is Present (2012), partly because the documentary chronicles the determination of those who stood in line for long periods of time to participate in the performance that gives the film its title. However, the sections of the film that document the performance itself were shot almost entirely in very tight close-ups of Abramović’s face and the faces of those who sat opposite her—the audience appears in these shots only as vague background presences, if at all.24 A screenshot from the live video feed of the same performance (which took place in 2010) suggests that it was shot from a high camera angle and framed in a way that restricted the imagePage 35 → to AbramoviД‡ and the person sitting across from her, both seen in profile.25 On the Museum of Modern Art’s website, a gallery of images of all of the participants presents a series of headshots in which each participant’s face occupies the entire frame.26 These subjects are completely divorced from the larger context of the performance, including its audience. Fig. 7. Marina AbramoviД‡ in The Artist Is Present at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 2010. (Still from the film directed by Matthew Akers and Jeff Dupre [2012].) The purpose of most performance art documentation, including the films and other archival material derived from Abramović’s high-profile performances, is to make the artist’s work available to a larger audience, not to capture the performance as an “interactional accomplishment” to which a specific audience and a specific set of performers coming together in specific circumstances make equally significant contributions. For the most part, scholars and critics use eyewitness accounts to ascertain the characteristics of the performance, not the audience’s contribution to the event, and discussions of how a particular audience perceived a particular performance at a particular time and place and of what that performance meant to that audience are rare.27 In this sense, performance Page 36 →art documentation participates in the fine-art tradition of the reproduction of works rather than the ethnographic tradition of capturing events.28 One of the most important American photographers to work as a performance documentarian, Peter Moore, also photographed sculpture and saw parallels between these two sides of his work. I offer an extended discussion of the ideas behind the practice of performance documentation in chapter 3. I submit that the presence of the initial audience has no real importance to the performance as an entity whose continued life is through its documentation, because our usual concern as consumers of such documentation is to re-create the artist’s work, not the total interaction. As a thought experiment, consider what would happen were we to learn that there actually was no audience for Chris Burden’s Shoot, that he simply performed the piece in an empty gallery and documented it. I suggest that such a revelation would make no difference at all to our perception of the performance, our understanding of it as an artwork and an object of interpretation and evaluation, and our assessment of its historical significance. In other words, the presence of an initial audience may be important to performers, and being present at an event may be important to spectators, but these things are merely incidental to the performance as documented. As Gina Pane’s statement that I quoted earlier makes abundantly clear, when artists decide to document their performances, they assume responsibility to an audience other than the initial one, a gesture that ultimately obviates the need for an initial audience (which could not really participate fully as an audience in Pane’s case, because of the exigencies of documentation). In the long run, whether there actually was a physically present audience for Shoot or any number of other classic works of performance art makes no more difference than whether someone happened to see Acconci on Greenwich Street or wandered into the studio while Cindy Sherman was shooting one of her disguised self-portraits. What makes an event a work of performance Page 37 →art is not the initial presence of an audience but its framing as performance through the performative act of documenting it as such. I return now to the question I posed at the beginning of this chapter: for our understanding of the images in relation to the concept of performance documentation, what difference does it make that the image of Chris Burden documents something that really happened while the image of Yves Klein does not? If we are concerned with the historical constitution of these events as performances, it makes no difference at all. From this assertion, it follows that the identity of documented performances as performances is not dependent on the presence of an initial audience, that we cannot dismiss studio fabrications of one sort or another from the category of

performance art—in favor of calling them performed photography or something else—because they were not performed for a physically present audience. My suggestion that performance art is constituted as such through the performativity of its documentation is equally true for both Burden’s and Klein’s pieces. That one could and did occur before a live audience while the other could not and did not is not a significant difference in this context. This also seems to be the case in more pragmatic terms: this difference between the images has had no consequence in terms of their iconicity and standing in the history of art and performance. If we are concerned not just with the determination of what makes an event a performance but also with the notion of authenticity in performance, the distinction between the two images may seem more significant. I alluded earlier to a position that would treat the Klein photograph as something other than a performance, because it documents an event that never actually occurred as we see it in the image. This position seems to me ultimately untenable, however. If I may be permitted an analogy with another cultural form, to argue that Klein’s leap was not a performance because it took place only within photographic space would be equivalent to arguing that the Page 38 →Beatles did not perform the music on their album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), because that performance exists only in the space of the recording: the group never actually performed the music as we hear it.29 I would consider any such claim absurd: of course, the Beatles performed that music—how else are we to understand it if not as a performance by the Beatles? Of course, Yves Klein performed his jump. Those who are particularly concerned with recorded music have discussed the whole question of the relationship between performance and its documentation extensively. The two basic categories of that discussion, documentary and phonography, are similar to the categories I have posited here: documentary recordings are assumed to be straightforward captures of real sonic events, and phonography consists in the “sonic manipulation” of music to produce recordings of performances that never really happened that way. Lee B. Brown, an American philosopher who has addressed these issues, suggests that phonography produces “works of phonoart,” a new category of “musical entities” to be considered on their own terms, as artworks distinct from traditional musical performances.30 This is a version of an argument I have already rejected, of course, since Brown solves the problem of the relationship between performances and documentation by insisting that phonography, the aural equivalent of performed photography, is not a form of performance but constitutes a new kind of musical event altogether. For me, by contrast, phonoart is a species of musical performance, albeit a species that exists only in the space of recording. But Brown acknowledges an important point: that the phenomenological boundaries between documentary and phonography are blurry. It is not always clear “whether a given product is to be understood as a piece of phonoart or a transparent document of a performance.” He cites as an example “the albums of вЂduets’ that Frank Sinatra recorded a few years before his death,” which “sound documentary” even though Sinatra never actually sang Page 39 →with his partners. For each duet, “the impression of two singers in dialogue with one another is sheer illusion.”31 One could say exactly the same thing about the Klein photograph: it looks documentary even though the impression that Klein jumped unprotected from the window is sheer illusion. At the phenomenal level, there is not necessarily any intrinsic way of determining whether a particular performance image is documentary or theatrical. Even if one does know, precisely what difference does this knowledge make? Are we deprived of the pleasure of hearing Sinatra sing with his duet partners because he did not actually do so? Similarly, is our appreciation of Klein’s image of himself leaping into the void sullied by the fact that he erased the safety net from the photograph? Because we never have direct access to Sherman’s performing body (she grants access to her archive but never to her repertoire), can we not appreciate her particular ways of embodying an enormous range of characters and images? If we are to insist on a criterion of authenticity when contemplating performance documentation, we must ask ourselves whether we believe authenticity to reside in the circumstances of the underlying performance, which may or may not be evident from the documentation. As Sayre puts it, “The photograph bears witness to the scene, if not to its truth then to the truth of its staging.”32 Ultimately, the crucial relationship is not the one between the document and the performance but the one between

the document and its audience. Perhaps the authenticity of the performance document resides in its relationship to its beholder rather than to an ostensibly originary event; perhaps its authority is phenomenological rather than ontological. Just as one can have the pleasure of hearing Sinatra sing duets with singers with whom he had no real interaction, so one can have the pleasure of seeing Klein leap into the void or of contemplating the implications of Burden’s allowing himself to be shot. These pleasures are available from the documentationPage 40 → and do not depend on whether an audience witnessed the original event. The more radical possibility is that they may not even depend on whether the event actually happened in real space, as long as it happened in the space of the document (as I discussed in the present study’s introduction). It may well be that our sense of the presence, power, and authenticity of these pieces derives not from treating the document as an indexical access point to a past event but from perceiving the document itself as a performance that directly reflects an artist’s aesthetic project or sensibility and for which we are the present audience. The philosophical framework that I propose in the next chapter for thinking about the relationship between the performance document and its audience considers the document as both a performance in the present and an evocation of something that occurred in the past.

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Chapter Two Reactivation The Complex Temporality of Performance Documentation My inquiry into the cultural status of performance and media in Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture, originally published in 1999, departed from a major premise borrowed from Walter Benjamin: that “human sense perceptionВ .В .В . is determined not only by nature but by historical circumstances as well.”1 Sense perception is not simply a biological given. How we perceive and what we expect from the objects of our perception are culturally and historically influenced. This influence is reified in media, which are simultaneously causes and effects of a given historical moment’s social formations and technological capabilities. In revising Liveness for a second edition (2008), I was able to provide statistical evidence that, as I mentioned in the present study’s introduction, even audiences who may prefer live performance over its mediatized versions, such as audiences for theater, nevertheless consume mediatized performances far more frequently than live ones. The implication is that “the mediatized version of [performing] arts defines the normative experience of them.”2 Simply put, it is crucial to situate audiences’ perception of and engagement with performance of any kind in relation to this normative experience. Though the normative experience of performance of all kinds Page 42 →for many (if not most) audiences is to experience the performance through photographs, audio or video recordings, or other forms of recording and documentation, a great deal of anxiety surrounds the nature and status of performance documents, and there is an implicit privilege accorded to the live experience. These anxieties, as expressed by Caroline Rye, include the fear that “documentation cannot replicate performance because it cannot convey the total event and the audience’s engagement with it.” A “suspicion that documentation inevitably misrepresents, even betrays, the original performance” is accompanied by the fear that “the document will replace the performance and perhaps invalidate the idea that live performance is necessary.”3 As I argued in the previous chapter, this latter situation is best perceived as a given rather than as a source of anxiety. To the extent that performance is dependent on documentation “to attain symbolic status within the realm of culture,”4 the document does indeed replace the absent performance, and to the extent that an event becomes a performance through the performativity of its documentation, it is questionable whether or not the live event need ever have happened. This anxiety became palpable in the critical discourse around the practice of performance art reenactment, for which Marina Abramović’s Seven Easy Pieces (2005) has proven to be something of a flash point. In an extended review of Abramović’s reenactment of Vito Acconci’s Seedbed (1972), Theresa Smalec frames the issue in a way that reflects the privileging of live experience in the realm of performance art. The artist’s proposal to research and re-do the works of her peers threatens the cardinal rules that have long defined this art form as singular.В .В .В . Part of Abramović’s challengeВ .В .В . comes from her never actually having witnessed most of the actions whose scores she would reenact.5 Although it is a bit hard to tell whether Smalec endorses these “cardinal rules” or is merely reporting them, they clearly privilegePage 43 → the original live performance over its documentation and imply that it would be better, somehow, for AbramoviД‡ to re-create a performance she had at least seen, using documentation as an aide-mГ©moire, than for her to re-create a performance she had never seen, purely from its documentation. From this perspective, the authority of the artist (or scholar) depends on her having been there, live, at the source. Matthew Reason, in his valuable book-length study on the question of performance documentation, implicitly echoes this view when he describes performance documents as “things that are not performance, but which allow us to see and say something about performance.”6 Although this is a judicious formulation, it

nevertheless valorizes the ostensibly originary live event, by drawing a line between that which is and is not performance and by placing live events on one side of that line and performance documentation on the other. According to Reason, documentary representations of performances may give us information and insight about performances but ought not be taken to be performances in their own right. My own position is closer to that of art historian Amelia Jones when she says, “While the experience of viewing a photograph and reading a text is clearly different from that of sitting in a small room watching an artist perform, neither has a privileged relationship to the historical вЂtruth’ of the performance.”7 In other words, as I have argued in the previous chapters, performance documentation is not limited to providing secondary information about performances. Live events and recordings or documents equally, though differently, provide experiences of performances. In my explorations of mediatized performance, I have sometimes stated, for example, that the playback of a recorded performance should be understood as a performance in itself. In claiming that recordings of popular music are legitimate objects of performance analysis, I argue, “Regardless of the ontological status of recorded music, its phenomenological status for listeners is that of a performance unfolding at the Page 44 →time and in the place of listening.”8 However, even as I argue for an understanding of performance documentation that emphasizes its ability to provide its audience with an experience in the present moment, I am mindful of the need to honor a performance document’s connection to the past. After all, even if the document does not give us access to an originary event that exists meaningfully apart from its representations, its connection to the past, the performance’s historical context, is important and probably prompted our interest in the document in the first place. Fig. 8. Carolee Schneemann posing as Manet’s “Olympia” in Robert Morris’s performance Site at Stage 73, Surplus Dance Theater, New York, in 1964. (Still from the film directed by Morris and Stan VanDerBeek [1964].) When I look at photos and films of Robert Morris’s and Carolee Schneemann’s well-known movement piece Site, for example, it matters to me that the document represents a performance that took place in New York City in 1964, at a specific venue, within a particular context in the art world, and so on, even though I also realize that I cannot return to those earlier circumstances or recover them from the document. The same is true for those images I described in the previous chapter as theatrical. Even though I experience Yves Klein’s Leap into the Void now as I would have in 1960, from the photograph, the Page 45 →fact that the performance depicted in the photograph did not happen (at least not in real space) in that particular year is a crucial part of my understanding of the work. In this chapter, I intend to provide a broad philosophical framework within which to conceptualize audience perception of performances through their documentation, with particular attention to temporality. I gesture toward a way of understanding how we experience performances through documentation as unfolding in our perceptual present, even as we acknowledge their connections to events that probably occurred elsewhere and in another time. I begin by returning to Benjamin, particularly to a passage in “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” that has received somewhat less scrutiny than other aspects of this canonical essay. Benjamin’s concept of “reactivation” provides a starting point for thinking about the relationship between mediatized performances and their audiences. In the second part of the present chapter, I turn to HansGeorg Gadamer’s Truth and Method, to further clarify how we perceive performances accessed through recordings as belonging both to the present and the past.

Benjamin: Reactivation In “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” Walter Benjamin describes reproduction’s mediation of the interaction between audience and work. Technical reproduction can put the copy of the original into situations which would be out of reach for the original itself. Above all, it enables the original to meet the beholder halfway, be it in the form

of a photograph or phonograph record. The cathedral leaves its locale to be received in the studio of a lover of art; the choral production, performed in an auditorium or in the open air, resounds in the living room.В .В .В . In permitting the reproduction to meet the beholder or listener in his own particularPage 46 → situation, [the technique of reproduction] reactivates the object reproduced.9

Benjamin’s description seems to me intuitively correct, an accurate account of my own experience as an audience of recorded or documented performances. Reproduction of a performance does not allow me to experience the performance in its original circumstances; it does not transport me to the time and place in which it occurred. Rather, it brings the performance to me, to be experienced in my temporal and spatial context. When I listen to recordings from Woodstock, watch Brian De Palma’s 1970 film of the Performance Group’s Dionysus in 69, or look at photos of Chris Burden presumably being shot (Shoot, 1971), these events are reactivated—or restaged, so to speak—in my living room or study (Benjamin’s choice of the word resounds—re- plus sounds—is noteworthy here). Even though I know these events occurred at another time and in another place, I experience them as performances in the here and now, with myself as audience. Benjamin’s use of the word halfway in his description commands my attention. What could he mean when he says that reproduction “enables the original to meet the beholder halfway”? In one sense, it would seem that the original has met the beholder much more than halfway in Benjamin’s scenario: the cathedral or the concert has left its locale to join the beholder in his. Significantly, the beholder is described as “a lover of art, ” suggesting that this beholder understands the cathedral as an aesthetic object rather than a ritual one and in terms of exhibition value rather than cult value. In other words, the original that meets the beholder does so as a post-auratic object, apparently deracinated from its original context. In the section that I excluded, through ellipsis, from the passage quoted above, Benjamin discusses the way reproduction depreciates the presence of the original and, thus, its authority, authenticity, and ability to provide “historical testimony”; being cut off from history is a symptom of the Page 47 →artwork’s loss of aura.10 But I think the word halfway, when allowed to resonate, troubles a simplistic understanding of what Benjamin may be saying. The beholder receives not the reproduction but the original by means of reproduction, and the original is reactivated through interaction with the beholder. The reproduction, then, is not a work or entity in itself, distinct from the original and substituting for it. Charlie Bertsch describes Benjamin’s reproduction as an addendum to the original, a McLuhanesque prosthetic that “extends the work’s вЂreach’” and influence beyond its original purview.11 While attractive, this formulation cannot be quite right, for the image of extended reach implies that the original stays in place and reaches out from there into the beholder’s realm: in this scenario, Notre Dame remains in Paris, but a photograph of the cathedral extends its reach prosthetically into my study. In contrast, Benjamin suggests (poetically, one supposes) that the original does not remain in place and reach out but actually vacates its original position: “The cathedral leaves its locale.” The reproduction, therefore, is neither a prosthesis that extends the original nor merely a replication of or substitute for the original. In terms of its reactivating function, the reproduction is a conduit, a one-way street by means of which the original may join the beholder in the beholder’s particular situation. (I say “one-way” because Benjamin seems to imply that reproduction and reactivation do not provide a means for the art lover to travel in the other direction, back to the original. Given Benjamin’s image of the cathedral’s peregrination, there would be nothing left at its original location for the art lover to see.) The force of the word reactivate suggests that the original is not made manifest to the beholder in an ideal, eternal state via reproduction; inasmuch as Benjamin implies that the work is removed from one setting and resituated in another, it is always perceived in a specific context. His phrase “it reactivates the object reproduced” suggests that while reproduction initially “deactivates” the original by removing it from its historicalPage 48 → context, the original is reactivated when it encounters the beholder in a different context—the beholder’s place and time—through reproduction. In his provocative book Textualterity: Art, Theory, and Textual Criticism, Joseph Grigely argues that texts, which he construes broadly to encompass works of visual art and performances as well as writings, cannot be reproduced, for “to re-produce is to reenact,” which “won’t work because we can no more print the same text twice than we can step into the same stream

twice.”12 Grigely concludes, “We cannot reproduce, reprint, or reenact a text: each act of textual production is an act of sequential (even rhizomic) production.”13 Although Grigely thinks that Benjamin missed this point, I argue that something very like this understanding of texts as “events” (Grigely’s word) emerges from my reading of Benjamin, a reading that focuses less on reproduction and the diminishment of aura and more on the idea of reactivation, the event that occurs when a reproduction is beheld, and the renewed status it confers on the original. Whereas Grigely focuses on the moment of textual production, I focus on the moment of reception and argue that it is the point at which the reproduction discloses the original as an event occurring in the here and now. In a discussion of Benjamin’s concept of aura specifically in the context of performance documentation, Boris Groys argues, “Aura is, for Benjamin, the relationship of the artwork to the site on which it is found.В .В .В . The distinction between original and copy is exclusively a topological one.В .В .В . To reproduce something is to remove it from its site, to deterritorialize it—reproduction transposes the artwork into the network of topologically underdetermined circulation.”14 For Groys, not until performance documentation is exhibited in an installation does the performance regain its place. Like most commentators on the concept of aura, however, Groys overlooks Benjamin’s discussion of reactivation, where Benjamin describes the reproduction of the artwork as shifting its topology but not as a movement from its being in a place to its suspension Page 49 →in the limbo of “underdetermined circulation.” Benjamin describes reactivation as a process that entails both deterritorialization, when the work is reproduced and thus becomes mobile, and reterritorialization, when a beholder reactivates the work via the reproduction in his or her own place. The work does not have to await the exhibition of its documentation in an installation to regain a place; this happens each and every time the work is reactivated. Elsewhere, I have distinguished technologies of reproduction from technologies of production: technologies of reproduction create fixed records of performances, while technologies of production generate real-time performances, even if programmed (a player piano is an example).15 My analysis here suggests that while this ontological distinction holds with respect to the technological artifact, it does not hold with respect to the beholder’s experience of it. From the audience’s point of view, there are only technologies of production, for all reproductions yield productions of the reactivated original, with the beholder as audience. Each reactivation discloses the original, but each does so under different circumstances. Perhaps this is why the work reproduced can no longer provide historical testimony: each time the reproduction is beheld, the original is reactivated as a production in the present tense, not a replication of a historical past. I am not suggesting that performances lose all connection to their history through reproduction. Clearly, the original context in which a performance took place is part of what makes it significant to the audience for its documentations. If I am listening to the album At the Five Spot by jazz multi-instrumentalist Eric Dolphy, the playback reactivates the performance. I hear the music unfold in real time as I listen to it; it is happening for me in the here and now. I am very much aware, however, that it also happened there and then. That these recordings document what Dolphy and his group played on a particular night (16 July 1961) at a specific club in New York City is important to my understanding of what I Page 50 →am hearing. That this performance happened under particular circumstances, there and then, is a significant part of what makes it compelling to me, here and now. To suggest that reproduced art works do not lose their connection to their historical origins may seem quixotic in the context of a discussion of Benjamin’s “Work of Art” essay, since the usual understanding is that Benjamin sees reproduction as robbing the original of all historical specificity. But as Miriam Bratu Hansen has shown in a detailed analysis considering Benjamin’s conception of aura across his work, “the relationship between aura and technological reproduction” does not reduce “to an opposition of binary, mutually exclusive terms.”16 For one thing, the two concepts are mutually dependent, as aura “becomes visible only on the basis of technological reproduction.”17 For another thing, some of Benjamin’s earlier formulations of the idea are quite different in emphasis. In his “Little History of Photography” (1931), for instance, Benjamin suggests that the photographic image possesses an aura that prompts the beholder to seek out the features of the image that imply connections between the past, when the photograph was taken, and the subsequent future, known to the beholder.18 Hansen argues that Benjamin’s earlier understandings of aura are

still traceable in the “Work of Art” essay. Certainly, the idea of reactivation, which Hansen does not discuss, implies a complex relationship between original and reproduction that does not fit comfortably with the idea that reproduction simply eradicates the original’s connections to the past. In his “Little History,” Benjamin describes a photograph in terms that anticipate his concept of reactivation. In [the portrait painter and photographer David Octavius] Hill’s Newhaven fishwife, her eyes cast down in such indolent, seductive modesty, there remains something that goes beyond testimony to the photographer’s art, something that cannot be silenced, that fills you with an unruly desire to know what Page 52 →her name was, the woman who was alive there, who even now is still real and will never consent to be wholly absorbed in “art.”19 Page 51 → Fig. 9. David Octavius Hill (1802–70) and Robert Adamson (1821–48), Elizabeth (Johnstone) Hall, The Beauty of Newhaven (1843–47). Salt print from calotype negative. (Given by Sir Theodore Martin 1868. В© Victoria and Albert Museum, London.) Benjamin contrasts photography with painting: whereas interest in the subject of a painted portrait fades over time (even if the painting’s value as a work of art may continue to be recognized), photographs offer us ongoing opportunities for direct engagement with their subjects. He conveys the way the photograph allows us to experience the presence of the fishwife in our present, even as we recognize that she is part of the past. We experience her as real, even though we know she is no longer alive, and we wish to enter into dialogue with the image by posing questions about her. Arguably, we “reactivate” the fishwife from the photograph and bring her into our own place and time, while simultaneously remaining aware of and interested in her life in the past. I make the same claim regarding performance documentation: that it makes the past performance real to us in our present and produces in us “an unruly desire” to know about it. Immediately following the passage just quoted, Benjamin describes a different photograph. No matter how artful the photographer, no matter how carefully posed his subject, the beholder feels an irresistible urge to search such a picture for the tiny spark of contingency, of the here and now, with which reality has (so to speak) seared the subject, to find the inconspicuous spot where in the immediacy of that long-forgotten moment the future nests so eloquently that we, looking back, may rediscover it.20 Benjamin suggests here not that the viewer of the photograph attempts to return to the past via the photograph but, again, that the viewer achieves a relationship with the subject of the photograph in the present. The “tiny spark of contingency” that the viewer discovers in the photograph simultaneously Page 53 →marks the image as belonging to the past and, by bringing out the presentness of the past moment recorded in the photograph in the instant it was taken, provides a point of connection between past and present that allows the viewer to experience the subject of the photograph as real and present. The “tiny spark” that was “seared” into the image by an earlier reality does not become a gateway to the past, but the viewer’s act of discovering this spot in the present produces a connection to the original photographic scene. As Hansen says, this passage “evokes a complex temporality”; she describes Benjamin’s “spark of contingency” as “leap[ing] across time.”21 Complex temporality is intrinsic to performance documentation, as performances are recorded or documented primarily to make them available to future audiences (I discuss this aspect of performance documentation more extensively in chapter 3). The documented past can become present to us in our own time through reactivation, and the documented present is always already in the past. Precisely this complex temporality of documented or recorded performances is what I am trying to address in considering the way an audience’s engagement with a document reactivates a past performance in the present moment without effacing the performance’s pastness. The British artist Rod Dickinson, whose practice focuses on reenacting historical events, notes a parallel effect in his own work. The audience is presented with something inherently contradictory in that they are being presented

with something live and happening in real time, yet they know that this is an impossible scenario, since the event has already happened. . . . Their “live” experience is constantly undermined by knowledge about what they are watching (or participating in), which is prescribed and is being carefully re-staged.22

The complexities Dickinson notes when speaking of live performances are inherent in the spectator’s reactivation of a Page 54 →performance from a document as well. But Dickinson sees the relationship between past and present in these events as more agonistic than I do. I am not sure I would use the word contradictory in this context, and I definitely would not use the word undermine to describe the relationship between the reactivated performance’s simultaneous existences as both a present experience and an artifact of the past, because I am not at all sure that, in most cases, spectators actually experience the reenactment or reactivation of a performance they know to have taken place earlier as being in conflict with their present experience of it. The duality of the event, its ambiguous temporal position, is very much at the heart of the experience I am trying to grasp, but I see reactivation as engendering dialogue, rather than conflict, between past and present. Fig. 10. Artist Rod Dickinson’s reenactment of Stanley Milgram’s notorious psychological experiments at Yale University that began in 1961. (Still from the video/installation The Milgram Re-enactment, by Dickinson in collaboration with Graeme Edler and Steve Rushton [2002].) Page 55 →

Gadamer: Fusion of Horizons and Contemporaneity To arrive at a finer-grained account of the beholder’s encounter with a documented performance, I turn to Hans-Georg Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics. Because I am concerned here primarily with reproductions and not directly with their source performances, I draw from Gadamer’s discussion of “the historicity of understanding” in Truth and Method rather than from his aesthetics. Since recordings and other forms of documentation are necessarily records of the past (even when the past was only a moment ago), I treat them as instances of historical texts in Gadamer’s sense. In discussing his hermeneutics here, I frequently substitute the word performance for the word text, to adapt his framework to the matter at hand. Also, my discussion’s uses of words like historical and past refer simply to the idea that the audience for a documented performance perceives it at a later point than the audience for the live event (if there was one), not necessarily to any great historical remove. Needless to say, the present discussion of Gadamer touches on the mere tip of a monumental philosophical corpus. For Gadamer, it is impossible that documentation could provide access to an objective experience of the material documented: “There can be no such thing as a direct access to the historical object that would objectively reveal its historical value.”23 Neither is it possible for me to project myself back in time to experience the performance as a contemporary spectator, as if I were sitting in the Five Spot on that summer night when Dolphy played in that club. To do so, I would have to somehow negate my own historically determined horizon of beliefs and values, turning myself into a sort of blank slate, in order to assume a different historical horizon and experience the performance from that perspective. Gadamer insists that even the desire to do this is bankrupt. The only meaning a recordedPage 56 → performance can have is its meaning to the audience presently perceiving it: “The real meaning of a text, as it speaks to the interpreter, does not depend on the contingencies of the author and his original audience. It certainly is not identical with them, for it is always co-determined also by the historical situation of the interpreter.”24 (I find a hint of a similar idea in Benjamin’s description of reproduction as moving the original work from one context to another.) This limitation does not mean that we are unable to experience the reproduced performance as originating in a moment or context other than the one in which we perceive it. We must do so in order to understand it at all. But we do so not by “reconstructing the way the text came into being”25 but by constructing it in relation to our own horizon, as suggested by Gadamer’s “co-determined,” perhaps reminiscent of Benjamin’s “halfway”: “That is why understanding is not merely a reproductive but always a productive activity as well.”26 Through the recording, we access the performance not as an autonomous entity thought to contain

historical information we can extract but as a “mediation” (Gadamer’s term) between its horizon and our own.27 Gadamer conceives our interaction with historical texts as dialogic, on the model of conversation. In these terms, understanding a documented performance means neither discovering the intentions behind it and its original meanings (seeing and hearing it as it was originally seen and heard) nor imposing our own meanings on it. As Gadamer argues, “understanding proves to be an event,” the emergent result of the conversation between ourselves and the documented performance, a conversation to which both sides are understood to contribute.28 “In this the interpreter’s own horizon is decisive,” writes Gadamer, and this formulation is necessarily true, as the conversational event takes place in the present, against this horizon.29 Indeed, if the performance seemed to have nothing to say to us in our present moment, there would be no reason for us to engage with its reproduction. Page 57 →Although Benjamin and Gadamer were contemporaries and shared an interest in traditions of scriptural exegesis, they represented rather different schools of thought. Nevertheless, their ideas are compatible enough to allow Gadamer’s conception of our necessarily historical engagement with texts to shed some light on Benjamin’s concept of reactivation. Earlier, I described Benjamin’s understanding of reproduction as a one-way street that allows the original to meet the beholder but does not allow the beholder to travel the other way, to meet the original in its own circumstances. On its face, this schema seems quite different from Gadamer’s idea of the “hermeneutic conversation,” an ongoing process that moves perpetually back and forth between historical texts and their present-day interpreters. As I have indicated, however, Gadamer states explicitly that it is not possible for the beholder to experience the reproduced performance in its original circumstances (or in the context of its own horizon); inasmuch as our encounter with any text must occur in the present, such an encounter necessarily entails the performance’s coming to meet the beholder: “Understanding always implies that the tradition reaching us speaks into the present.”30 The street clearly runs only in one direction for Gadamer as well as Benjamin. Another area of potential disagreement between Benjamin and Gadamer concerns the status of the original. There is an apparent objectivity to Benjamin’s discussion of the historical emplacement of the original: traditionally, it was a unique, auratic object; when that object was displaced and replaced by its surrogates through mechanical reproduction, its status was irreversibly altered. Gadamer, seemingly by contrast, argues that the original possesses no objective characteristics (e.g., aura or its lack). As Joel C. Weinsheimer notes, Gadamer writes that the object of history “does not exist in itself. It does exist in relation and mediation, and only there.”31 But this distinction holds only if one believes that Benjamin considered the aura to be an intrinsic characteristic of the object. Some commentators take the view, correctly in my estimation, that Page 58 →aura is not a characteristic of the object but an effect of the beholder’s historically conditioned perception of the object. Kaja Silverman, for example, points out that Benjamin’s initial formulation could be taken to imply that the aura is something inherent in the art object, something which is lost with mechanical reproduction. A few pages later, however, Benjamin associates the aura with the “cult” value enjoyed by the work of art before the advent of photography, suggesting that it would be more correct to characterize the aura in terms of a social “attitude” toward the work of art, than a property inherent in it.32 On this view, the concept of aura is entirely compatible with Gadamer’s idea that the identity of the original is produced through an encounter with a present audience and its horizon. As that horizon shifts, which it inevitably does, so shifts the perceived status of the original object. The change from perceiving an object in terms of cult value to perceiving it in terms of exhibition value would thus result from a change in horizon, not a change in the object itself. More speculatively, I argue that Benjamin’s notion of reactivation is compatible with Gadamer’s concept of the “fusion of horizons” that occurs in the encounter between a historical text and its present-day beholder. By “fusion,” Gadamer does not mean a synthesis of the past horizon and the present one. This

would be impossible, as we can never comprehend a past horizon purely in its own terms. The fusion Gadamer has in mind is of horizons that are always already imbricated with one another: the current horizon is a product of the past, of history, and our assumptions about past horizons are always projected from the present horizon. As Gadamer puts it, “Our understanding [of work from the past] will always retain the consciousness that we too belong to that world and, correlatively, that the work too belongs to our world.”33 By “fusion,” Gadamer seems to mean an ongoing, never resolved conversationPage 59 → between horizons. We continually test our assumptions about the past through our encounters with its artifacts: “Every encounter with traditionВ .В .В . involves the experience of a tension between the text and the present.”34 The fusion of horizons is not the resolution of this tension but, rather, the recognition of its necessity. In Gadamer’s view, we cannot perceive the recorded performance in the context of its own horizon; neither can the performance fully occupy our horizon. It can speak into the present from an implied elsewhere or other time, but it cannot give us direct information about its own horizon. We can understand that horizon only as a projection from our own, which we must continually test and revise through conversation-like engagements with the text. (That our relationship to the text is never settled may account for why a recorded performance can remain interesting to us despite repeated exposures that might be supposed to lead eventually to predictability and boredom.)35 When I hear it now, Dolphy’s music speaks into the present from 1961. The performance enjoys continued life due to the reproduction, through which it is reactivated each and every time I play the recording. Benjamin’s claim that reproduction strips the original of historical authenticity suggests that when a performance is reproduced and reactivated, the original speaks not only to the present but also only in and of the present. Gadamer, I think, would agree with this suggestion, as far as it goes: for a text to be understandable and of interest to us, it must speak into and of the present. If it speaks only of and to the past, it is of no current value. However, Gadamer might take issue with Benjamin’s claim that “reproduction detaches the reproduced object from the domain of tradition,”36 since Gadamer considers the reproduction to provide an “encounter with tradition,” albeit one that can only take place on the terms of the present horizon.37 Equally, in Gadamer’s thought, there is no historical rupture of the kind Benjamin proposes (e.g., the transition from the regime of cult Page 60 →value to that of exhibition value), since Gadamer understands the present as always incorporating elements of the past: these elements provide the continuity and common ground that makes dialogue between present and past possible. Gadamer’s idea of the hermeneutic conversation thus gives us a way of admitting that although we experience documented performances as unfolding in the present, we perceive them in relation to the past, albeit always as understood from our present horizon. Discussing performance art re-creations in his review of Marina Abramović’s 2010 retrospective The Artist Is Present at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Holland Cotter describes a 2007 performance of Alan Kaprow’s 18 Happenings in 6 Parts (1959) as “a dud,” going on to say, Maybe it couldn’t have been otherwise. The work and the sense of energizing newness it once radiated were, as Kaprow knew, the product of a particular time and culture. The recreated performances in MoMA’s show [of Abramović’s work] are similarly products of a milieu that once made them transgressive, poetic or simply gave them heat, but is now gone. And, through no fault of the performers, the pieces feel like leftover things: flat, dutiful; artifacts.38 It is not my purpose to dispute Cotter’s evaluations; had I seen these re-performances of 18 Happenings or Abramović’s works, I might have felt the same way. But I do take issue with the assumption, underlying Cotter’s claim, that these performances have no meaning outside of their original cultural and historical contexts, a position that implies historical discontinuity by suggesting that since things are different now, we are no longer in a position to find these performances meaningful in the way they once were, which is the only significant way. I follow Gadamer in suggesting that surely there is a profound connection between then and now: who we are now is largely a product of what happened then, which remains part of our current Page 61 →horizon. For example, our present definition of performance art is indebted to Kaprow: we would not even be able to think the rubric “performance art” as we understand it, let alone use it critically and historically, without his

work. In this sense, Kaprow and 18 Happenings are already present in the horizon against which we experience both the original and its reproductions and reenactments: “We are always already affected by history.В .В .В . It determines in advanceВ .В .В . what seems to us worth inquiring about. The other presents itself so much in terms of our own selves that there is no longer a question of self and other.”39 We are interested in reenacting 18 Happenings not to find out what it was but because we already know what it is. There is, then, no unbridgeable chasm between past and present, because the past is always contained in the present. We do not need to re-create the cultural milieu of 18 Happenings to experience it as contemporaneous, because that milieu is already embedded in our own. Fig. 11. “Redoing” of Allan Kaprow’s 18 Happenings in 6 Parts (1959) at Deitch Studios, New York, as part of Performa 07 (2007). (Photograph courtesy of Deitch Projects.) Page 62 →Gadamer’s concept of “contemporaneity” provides a way of understanding the mechanism by which an audience can come to understand a past performance available to it in a documented form. “Contemporaneity” .В .В . means that in its presentation this particular thing that presents itself to us achieves full presence, however remote its origin may be. Thus contemporaneity is not a mode of givenness in consciousness, but a task for consciousness and an achievement that is demanded of it. It consists in holding on to the thing in such a way that it becomes “contemporaneous.”40 In this sense, contemporaneity is not a characteristic that inheres in certain things or is attributed to them, as in the term contemporary art. It is, rather, something we bring into being through the relationship we establish with texts of any kind, a relationship that does not just happen but must be accomplished through a conscious act of engagement. For this reason, I disagree with Brian O’Doherty when he states, “The photographs of the [art] event restore to us the original moment, but with much ambiguity. They are certificates that purchase the past easily and on our terms.”41 I have been arguing in the present study that performance documents do not and cannot “restore to us the original moment.” Although the term ambiguity could here mean open to a continuous process of interpretation, suggesting that we have no choice but to perceive anything except on our terms (i.e., in relation to our horizon), there is nothing easy about the task Gadamer describes, which requires a specific effort to perceive the photograph or document in a very specific way. As Gadamer’s phrase “presents itself to us” suggests, he conceives this relationship as a variety of hermeneutic dialogue. An object or event presents itself to us in such a way as to evoke our response: “Understanding beginsВ .В .В . when somethingPage 63 → addresses us.”42 The understanding of the work that emerges from this engagement will be our own understanding of it as a contemporaneous work, not a reiteration of the original audience’s understanding. Seen in this way, understanding proves to be a performance-like event that occurs in the present tense of a specific interaction between a beholder and a text (understood very broadly here, of course). It is a process that yields no final result, no historical “truth” in the usual sense, but that is perpetually contingent and incomplete: “The discovery of the true meaning of a text or a work of art is never finished; it is in fact an infinite process.”43 When discussing works of art, Gadamer does not limit to originals the ability of an object to present itself and address us: the same effect takes place when we are viewing reproductions. For Gadamer, a copy of an artwork simply provides us with access to the original. A copy is “self-effacing” in that it “functions as a means [to apprehend the original] andВ .В .В . loses its function when it achieves its end.”44 This formulation, which resembles Benjamin’s claim that the beholder of a reproduction reactivates the original, implies that reproduction or documentation is transparent, a suggestion that is probably unacceptable from the perspective of contemporary media theory, which generally suggests that media such as photography and video are not selfeffacing and do not exhaust themselves in the act of presenting something to us but actively shape the things they convey: “The media intervene; they provide us with selective versions of the world, rather than direct access to it.”45 Applying this perspective to performance, Barbara BorДЌiД‡ observes,

Even though a non-edited real-time recording is considered an objective document, the usage of technological apparatus is never neutral. The point of view, the angle of shooting, the lighting, the cadre, the frame and the like already determine the recording and put forward an interpretation of theВ .В .В . performance.46 Page 64 → Arguably, reproduction or documentation presents us with only a filtered view of the performance, not access to the original. Even if this is true, it is not especially troublesome from Gadamer’s perspective. In historical research, as he points out, “we accept the fact that the subject presents different aspects of itself at different times or from different standpoints.”47 The neutrality of the apparatus is not at issue, because there is never a neutral standpoint from which to perceive anything. Our perception of any subject is always contingent and always open to revision as different aspects of it are disclosed. Gadamer also accepts, as part of the basic epistemological situation, that documentation is always already interpretation. Far from being exceptional and problematic, both the inevitability of interpretive bias and the incompleteness of reproduction, mediation, and documentation reflect this situation. As we have also seen, Gadamer argues that the object does not achieve “full presence” merely by appearing as an original. We imbue it with presence by grasping it as contemporaneous, whether we access it as an original or in reproduction. Looking at performance documentation through the lens provided by hermeneutic phenomenology thus points in a somewhat different direction than the Kantian aesthetics explicated by Amelia Jones. In the terms of aesthetic theory sketched by Kant over 200 years ago in Critique of Judgment, we must act as if we can interpret these works through a judgment that compels agreement; we must act as if the works are graspable in some full and knowable (fixed) way even though our entire point is often that they are ephemeral and impossible to retrieve except through moments of subjective perception and interpretation.48 Jones’s first premise, that we must act as if we can produce valid judgments of performance works available to us only through their documentation, is consonant with the hermeneuticPage 65 → perspective. However, from this perspective, there is no reason to “act as if the works are graspable in some full and knowable (fixed) way.” If anything, hermeneutic phenomenology embraces the incompleteness of a given experience of anything, the idea that things reveal themselves to us in different aspects on different occasions, and the consequent realization that our understanding of them, accomplished through acts that are themselves ephemeral, is bound to be permanently incomplete and subject to revision. In the next chapter, I discuss the work of photographer and filmmaker Babette Mangolte as a documentarian of the New York performance scene in the 1970s. Mangolte thematizes the issues under present discussion quite explicitly in her photo installations, particularly in Looking and Touching (2007), in which she invites viewers to sort through and compare many photographs of performances—photographs she feels are “arguably subjective records, translated through the ideas and aesthetics of the photographer”—“to examine the photo details in close up and to create your own composition and collage.”49 In While Bodies Get Mirrored, a related installation shown at the Migros Museum fГјr Gegenwartskunst in 2010, the array of photos was accompanied by slide shows and films of performances, thus presenting the viewer with a range of different representations and presentational modes. Each viewer constructs the performances not by attempting to extract the objective “truth” of these events from the record but through an experiential visual and tactile dialogue with Mangolte’s images that yields knowledge of the performances. The act of understanding the performances is coterminous with the act of sorting and arranging the photographs and relating them to the moving images. Gadamer’s notion of “fusion,” the irresolvable but productive tension between our current experience

of something and our knowing that it comes from a context different than our own, colored by our also knowing that the text’s alterity is not Page 66 →an objective quality but a historically determined relation to our horizon, helps me to understand what Benjamin may have meant when he used the word halfway in his description of reproduction’s mediation of the interaction between audience and work. With that one word, Benjamin seems to imply that the original does not fully surrender all of the things he claims it does when it is reproduced, that it is still tethered (however tenuously) to its history. It can no longer recount its history, but the beholder may seek the history in traces still detectable in the object, like the viewer scrutinizing the photograph for anticipations of the present in the presentness of the past moment at which it was taken, a perception that becomes the ground on which I can grasp the object or performance as contemporaneous. When I listen to a recording of Dolphy, I hear a performance happen for me now, a performance that has something to say to me now. I also know that the same performance happened in 1961, for an audience to whom it Page 67 →meant something then. The tensions between the original performance and what this performance is for me now—the fact that it speaks from a different horizon that I cannot occupy and that I can understand only in relation to my own—are intrinsic to the experience of reactivating performances from their documentation. Fig. 12. Babette Mangolte, Looking and Touching (2007). Installation at the John Hansard Gallery, Southampton, UK. (В© 2007 Babette Mangolte, all rights of reproduction reserved.)

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Chapter Three Surrogate Performances Performance Documentation and the New York Avant-Garde, circa 1964–74 I return now to a claim I advanced in chapter 1. I argued there that performance documents in all media are not just records of performances that happened but are themselves performative, “in J. L. Austin’s most basic sense.” Speaking of language, Austin calls statements whose utterance constitutes action in itself “performatives” (an example is saying “I do” in a marriage ceremony). Distinguishing performative utterances from constative utterances, Austin argues that “to utter [a performative sentence] is not to describe my doing of what I should be said in so uttering to be doing or to state that I am doing it: it is to do it.” If I may analogize the images that document performances with verbal statements, the traditional view sees performance documents as constatives that describe performances and state that they occurred. I am suggesting that performance documents are analogous not to constatives but to performatives, that the act of documenting an event as a performance is what constitutes it as such. Documentation does not simply generate images/statements that describe an autonomous performance and state that it occurred; it produces an event as a performance. Fig. 13. Vito Acconci, Trademarks (1970). Lithograph on paper 20 1/8 x 20 3/16 inches. (Collection Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Gift of Dayton Hudson Corporation, Minneapolis, 1978.) Page 70 → The documentation of Vito Acconci’s Trademarks (1970) exemplifies this effect. In Trademarks, Acconci produced works of visual art through a process that became a performance in itself by having been documented as such. The artist’s description of the performance states, Biting as much of my body as I can reach: turning on myself, turning in on myself: performance as locomotion across a boundary: connecting a region: absorption, by one organization,Page 71 → of a neighbouring organization: self-absorption.—Bite: getting to a point, getting through a point: brand of performance.—Applying printers’ ink to each bite and making bite-prints: identity pegs: identifiers of a certain position I have taken at a certain time: TRADEMARKS (title of the piece; September 1970): performance as the shaping of an alibi.—The bite-prints can be stamped on various surfaces (paper, a stone, a possession, another body): performance as opening a system, sharing a secret.1 The documentation of this event includes photographs of the naked Acconci sitting on the floor and biting himself in hard-to-reach spots, as well as close-ups of the marks that he made on himself with his teeth. As the description indicates, he also used the bite marks to produce prints, by inking them and stamping them on paper and other surfaces. If viewed solely as a means of making prints, Acconci’s action could be seen simply as a highly eccentric studio practice, in which case it would be sufficient to identify the traces of his working methods in the resulting images (e.g., the way the prints made from the bites clearly image the impression of teeth on skin). But because the action is recorded through written description (in which Acconci clearly frames what he was doing as a performance that raised issues he wished to explore about what can be achieved in and through performance) and in photographs (as well as through the prints of bites that are the action’s artifacts), it is presented to an audience as an object of aesthetic appreciation in itself. The act of documentation performatively frames his actions as performance. To better understand the performativity of performance documentation, we need to look more closely at what I originally called “the act of documenting an event as a performance.” This act does not consist simply of

producing a description or an image of a performance. Photographers, for example, have been shooting theater, dance, and other performances in one way or another since the 1850s, but only a Page 72 →small and relatively recent subset of this vast store of images is understood to be “performance documentation.” The identity of a description or image as a performance document depends not simply on its subject matter but on the circumstances and context of its production and on what it is seen as doing (its performativity). Performance documentation has a history: the idea of documenting performances, the thought that it was necessary to do so, and specific techniques of performance documentation all arose at specific moments. One of the archaeological sites on which to trace the emergence of performance documentation as a self-conscious practice is the New York art and performance scene of the mid-1960s through the early 1970s. This scene encompassed a wide range of emergent art forms and styles, including pop art, happenings, the beginnings of conceptual art, minimalism, process art, and so on. It also included the Judson Dance Theater and the countercultural underground theater identified with the Living Theatre (the members of which returned from selfimposed “exile” in Europe in 1968), the Open Theater, the Performance Group, and others devoted to collective creation. From this artistic ferment developed a particular way of thinking about the relationship between performances and their documentation. In choosing New York as the site of my excavation, I am not implying that the particular evolution of performance documentation that I discuss is definitive. The decade that I have identified was crucial to both performance and its documentation not only in North America but also in the United Kingdom, throughout continental Europe, and in parts of Asia and Latin America. The story might be significantly different if it were to focus on a different scene. Nevertheless, it is particularly productive to pursue the question of performance documentation by looking at the New York art world in this period, partly because of the extraordinary amount of innovative and internationally influential artistic work, in a broad range of forms, that took place there, and also because of the presence Page 73 →then of Michael Kirby, a sculptor, theater maker, editor, and academic who saw the New York scene as akin to the European avant-garde movements of the early twentieth century and who felt that the ephemeral work happening there needed to be preserved through documentation. Kirby was one of the first to practice performance documentation, beginning in the late 1950s with written accounts of Allan Kaprow’s happenings. For Kirby, the performativity of performance documentation lay in its ability to capture the disparate performance practices that made up the New York avant-garde and thus to lend coherence to the scene. He also was one of the first to theorize performance documentation as a distinct and self-conscious discursive practice. In the discussion that follows, I examine Kirby’s ideas on performance documentation as an early theorization of the practice and look at how his ideas resonated with those of others involved in the documentation of performance on the New York scene, including the photographers Peter Moore and Babette Mangolte, the artist and anthologist Ursula Meyer, and the scholar Ronald Argelander. I also discuss the relationship of performance documentation, as conceived by Kirby, to its most important historical antecedent, the practice of theater photography. In this chapter’s concluding section, I return to the question of the performativity of performance documentation.

Performance Documentation and the New York Avant-garde Michael Kirby came to New York in 1957 and saw firsthand all the new aesthetic alternatives that opened up in reaction to the dominance of abstract expressionism. A vociferous chronicler and theorist of contemporary and historical avant-gardes,2 he maintained a staunch commitment to the value of the new in art. He often compared artistic creation to scientific discovery, insisting that “in art, as in science, it is the new that gives the field its significance.”3 Kirby’s book Happenings, published Page 74 →in 1965, is perhaps the first example of performance documentation per se, although he did not identify it as such. Kirby devotes his introduction to identifying some generic characteristics of the happening as a form and to providing it with a complex genealogy in the historical avant-garde and the work of more proximate figures, such as the composer John Cage and the dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham. There is no direct discussion of the premises behind Kirby’s approach and the book’s form, but it is important that the book is subtitled An Illustrated Anthology. It is presented as a collection of happenings rather than a book about happenings. Included in the anthology are scripts for happenings, statements and other texts by the artists responsible for them, textual descriptions of the

performances (presumably by Kirby himself, who is credited as writer and editor), and photographs of performances and rehearsals. Although Kirby’s anthology of happenings was an early exemplar of performance documentation and his particular approach to it—as were some of the essays in his second book, The Art of Time, published in 1968—he did not theorize the practice in either book. His theorization came a bit later, in a series of overlapping essays published largely in the Drama Review (known as TDR and later renamed TDR: The Journal of Performance Studies), a journal with editorial offices at New York University, where Kirby was teaching when he assumed the journal’s editorship in 1971. In these essays, Kirby grounds the necessity for performance documentation in both the ephemerality of live performances and the often very limited access to avant-garde performance work: “Some important pieces are performed only once or twice to small audiences; even those presentations that tour internationally cannot hope to have the attendance of the average commercial film.”4 Although Kirby was editing a journal with a long history of addressing contemporary drama and theater, he redefined its brief more broadly to encompass the kinds of performance that would be regarded as early examples of performance Page 75 →art. In an introductory statement that outlines his editorial intentions, Kirby specifically identifies “TDR’s interest in performances done by artists primarily involved in other fields. The investigations of these inter-connections and influences among the arts is another way to expand our view from drama to performance in general.”5 In another text, he further states, “Notice that our concern is with performance as fine art. This means that we are dealing with only a relatively small area of theatre [Kirby often used the term theatre for performance in general]. Most theatre is commercial art, involving a mass appeal to general popular standards.”6 Kirby implies that because avant-garde performance occupies so little space in a cultural landscape dominated by “commercial art,” it needs to be documented in order to have greater cultural presence. Mainstream performance does not require documentation; it can take care of itself, so to speak. But avant-garde, experimental performance must be documented in order to be known beyond its negligible initial audience. In effect, it must be documented to exist. Kirby’s characterization of fine art performance as essentially a coterie phenomenon that could have greater reach only through documentation was apparently shared by some of the artists involved in the production of the performances, including happenings, that he covered as a documentarian and editor. Claes Oldenburg, for one, engaged a photographer, Robert McElroy, to shoot his performances. McElroy’s photographs appear in both Kirby’s Happenings anthology and Oldenburg’s book Store Days, published in 1967, which documents Oldenburg’s environmental installation The Store (1961–64) and the Ray Gun Theater performances that took place there in 1962, performances that were also filmed by Raymond Saroff. McElroy’s photographs are joined in the book by scripts, texts, and drawings by Oldenburg, related to the production of the five performances that made up Ray Gun Theater. Oldenburg includes the program for these events, reproduced in facsimile, which makes it clear that each one was performed only twice Page 76 →and by a different group of people each time. In a text titled “Budget for Theater,” which follows the program in the book and may be a proposal or a funding request (or perhaps just a statement of purpose by the artist), Oldenburg stresses the small scale of his operation: the performances would “occur one time only,” with “about 35 spectators” each time. Oldenburg also indicates that these performances were “not so much directed at the general public as at other artists and connoisseurs interested in developments along this line.”7 Nevertheless, it seems that he ultimately sought a larger audience for these coterie performances, by documenting them in the book that contains this text. In arguing for the need to document performances, Kirby looked both to the present and the future: documentation makes current work accessible to a larger audience and “establishes a record for study in future times.”8 Kirby stated, moreover, “A concern for tomorrow’s past is one reason for documentation of contemporary performances.В .В .В . All current presentations will soon pass into history where they will be completely unavailable to direct experience. Anyone interested in theatre history should recognize the importance of documenting significant contemporary works as completely as possible.”9 That Kirby refers here to the present as “tomorrow’s past” makes clear his perspective that performance documentation was to be addressed primarily to the future, not the present: it was to be directed to posterity and the historical record more than to current audiences and publicity. It was a means of making performances available to future audiences who would

have no other access to them. From Kirby’s perspective, the crucial task for performance documentation is to allow the reader of the performance document to experience the performance itself. Although Kirby acknowledges that “no information about an experience is the same as the experience itself,” he nevertheless refers, at one point, to performance documents as creating “surrogate performance[s].”10 The document, as surrogate, stands in for the original event Page 77 →for an audience to whom that event is no longer available. In Kirby’s version of surrogacy, the document is responsible for providing its audience with an experience as close as possible to that of the original event. This can be accomplished only if the performance documentarian recognizes that “a concern with history demands an accurate and objective record of the performance.”11 Kirby readily admits that complete objectivity is impossible, not least because of the inevitable selectivity of any account or image, yet he insists that it remains a worthwhile objective. “To the extent that a writer consciously attempts to record rather than to evaluate or interpret,” he explains, “the performance will retain its own identity,” and “the reader will respond to the documentation in much the same way as he would have responded to the performance.”12 Kirby’s notion that documentation can deliver something like the same experience as the original performance goes against the grain of current ways of thinking about performance documentation, which tend to emphasize the futility of producing an adequate representation of an original live event. Nevertheless, his claim should be taken seriously, despite its lack of qualification. As I have indicated in previous chapters, there is no question that the performance document becomes a surrogate for the original performance: we rely on documentation to provide us with information about performances we have not seen, and we take that information to be about the performance, not about the document. As we also have seen, many more recent commentators feel, along with Caroline Rye, that one danger of documenting ephemeral performances is that “the record can all too quickly become a substitute for the live event it represents, a substitute that cannot provide evidence of exactly the thing it purports to record.”13 As Matthew Reason points out, however, this position is grounded in a paradox: the evanescence that is said to be the defining characteristic of live performance is the very thing that prompts performance makers and others to want to preserve it through documentation.14 As a result, we demand that Page 78 →performances be documented, yet we simultaneously disavow the connection between the document and the original performance. Although Kirby’s approach may be reductive, it avoids this paradox. Kirby treats performance’s ephemerality not as its essential defining characteristic but, rather, as a limiting condition that prevents avant-garde performance from having larger audiences and greater historical and cultural presence. He implies that the value of preserving performances for future audiences trumps the value of respecting their ostensible ephemerality. Kirby’s faith in objectivity, like Gadamer’s postulate that reproductions provide transparent access to the original, is also controversial from the current perspective, since we are now used to thinking of documentary objectivity as chimerical and of recordings or documents as necessarily reflective of their creators’ biases, if only in terms of what they include and exclude. It is important, however, to understand that the crucial opposition for Kirby is not that between objectivity and bias. Rather, it is the dichotomy between two discursive practices that he sees as opposed: documentation and criticism. In a passage I quoted above, Kirby contrasts recording performances to evaluating or interpreting them and strongly favors the former approach over the latter two. As Martin Puchner has shown, Kirby imposed his desire for “a precise, descriptive, and analytical style” on TDR during the period in which he edited it.15 Indeed, Kirby’s call for objectivity in performance documentation is one manifestation of his implacable hostility (recurring throughout his writing) toward criticism, which he identified with evaluation or interpretation; in one essay, he refers to “theatrical criticism as a kind of intellectual and emotional fascism that imposes opinions and value judgments on its subjects and victims.”16 In “Criticism: Four Faults,” his most sustained statement on the subject, Kirby dismisses theater criticism as “unnecessary, as well as being naГЇve and primitive, arrogant, and immoral,” concluding, “It should be eliminated.”17 Although Kirby offers detailed arguments in support Page 79 →of this claim, they need not concern us here. Important to the present discussion is that he explicitly contrasts criticism with performance documentation, which he sees as embracing positive values that are antithetical to those of the critic. Performance is ephemeral. It disappears from history unless it is recorded and preserved somehow.

Thus, a concern with history demands an accurate and objective record of the performance. To the extent that the record is complete and detailed, the performance can be reconstructed mentally. Values will take care of themselves. Since everyone has values, they will evaluate the historical reconstruction. If they have accurate and exhaustive information, their evaluation will approximate the evaluation they would have made of the actual performance if they had been in the audience. But history does not care whether its data is liked or disliked; it is built only upon the quality and accuracy of the data itself. Thus, a fifth and final claim can be made against evaluative criticism: it tends to work against and obscure vital historical documentation.18 Kirby’s hostility toward criticism finds support in Susan Sontag’s well-known essay “Against Interpretation” (1964), in which she characterizes criticism as “poison[ing] our sensibilities” with an “effusion of interpretations.”19 Sontag focuses more on literary criticism than on the visual arts or performance, but a number of her points anticipate Kirby’s. One of Sontag’s objections to interpretation is that “it makes art into an article for use” rather than something to be appreciated in and for itself.20 Kirby’s definition of art includes the stipulation that works of art have “no objective or functional purpose.”21 As we have already seen, Kirby shared Sontag’s distaste for critics who would seek to impose their views on the work and its audiences. In practice, both favored description over interpretation or evaluation.22 Sontag first proposed that critical writing needs to switch its object of attention from the Page 80 →content of works (which is subject to interpretation) to their form, for which we need “a descriptive, rather than prescriptive, vocabulary.” Still better, she suggests, would be “acts of criticism which would supply a really accurate, sharp, loving description of the appearance of works of art.”23 Although it seems unlikely that Kirby, who often wrote in the detached style of a clinical observer, would have embraced Sontag’s call for “an erotics of art,”24 it is apparent that both strongly favored a descriptive approach to writing about art over an interpretive one. Although Kirby’s position on performance documentation is tendentious and frequently expressed by him intemperately, he was not alone in believing that art should be presented as objectively as possible rather than critically. For example, Ursula Meyer’s well-known anthology Conceptual Art (1972)—which overlaps Kirby’s field of interest through the inclusion of documentation of performances by Vito Acconci, Dan Graham, Bruce Nauman, and Dennis Oppenheim—reflects similar assumptions about the nature and purpose of such a book. Meyer’s claims regarding her approach to assembling the book parallel Kirby’s call to use the printed page to make the artwork itself as directly accessible as possible.25 In her introduction, Meyers argues that “Conceptual ArtВ .В .В . is best explained through itself.” She goes on to say, “This book is not a вЂcritical anthology’ but a documentation of Conceptual Art and Statements. вЂCritical Interpretation’ tends to frame propositions different from the artist’s intention, thus prejudicing information.”26 The book’s design reflects an effort at direct and objective presentation of information. The index consists of a list of artists’ last names, alphabetized and in block capitals, and the pages on which their work appears. Each artist’s work is represented by texts written by the artist, with photographs where appropriate. Although Meyer offers some definitional generalizations about the nature of conceptual art and its historical placement in her introduction (much the way Kirby does in the introduction to Happenings), the rest of her Page 81 →book is given over to artwork unadorned by further commentary. Although presenting unadorned information about art in the context of conceptual art, which itself often takes the form of unadorned information about art,27 is arguably different from doing so in the context of happenings and other performances, the intention to use text and photographs as much as possible to give the reader a direct experience of the artwork, documented with as little critical intervention as possible, underwrites Meyer’s project as much as it does Kirby’s.

Photo-Documentation Kirby’s quest for objectivity determined not only the way that he felt descriptions of performances should be written but also how he felt they should be illustrated. In Kirby’s view, performance photography should rely

on the “mechanical” and “therefore objective” aspects of photography rather than its potential for expressing the subjectivity of the photographer.28 In this respect, he clearly participated in the long history of understanding photography as primarily a mechanical process rather than an artistic medium. Roland Barthes’s often-quoted description of the photograph as a denotative “message without a code” (from “The Photographic Message,” first published in 1961) is another significant point along this trajectory (though this reading of Barthes is arguably reductive).29 The work of two prominent performance photographers active in New York during the period under consideration here, Peter Moore and Babette Mangolte, constitutes a documentary practice that aligns with Kirby’s project. Beginning in the early 1960s, Moore captured images of happenings, Judson Dance Theater performances, Fluxus events, and many other kinds of avant-garde performance. Excerpts from an interview with Moore were included in an essay by Ronald Argelander that was published in TDR in 1974, under Kirby’s editorship. Theorizing the use of photography to produce performance Page 82 →“photo-documentation,” Argelander echoes Kirby in many regards. Two of the purposes that Argelander ascribes to photo-documentation are to allow those who did not see the performance to experience it and to serve as a record for historians.30 Also like Kirby, he opposes documentation to criticism by contrasting photo-documentation to the work of photographers whose selection of moments to capture from a performance “is based primarily on [their] taste or esthetic judgment, ” accusing such photographers of adopting “a critical attitude toward the performance.” These photographers are “photo-critics” rather than photo-documentarians.31 The idea that the photo-documentarian’s purpose is to produce a record of the event as untainted as possible by personal biases or preferences is taken up by Moore: “I have always dissociated myself completely from making any critical comment, conspicuously, in a photograph.”32 He and Argelander further emphasize that a photo-document of a performance is a record of the performer’s work, not an artwork by the photographer. Moore compares performance documentation to reproducing static artworks: “There is a similarity in approach to documenting sculpture and documenting performance. What you’re trying to do is to do justice, as much as you are able to, to the intent of the artist, rather than impose your own point of view on it.”33 Much of his conversation with Argelander, as well as Argelander’s own ruminations, concerns technical issues that the photo-documentarian must address, including what kind of cameras, lenses, and shots to use. Argelander asserts that “photographers who shoot only close-ups and medium views are not photo-documentors,” since the idea of photo-documentation is to capture as much of the performance as possible and to remain faithful to a spectator’s visual perspective.34 This perspective is necessary to produce images able to function as the “surrogate performances” for which Kirby calls. The idea of documenting performances in photographs does not emerge from Argelander’s article as purely unproblematic.Page 83 → One of the issues that comes up can be called the problem of the iconic image. In their interview excerpted by Argelander, Moore and his wife, Barbara, point to the way performances come to be represented by a very small number of published images or even a single image, a phenomenon Barbara Moore describes as self-perpetuating misrepresentation, since the publication of certain images increases interest only in those particular images, which become divorced from the performance as a whole while simultaneously representing it.35 Barbara mentions Yvonne Rainer in this context. Two of the many other performance artists whose work has suffered this fate are Robert Morris and Carolee Schneemann. Their collaborative performance Site (1964; see chap. 2, fig. 8), which was photographed by Peter Moore and also by Hans Namuth, is generally represented in print by only two images, one of which has been repeated so often that it has become the iconic sign for the whole performance. Similarly, Schneemann’s Interior Scroll (1975) has long been represented by a single photograph by Anthony McCall. This apparent reduction of a performance to a few images is not necessarily as baneful as it may seem, given the ability of “still” images to imply sequences of action, as I discuss in the present study’s introduction. Although Babette Mangolte—who came to New York in the early 1970s and photographed dance (especially performances by Trisha Brown and Yvonne Rainer), avant-garde theater, and performance art—belongs to the artistic generation that came of age in the 1970s rather than the 1960s, she retrospectively describes her work as a performance photo-documentarian in terms that closely parallel Kirby’s and Moore’s. She writes of

going to one of Richard Foreman’s theatrical productions in 1970: “What I saw was extraordinary but only four other people were there to see it. Therefore recording it was an absolute necessity. Somebody had to preserve [it] for posterity.”36 For Mangolte at this time, “photography was not about passing judgment, on the contrary, it was about absolute objectivity.В .В .В . The justification for shooting the photographs was Page 85 →solely that they should exist. How the photographs would be used was left vague because they were made for others who would make sense of them, if not now then sometime in the future. Making the work visible for my contemporaries was not my primary impulse.”37 To these ends, she developed an approach to shooting performances that was meant to foster “automatism”: shooting very quickly and giving as little consideration to choice of shot and camera setup as possible. “Getting it was better than missing it,” she explains, “even if technically it wasn’t a вЂgood photograph.’”38 Kirby’s sense of urgency around the need to document the performances happening on New York’s art scene and his emphasis on objectivity and the preservation of performances for future audiences find sympathetic resonance in Moore’s and Mangolte’s respective descriptions of their photographic practices. Page 84 → Fig. 14. Carolee Schneemann, Interior Scroll (1975). This photograph, one of a number that Anthony McCall took of this performance, exemplifies the phenomenon of the iconic image, by which a past performance is primarily known through a single image. (Courtesy of Carolee Schneemann, P•P•O•W, New York, and Galerie Lelong, New York and Paris.) Writing about the need to document performances, Kirby once remarked, “We have not yet reached the point where all—or even the most significant—theatrical presentations are recorded on film or videotape,” implying that audiovisual records would be the ideal means of preserving performances.39 He nevertheless devoted most of his attention to the written word, supplemented by photographs, as the primary medium of performance documentation.40 Artists quickly adopted the Sony Portapak, the first consumer-level portable videorecording system, following its introduction in 1967. Although this eventually led to the widespread practice of documenting performances on video, the fact that Kirby does not discuss audiovisual documentation is understandable given his context. He wrote about documentation primarily as the editor of a print journal and addressed the forms of documentation that he was in a position to produce and publish. Also, his documentation of performances began with happenings in the late 1950s, when writing and photography were the most practical means available. In fact, photography, not video, continues to be the most important and accessible visual medium for documenting performances. Page 86 →Adrian George explains that “the photograph, above all other media, has become crucial in the historicization of performance,” and Reason points to “the enduring importance of still photography, which remains the most frequently used and seen representation of performance.”41 Additionally, Mangolte, who was trained as a cinematographer in France before coming to the United States, points out that the early video technology available to artists was somewhat useful as a rehearsal tool, recalling that the choreographer Twyla Tharp was one of the first to use video this way in the early 1970s. Its quality, however, “was not good enough to show fully what had gone on to an audience that hadn’t been there.”42 More interesting is Mangolte’s discussion of why she documented performances in still photographs and chose (with very few exceptions) not to use film or video, despite her background in film and lack of training as a still photographer. Her argument is that photography could be more automatic and spontaneous (and therefore more objective) than filmmaking: “Photography was immediate and reactive. Film had to be pre-conceptualized before shooting.”43 Whereas Mangolte felt that a reasonable degree of objectivity in documentation was attainable through photography, she also felt that to render a performance in an audiovisual medium was inevitably to produce an adaptation of it rather than a record of it. A series of photographs could provide a chronology of the iconography of the piece, some sense of the maker’s intentions and aesthetics, and therefore be informative and worthwhile. Film was almost doomed to fail if you couldn’t restage the action for the film camera, and that was needed to make an interesting film work.В .В .В . If I had to summarize the essential differences between film and photography in documenting performance, I would say that, for better or worse, the motion picture camera can mislead while the still camera can be mute.44 Page 87 →

Mangolte explicates her resistance to the idea of using film or video as means of documentation in ways that align with the values that Kirby espoused. As we have seen, Kirby’s concept of performance documentation is grounded in a straightforward ontology: performances happen, and documentation preserves them in forms that will allow future audiences to experience them. Because these documents present the performance as objectively as possible, future audiences will be in a position to arrive at their own interpretations and assessments, much as they would have had they seen the original event. From Kirby’s perspective as an early theorist of performance documentation, the relationships between the performance and its documentation and between the document and its future audience are clearly defined and uncomplicated. Over time, however, it has become clear that the reality of performance documentation is considerably messier than Kirby’s fairly cut-and-dried approach suggests. As I mentioned at the end of the previous chapter, some of Mangolte’s recent work as an artist (rather than a documentarian) addresses the complexity and untidiness of performance documentation. One of her contributions to the Tate Liverpool 2003–4 exhibition Art, Lies, and Videotape: Exposing Performance (a title that itself suggests how far away we now are from Kirby’s confidence in the objectivity and surrogacy of performance documentation) was an installation juxtaposing her well-known photograph of Trisha Brown’s Roof Piece (1973) with the contact sheet showing all the black-and-white shots that Mangolte took of the performance. Facing the photographs were video monitors showing the three reels of color motion picture film that she also shot that day (which were originally projected as three images side by side).45 The glow of the monitors, reflected in the glass over the photographs, created a forced contrast between still and moving image, color and black-andwhite, isolated moment and more complete record. In this installation, Mangolte raised questions but providedPage 88 → no answers: she left the viewer of her installation to sort out both the relationship of the multiple modes of representation to the absent event and the question of how (or if) a single static image documents an event that unfolds in time. Fig. 15. Babette Mangolte, Trisha Brown, “Roof Piece”: Three Screens Film Installation, from films shot in 1973 by Mangolte. This installation juxtaposes films of Brown’s seminal dance performance shot from multiple angles. (Photograph copyright В© 2017 Babette Mangolte, all rights of reproduction reserved.)

Theater Photography In the context of the present discussion, it is important to contrast the approach to the visual documentation of performance represented by photo-documentation to other practices, particularly those of conventional theater and dance photographers. Theater photography is the most significant historical antecedent to early performance documentation and is the practice in relation to which performance photo-documentariansPage 89 → implicitly or explicitly defined their own. Considering this practice also returns us to the premise that performance documents can be understood as performative utterances. To paraphrase Austin, this is a matter of “doing things with pictures.” As I suggested earlier, to make an image of a performance is not simply to record its occurrence: it is to bring the event into being in a particular way. It is therefore necessary to consider what theater and dance photography does and to compare and contrast these doings with those of performance documentation. As David Mayer has shown, theater photography became a regular practice from the late 1850s on. However, early theater photographs were “not intended asВ .В .В . image[s] of performance”; rather, they were performer images that participated in the tradition of photographic portraiture.46 If these portraits appeared to depict scenes from plays, the scenes were simulated in the photographer’s studio (see fig. 16). The primary function of these photographs was promotional, but because the photographs themselves were considered collectible commodities, their marketing function was complex: “The portrait photograph marketed the play and the performer, and the play and the performer marketed both the performer and the photograph.”47 The photos were thus intended exclusively for consumption by a contemporary audience, with no view to preserving the events for future generations. After 1901, photographs of actors were taken on the stages on which they performed, but generally during specially arranged sessions for which the actors would strike poses from specific moments in the play, rather than at actual performances—a practice that continues to this day and that Argelander decries as “misleading.”48 To return to a distinction I made in chapter 1, the ambitions of early photographs of stage plays were theatrical (in the sense of being staged and simulated) rather than documentary.

These images would be posted in theaters to serve as advertisements and previews for the performances on offer, anticipating the use of lobby cards in cinemas. Page 90 → Fig. 16. Kate Vaughn as “Peggy” in The Country Girl, Novelty Theatre (1884), London, by an unknown photographer. Although the actress appears in character against a theatrical set, this photograph was taken in the studio, not in the theater. (Sepia photograph on paper bequeathed by Guy Little. В© Victoria and Albert Museum, London.) Page 91 → The founding procedures of theater photography that Mayer describes have remained firmly in place in a variety of contexts (although not always for the same purposes) for more than a century. For example, Martha Graham collaborated with the photographer Barbara Morgan between 1935 and 1941 on a series of images eventually published in 1941 as a book titled Martha Graham: Sixteen Dances in Photographs. The photographs in the book reproduce moments in Graham’s dancing; however, they were not taken during performances but were shot in Morgan’s studio, under exacting technical conditions “designed to capture вЂthe most profound and most crucial moment’ of the dance.”49 Morgan did not photograph full performances; rather, Graham repeated specific movements until Morgan felt that she had achieved the images she wanted (see fig. 17). Asked many years later about whether her photographs were intended to re-create performances, Morgan retorted, “Hell, no! I paid no attention to the stage. I wanted to show that Martha had her own vision. That what she was conveying was deeper than ego, deeper than baloney. Dance has to go beyond theatre.В .В .В . I was trying to connect her spirit with the viewer—to show pictures of spiritual energy.”50 Conceiving of her carefully staged studio images not as a means by which a viewer might experience Graham’s performance but as distilling the underlying spiritual truth of Graham’s dancing, Morgan implicitly (and interestingly) suggested that her carefully posed images could get closer to that truth than could photographs of actual performances, which are inevitably compromised by the “baloney” that surrounds performances as social interactions. The early 1970s saw a resurgence of interest in theater photography, on the heels of the notoriety of an underground theater scene populated by groups engaged in forms of collective creation that resisted or eschewed the theater’s traditional relationship between text and performance. Books appearing around this time that documented such productions in photographs and text include Dionysus in 69: The Performance Page 92 →Group (1970), with photographs by Max Waldman and Frederick Eberstadt; Waldman on Theatre (1971), a collection of Waldman’s work; Paradise Now: Collective Creation of the Living Theatre (1971), with photographs by Gianfranco Mantegna; and Alice in Wonderland: The Forming of a Company and the Making of a Play (1973), with photographs by Richard Avedon and text by Doon Arbus. As Natalie Crohn Schmitt observes in an essay published in 1976, this renaissance of theater photography reflected an emerging theater aesthetic in which the essence of the production was thought to lie not in the script being performed but in the performance itself: “Theatre reveals an Page 93 →increased concern with process rather than product. The plays may have no ongoing life apart from their performance.В .В .В . The dramas existed in their processes, the momentary personal interactions of actor, role, and audience, which the script does not express but which the photographer can capture.”51 For a theatrical avant-garde that was increasingly visually oriented, photography seemed to provide a more meaningful record than could the written word, for “the photograph records the language of silence.”52 Fig. 17. Barbara Morgan (1900–1992), Martha Graham, “Letter to the World” (Kick) (1940). Gelatin silver print, 37.4 Г— 46.7 cm (14 3/4 Г— 18 3/8 in.). (John Spencer Fund. В© The Museum of Modern Art. Digital image В© The Museum of Modern Art / Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource, NY. Used by permission of Barbara and Willard Morgan Photographs and Papers, Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.) Although Schmitt makes a compelling case for seeing these photographs as participating in the new theatrical aesthetic that they also record, it is equally important to emphasize that they maintain continuity with the tradition of theater and dance photography sketched here. Both Avedon and Waldman shot the performers in their respective studios, not in performance, seeking to re-create striking images from the productions in a manner akin to Morgan’s work with Graham. Avedon and Waldman were also portraitists, some of whose subjects were

actors (sometimes in character, in Waldman’s case). Both worked largely in close-up or medium shots, a format Argelander consigns to the photo-critic rather than the photo-documentarian. In these respects, their work is completely continuous with the history of theater photography and at odds with the ambitions of performance documentarians like Moore and Mangolte, with whom they were contemporary. As Mayer says of the earliest examples of theater photography, these are images of performers, not performances. Avedon’s and Waldman’s images are of performers as seen by a particular photographer at a particular moment. Schmitt defines the aesthetic of the 1960s theatrical avant-garde as emphasizing “momentary personal interactions” and argues that Waldman’s photographs do the same: “He interacts as audience member and the photo can express that interaction and provide, then, one spectator’s experience of the performance, that person’s sense of what it was like to be there.В .В .В . Waldman’s photograph, then, is a record of an interaction, not of Page 94 →the play in itself.”53 Waldman’s emphasis on his own subjectivity rather than the performance itself runs directly counter to Moore’s and Mangolte’s respective efforts to avoid subjectivity in their performance work, marking the difference between Waldman’s theater photography and the kind of performance documentation that Kirby, Argelander, and others were conceptualizing at the same time. Discussing the role of spontaneity in Waldman’s carefully composed shots, Schmitt notes that the photographs make us “aware that Waldman might not be able to get a picture quite like that again.”54 In other words, the spontaneity at issue is not the performers’ but the photographer’s, and the theater photographs of the early 1970s often say more about the photographer than they say about the performance, capturing the photographer’s engagement with the event rather than the event itself. Morgan’s earlier images of Graham were not as directly about the photographer’s subjective experience of the performance, but they are about photography as a means of accessing an aspect of Graham’s dancing that ostensibly could not be accessed through the theatrical experience or its direct representation. Although these photographers certainly produced images of performers and performances (sometimes performers from the same avant-garde circles as those photographed by Moore and Mangolte), their work is quite distant from the self-conscious aspiration of performance documentarians to produce objective self-effacing records in words and images that could serve as a means by which future audiences might access the ephemeral performance itself.

The Performativity of Performance Documentation Revisited Having presented a brief but, I hope, fairly full picture of the efflorescence of the idea and practice of performance documentation on New York’s experimental art scene from about 1964 through 1974, I return to speech act theory to propose Page 95 →a more refined concept of the performativity of performance documentation than I suggested in chapter 1. To enrich my analogy between documentation and speech acts, I will enlist John R. Searle, one of Austin’s successors, who made the salient point that while all utterances, in their performative aspect, exert force on the world, they do not all do so in the same way or with the same type of force. He therefore proposed a taxonomy of illocutionary acts. Searle distinguishes declarations from other performative speech acts primarily in terms of what he calls the “direction of fit between words and the world. Some illocutions have as part of their illocutionary point to get the wordsВ .В .В . to match the world, others to get the world to match the words. Assertions are in the former category, promises and requests are in the latter.”55 As Kira Hall clarifies, Searle distinguishes declarations by their “dual direction of fit”: “While the words of a [declaration] do in some sense вЂfit’ the world, .В .В .В they also constitute it, so that by their very utterance the world is also made to fit the words.”56 Searle’s “dual direction of fit” provides a valuable heuristic for thinking about the world-making abilities of performance documentation as envisioned and practiced by Kirby, Moore, Mangolte, and others. With respect to performance documentation as a discourse, Kirby clearly wanted “the wordsВ .В .В . to match the world” (literally in written documentation, metaphorically in photo-documentation), in that he wanted documentation to produce as objective, literal, and accurate a record of the performance (an event in the world) as possible. But the practice of performance documentation that Kirby envisioned was also world-making. Searle points out that declarations require the authority of an “extra-linguistic institution” (not just linguistic

competence) to be successfully performed.57 Kirby’s status not only as an artist active in both the visual art and performance scenes in New York but also as a professor at New York University and the editor of TDR, a well-established and respected journal, provided the institutional authority that endowed illocutionary force to the documentation that Page 96 →he published there. Discussing Kirby’s editorship of TDR, Puchner defines his “project” as that of “creating a contemporary avant-garde in New York.”58 By documenting, in the same pages, disparate performance practices by visual artists, dancers, theater makers, and others, the journal shaped a coherent scene out of the New York–based avant-garde that it sought to describe objectively. Simultaneously, it helped to create a discursive category of “performance” that transcended individual genres and art forms but implied an overall experimental attitude and membership in an avant-garde. As suggested by both Kirby’s focus on “tomorrow’s past” and Mangolte’s statement that she was photographing so that an unknown future audience might better understand the work documented, performance documentarians created an archive of “significant” work whose significance was asserted through the act of documentation rather than established prior to documentation: these works were not documented because they were significant but became significant because they were documented. Certainly, Kirby and those who participated in his project considered the performances that they documented to be significant. But as we have seen, they undertook to document them largely for a future audience and could not have claimed to know what that audience would find to be significant. Whereas Kirby believed that the availability of objective records of these performances would allow later audiences to make their own determinations about them, the availability of these performances in documentary form is a major reason that later audiences have found them to be significant. In these respects, the declarations of performance documentation brought into being the world it described.

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Conclusion Karaoke Performance Art My intention in this study has been to challenge a critical discourse that seems to be almost entirely preoccupied with the ontological relationship between the “original” performance and the documents (e.g., photographs, audiovisual recordings, or written descriptions) that presume to capture it and make it available to audiences beyond those who experienced the live event. I have sought to shift the focus of this conversation from the relationship between the performance and its documentation, which is frequently characterized as inevitably a relationship of inadequacy and betrayal, to the relationship of the document to the audience that ultimately derives an experience of the performance from it. I have suggested that performance documents are not derivatives of earlier events now no longer accessible but should be understood as sites of performance in themselves, not only because any performance’s largest audience is likely to experience it from its documentation, but also because events and images are constructed discursively as performances through the performativity of performance documentation. In Benjamin’s account of reactivation, the reproduction (document) of an art object or performance does not simply enable a secondhand experience of the thing reproduced. Rather, it somehow allows us to reproduce for ourselves the Page 98 →thing reproduced, to bring it to life, to reactivate it, so as to be able to experience it in our present moment. Listening to recorded music is perhaps the most straightforward example: we hear the music unfurling for us in our “particular situation,” even though it was recorded at some other time in some other place; the recording, the document, is what makes this possible. I take the process by which we experience a work of performance art through its documentation to be similar. In this conclusion, I emphasize that reactivation, as I understand it, is something the audience for a reproduced artwork or performance does—not something that simply happens when we behold a reproduction. Drawing on Gadamer’s hermeneutic phenomenology, I argue that through an act of consciousness, we establish a relationship with the reproduced performance that allows us to perceive it as contemporaneous. As I have analyzed it here, the process of a beholder’s reactivating a performance from its documentation is a mental process achieved through the beholder’s engagement with the performance through the document. Ultimately, however, the idea that reactivation is something that happens exclusively in the mind does not strike me as completely adequate. Just as a documented performance may provoke within the beholder the “unruly desire” to know more about the performance described by Benjamin, it also may well give rise to an equally unruly desire to know how it feels to perform it oneself. For example, a significant number of female performance artists have performed Carolee Schneemann’s Interior Scroll (see chap. 3, fig. 14).1 It seems to me quite clear that beyond mental reactivation, modes of corporeal engagement with reproduced performances respond to the “participative longings” that performances evoke, constituting another kind of reactivation.2 Reactivation, as described by Benjamin, posits the beholder of the reproduction as a spectator (albeit, in my formulation, not a passive one) experiencing a work of art or artistic performance. I suggest that reactivation is also an act that can constitute us as performers across a cultural spectrum far broader Page 99 →than the field of art. I am thinking of a range of activities that includes air guitar; the extraordinary variety of things people reenact for the purpose of posting videos on Internet hosting sites such as YouTube; some kinds of video game play, including music-themed games such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band; and, as the title of this chapter suggests, karaoke. All of these activities and many others like them reflect the impulse not just to experience the reactivated performance mentally from a spectatorial position but also to experience it from the performer’s embodied perspective, to gain some sense of how it feels to do it. In her ethnographic account of gamers who play musical video games, Kiri Miller describes what I take to be the essence of corporeal reactivation: “Guitar Hero and Rock Band let players put the performance back into recorded music, reanimating it with their physical engagement and adrenaline.”3 In terms of performance art, this impulse has led to a spate of reenactments of historical works, described by Mechtild Widrich as “re-performance, the restaging of performances by an artist

decades after the fact, be it the original artist, a contemporary, or the representative of a younger generation [of performance artists], eager to вЂlive through their heritage.’”4 Karaoke is, of course, significantly different from this latter kind of re-performance in the art world. For one thing, karaoke singers are not artists in their own right in the same category as those who originally recorded the songs they sing. Karaoke is thus a matter not of artists reproducing other artists’ work but, rather, of amateur enactments of songs often associated with well-known, professional artists. In performance art, the question of just how accurate a re-performance can or should be is open (though I have argued here against the idea that there is a position from which we can measure such accuracy), but the concept does entail some notion of fidelity to an earlier event. By contrast, karaoke performers do not necessarily attempt to re-create specific events, though they may. The mimetic dimension of karaoke varies with its cultural context. Whereas Japanese performers are often reluctant to Page 100 →depart from replicating canonical recorded versions of songs, singers in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Sweden are more interested in stamping the karaoke repertoire with their individuality.5 Judges on the televised US singing competition American Idol regularly used the word karaoke as a term of opprobrium, to mean the singer failed to “make the song [his or her] own.” William H. Kelly, discussing the British karaoke scene, describes the singers’ use of existing songs as the appropriation of popular songs from the exclusive realm of the professional singer by karaoke amateurs who make them their own, thus closing the gap between amateur and professional. This represents a shift from a close identification between professional singer and song to a disproportionate emphasis on the song itself which has been reinvented for the karaoke format and the amateur singer.6 Understood in this way, karaoke performance brings into being a new performance of what is, in effect, a new piece of music, rather than a re-creation of an existing performance. Sometimes, this process of appropriating a song leads to a kind of karaoke celebrity. Singers in this category are called on to repeat their performances in ways that parallel conventional performance norms. Rob Drew reports, Others will attend just to hear them sing, and they’ll receive requests to do particular songsВ .В .В . (in the men’s room at the bar Hector attended, the graffiti read, “Hector Rules, Ask For Him To Sing”). Often these performers have signature tunes that they are almost obligated to perform. At yet another bar the emcee tells me, “Joe and Jack couldn’t come to Spender’s without doing вЂSweet Emotion’—the crowd would kill them.”7 In this way, the new, karaoke performance of the song supplants existing recordings as the object of repetition. Although these accounts suggest that karaoke, at least in Page 101 →the West, is generally more about treating the songs as raw material for self-expressive performances than about impersonating the artists with whom the songs are associated or re-creating particular performances (unlike a tribute band such as the Dark Star Orchestra, which re-creates specific performances by the Grateful Dead), karaoke performances are inevitably intertextual with the recordings of the songs that made them popular or famous enough to become fodder for karaoke singers. Rebecca Schneider describes re-performance practices that include both restaged performance artworks and Civil War reenactments as “the replay of evidence (photographs, documents, archival remains) back across the body in gestic negotiation.”8 This description applies equally well to karaoke performances: one kind of archival evidence (the words of the song) is literally replayed as the lyrics scroll down the screen, and the repertoire is invoked, perhaps distantly, through the unavoidable referencing of earlier performances of the same material. The singer’s performance constitutes the “gestic negotiation” with the bodies of evidence Schneider posits. That said, however much karaoke may implicitly refer to the past histories of songs, the emphasis in karaoke performance is decidedly on the present moment. Schneider problematizes the idea of the immediacy of the present by asking (glossing Richard Schechner and Judith Butler in so doing), “Does [the present] not take place or become composed in double, triple, or multiple time—especially if performance and the вЂsedimented

acts’ that comprise the social are already a matter of вЂtwice-behaved behavior’?”9 In the present study, I have taken up the temporal complexities of performance documentation: performances are documented in their present, with an eye toward the future that becomes the present of the beholder who reactivates the performance from its documentation, thus experiencing it in the present while acknowledging its connection to the past. Karaoke involves its own brand of complex temporality. However much karaoke performances supplant existing recorded performances, they cannot be free of referencesPage 102 → to the past that are embedded in songs or from songs’ performance histories. As Schneider suggests, performance can never be fully and simply present, but we can accept this understanding and also insist that different genres of performance navigate this complexity in different ways. Civil War reenactment is “a clear-cut case of the effort to play one time in another time” (Schneider),10 and re-performances of performance artworks may reflect the desire for “an authentic return to an event independent of time” (Widrich).11 In comparison, karaoke suppresses a song’s history and the history of its previous performances and valorizes the moment in the club or bar when someone stands up to sing, often despite stage fright or social reservations. Whereas Civil War reenactors measure the authenticity of their stagings in terms of their fidelity to the past as they understand it and whereas the authenticity of performance art reperformance is often measured by the degree to which the piece is shown to be “independent of time” (i.e., still aesthetically significant),12 the authenticity of karaoke performance is measured by the energy, enthusiasm, originality, and commitment of the performers, largely independent of their skill (though a measure of skill is preferred) and with no explicit reference to the song as a specifically historical object that may be performed correctly or incorrectly. The documentary film Marina AbramoviД‡: The Artist Is Present chronicles Abramović’s retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in 2010 and the marathon durational performance she undertook there, for which she sat in the museum’s atrium each day of the exhibition, for the entire time the museum was open, and invited members of the public to sit opposite her. The performance became something of a media event, and people lined up to sit opposite the artist for a few minutes, as if the event were a big-ticket rock concert. One man had the number of times he participated in the piece (21) tattooed on his arm, while others queued for hours or camped Page 103 →overnight in front of the museum with the hope of getting a chance to participate. Fig. 18. Two young people emulate the performance while attending Marina Abramović’s The Artist Is Present at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, in 2010. (Still from the film directed by Matthew Akers and Jeff Dupre [2012].) Late in the film, there is a scene of the spectators who have made it into the museum and are watching others experience their time with AbramoviД‡. In this crowd, we see two pairs of people, each consisting of a male and a female. One pair is young children, perhaps ten years old, while the other is a couple of young adults. In both cases, they are sitting or lying opposite one another and looking intently into one another’s eyes.13 In other words, rather than simply await their turns with AbramoviД‡, they are performing her piece for themselves. (It has been suggested to me that these scenes were not spontaneous but staged for the film. As with the question of whether or not documented performances ever actually happened in the “real” world apart from their documentation—discussed in the present study in the introduction and chapter 1—I argue that this makes no difference. In either case, we are presented with the image of spectators giving in to the “unruly desire” to enact the piece themselves from their knowledge of it.) This type of re-performance is different, in a number of importantPage 104 → ways, from those discussed by Schneider or Widrich. First is its amateur status, derived from the fact that the performers are not themselves performance artists responding to the history of their field but simply people responding to the impulse to find out what it feels like to perform this piece. Second is the fact that because the reenactments in this admittedly peculiar case are simultaneous with the performance they re-create, they do not count as historical re-performances. Rather, Abramović’s piece functions more in the way a song does in karaoke, as primarily a pretext for a fresh performance in the present rather than as a historical artifact. As with karaoke, the spectators’ performances of The Artist Is Present are reactivations rather than re-performances; by these reactivations,

spectators acting as performers bring the performance into their “particular situation” by embodying it. Sven LГјtticken observes, “Like other performances, re-enactments generate representations in the form of photos and videos. Is it the fate of the re-enactment to become an image? And are such representations just part of a spectacle that breeds passivity, or can they in some sense be performative, active?”14 I think this question demands that a distinction be made between “professional” reenactors, who either perform or stage reenactments within the contexts of the worlds of art or entertainment, and “amateur” ones, along the lines of karaoke singers. First of all, the impulse to reenact is not passive; to the extent that spectators feel an urge to do what they see, the performance is not “breeding passivity.” Second, although amateur reenactors do document their performances (e.g., as videos on YouTube), the primary pleasure of them surely comes from the doing, just as karaoke is more a participatory activity than one designed for nonparticipating spectators. In this sense, documentations of performances and re-performances are not necessarily fated to become mere images. They are always implicitly invitations to corporeal engagement, to physically reactivating a performance in one’s own time and place and on one’s own terms, largely just for Page 105 →the sake of doing it. Videos of this sort of activity abound on social media sites, prompting others to follow suit. For example, an extraordinary number of reenactments of Andy Kaufman’s lip-synched performance of the Mighty Mouse theme song can be seen on YouTube. The number is extraordinary partly because the performance by Kaufman that is re-created in these videos took place decades ago, on October 11, 1975, on the very first episode of Saturday Night Live. It is hard not to wonder what may be the mechanism behind the cultural transmission of this particular work from its original audience of baby boomers to two subsequent generations. The performers who have undertaken this piece are adults and children, male and female. The venues include charity events, school talent shows, gymnasiums, and, in most cases, the homes of the performers. There is one animated version, and there is one celebrity performance (for a charity event), by Matt Bonner, a member of the San Antonio Spurs basketball team. There is also a professional re-creation by the actor and comedian Jim Carrey, as part of his portrayal of Kaufman in MiloЕЎ Forman’s 1999 biographical film Man in the Moon.15 Although Carrey was acting in that film, one could argue that by portraying a forebearer in stand-up comedy, Carrey’s original form, he undertook the same kind of exploration of his artistic heritage that Widrich sees in young performers’ reenactments of historic works of performance art. As a performer, Kaufman occupied an imprecise position on the border between stand-up comedy and performance art.16 In the particular routine he performed on Saturday Night Live, a staple of his club act, he used a child’s record player to play a 45 rpm single of the theme from the Mighty Mouse television program, a cartoon show popular during Kaufman’s childhood. Bill Zehme describes Kaufman’s performance as follows: Wordlessly, heВ .В .В . walked over to his phonograph, dropped the needle on the turntable, and Mighty Mouse played and he preciselyPage 106 → lip-synched only to the rodent tenor’s infrequent seven-word braggadocio—Here I come to save the day!—absorbing all intervening moments of chorus by standing and fidgeting, eyes darting, pouring himself a glass of water, sipping the water, waiting through silences most cavernous and impressive, clearly incapable of saving any sort of day but then againВ .В .В . maybe. And then the record ended and cheers came like they always had and he bowed repeatedly.17 This performance presents a technological challenge to would-be reenactors, since many do not have access to an old-fashioned child’s phonograph or to the 45 rpm disc (though some clearly do). Some use boom boxes, others use more contemporary devices, and still others provide no visible source for the sound. Their reenactments are variously described as tributes, performances, impressions, imitations, remakes, parodies, and reloads. One of the most conceptually rich of the Kaufman reenactments is by Sara Freeman, who describes her video on YouTube by saying, “This is simply me imitating Andy Kaufman’s epic performance on SNL.”18 Freeman’s video opens on a shot of a white wall, with a small white table in the lower left-hand corner of the frame. On the table perches a laptop, with Kaufman’s performance on Saturday Night Live frozen on the

screen. Freeman enters the frame, walks past the laptop, and positions herself on the right side of the frame, next to the table, to reenact Kaufman’s original fidgety presence. After surveying an invisible audience for some time, she emulates Kaufman’s dropping the needle on the record by walking over to the laptop and starting Kaufman’s video on the screen. Thereafter, she uses the soundtrack of Kaufman’s performance, which includes audience reactions, as the soundtrack to her own. However, since we can see Kaufman’s performance on the laptop’s screen, we see both Kaufman and Freeman enacting the performance simultaneously. The Kaufman video is the archive from which Freeman has learned the repertoire of Page 107 →gestures, movements, and facial expressions that constitute the performance. Fig. 19. Sara Freeman performs Andy Kaufman’s Mighty Mouse routine, originally performed on Saturday Night Live in 1975. (Still from the YouTube video [2013]). Freeman is a skilled performer; she clearly has learned well the physical routine and timing of the performance and its nuances. Her gestures and actions correspond in a detailed manner with what we see Kaufman do on the screen. Nevertheless, there are moments where her gestures do not match his exactly or where she begins a gesture or movement just before or just after he does. Freeman’s version of the performance thus becomes a kind of pas de deux between herself and Kaufman. There are times when we see the two figures perform the same movements in unison, and other moments present variations. In her rendition of Kaufman’s work, Freeman sets up simultaneously aesthetically satisfying and conceptually engaging juxtapositions of “original” and “copy,” of past and present (including a significant generational difference), of male performer and female performer, and of live performer and virtual performer. This is karaoke performance art in the best possible sense. Page 108 →If thinking about karaoke in relation to other practices of re-performance, reenactment, and reactivation sheds some light on the temporality of karaoke performance and its relationship to previous performances of the same music, it also shows that these practices are distributed across a wide cultural field that extends far beyond the reaches of the art world or the simulated Civil War battlefield. Not only in the art world are performances documented and reactivated from their documentation. A host of ordinary performance practices in which a great many of us engage at one time or another, if not habitually, likewise constitute performance reactivation. To understand the phenomenon fully, one must consider it not just in the rarified context of the art world but across this much broader cultural spectrum.

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Acknowledgments I wish to thank LeAnn Fields and the University of Michigan Press for unflagging supporting and for publishing my work for the past quarter of a century. Thanks also to Randall Reeves, my Dean’s Intern through Dean Jacqueline Royster and the Ivan Allen College at Georgia Tech for helping me to prepare the manuscript. Thanks to Amelia Jones for some last-minute help. Parts of this book were presented as papers and addresses at numerous conferences, symposia, and other events. I thank all of the organizers for giving me opportunities to air my thoughts and to those who engaged me in conversation for helping me to clarify them. The first version of chapter 1 was originally published in After the Act: The (Re)Presentation of Performance Art, edited by Barbara Clausen (Vienna: Museum Moderner Kunst, Stiftung Ludwig, 2007). I wish to thank Barbara in particular for prompting me to discover my interest in performance documentation and thus starting me on the path of inquiry that led to this book. Chapter 1 was also published, slightly revised, as “The Performativity of Performance Documentation,” Performing Arts Journal 84 (2006). I wish to thank the editor of this journal, Bonnie Marranca, for her enthusiastic support of my work over the years. The Ur-Text that became chapter 2 appeared as “Reactivation: Performance, Mediatization, and the Present Moment,” Page 110 →in Interfaces of Performance, ed. M. Chatzichristodoulou, J. Jefferies, and R. Zerihan (Farnham: Ashgate, 2009). Chapter 3 was originally commissioned by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis as part of their online Living Collections Catalog, supported by the Getty Foundation’s Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative. It was published in 2014 as “Surrogate Performances: Performance Documentation and the New York Avant-garde, ca. 1964–74,” in On Performativity, vol. 1 of Living Collections Catalogue, ed. Elizabeth Carpenter. The Conclusion began life as the Afterword to Kevin Brown’s Karaoke Idols: Popular Music and the Performance of Identity (Bristol: Intellect, 2015), under the title “Karaoke as Performance Reactivation.” I thank these writers and editors for inviting me to participate in their projects, and I appreciate the permission of all publishers to reprint these materials.

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Notes Introduction 1. Diana Taylor, The Archive and the Repertoire: Performing Cultural Memory in the Americas (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003), 19. 2. Ibid., 20. 3. Ibid. 4. Philip Auslander, Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture, 2nd ed. (New York: Routledge, 2008). 5. Philip Auslander, “The Liveness of Watching Online: Performance Room,” in Perform, Experience, Relive: BMW Tate Live Program, ed. Cecilia Wee (London: Tate Modern, 2016), 112–25. 6. Rebecca Schneider, Performing Remains: Art and War in Times of Theatrical Reenactment (New York: Routledge, 2011), 107. 7. Ibid., 92. 8. Ibid., 101–2. 9. Frazer Ward, No Innocent Bystanders: Performance Art and Audience (Hanover, NH: Dartmouth College Press, 2012), 14. 10. Henry Sayre, The Object of Performance: The American Avant-garde since 1970 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989), 17. 11. Auslander, Liveness, 23–24. 12. The inclusion of writing in this list can be read in relation to my earlier rejection, in Liveness (58), of writing as a mediatized version of performance. At the time I first wrote the passage in question, I was thinking specifically in terms of recorded performances and was not convinced that writing and painting or drawing are recording media of the same order as photography, sound recording, film, and video. 13. Philip Auslander, “Pictures of an Exhibition,” in Between Zones: On the Representation of the Performative and the Notation of Movement, ed. Raphael Gygax and Heike Munder (Zurich: JRP|Ringier, 2011), 270. 14. For a good discussion of the issues surrounding performance documentationPage 112 → and documentary methods both within and beyond the research arena, see Adam J. Ledger, Simon K. Ellis, and Fiona Wright, “The Question of Documentation: Creative Strategies in Performance Research,” in Research Methods in Theatre and Performance, ed. Baz Kershaw and Helen Nicholson (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2011), 162–85. 15. William A. Ewing, “An Interview with Lois Greenfield,” in Breaking Bounds: The Dance Photography of Lois Greenfield (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1992), 110. 16. Koral Ward, Augenblick: The Concept of the “Decisive Moment” in 19th- and 20th-Century Western Philosophy (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008), 147. 17. Schneider, Performing Remains, 145. 18. K. Ward, Augenblick, 142. 19. Each of these three examples is different, of course. Klein’s Leap was an event that actually took place but was subsequently falsified in the darkroom. The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper is similar in the sense that it was pieced together in the recording studio in such a way that none of the songs was ever performed from start to finish as we hear them on the album. However, the Beatles did not falsify the evidence of what had happened in the way Klein did. Although Newman’s performances also exist only in the photographs of them, the photographs themselves are not manipulated like Klein’s, and there is no attempt at falsification. In Newman’s case, the idea of what the performance was arises from the interaction of an image and the textual description of what it represents. See Page Benkowski, “Seeing the Unseen: Reading the Performance Document” (2012), 19–20,, 20. Vito Acconci, Following Piece, 1969, Museum of Modern Art, /148165?locale=en

21. For a discussion of the evidence that Acconci staged the “documentary” photographs of Following Piece, see Martha Buskirk, The Contingent Object of Contemporary Art (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003), 232. 22. David Davies, Philosophy of the Performing Arts (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), 214. 23. Buskirk, Contingent Object, 221. 24. Ibid., 223. 25. Nick Kaye, Site-Specific Art: Performance, Place, and Documentation (London: Routledge, 2000), 218. 26. Davies, Philosophy, 216–17. 27. “Leap into the Void,” Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, MetropolitanPage 113 → Museum of Art, accessed 13 September 2016,

Chapter One 1. Kathy O’Dell, “Displacing the Haptic: Performance Art, the Photographic Document, and the 1970s,” Performance Research 2, no. 1 (1997): 73–74. 2. Henry Sayre, “Burden of Proof: Performance and the Documentation Effect,” in Kunsten a Falle (Lessons in the Art of Falling): Photographs of Norwegian Performance and Process Art, 1966–2009 (Horten, Norway: Preus Museum, National Museum of Photography, 2009), 96–99. 3. Helen Gilbert, “Bodies in Focus: Photography and Performativity in Post-colonial Theatre,” Textual Studies in Canada 10–11 (1998): 18. 4. Jon Erickson, “Goldberg Variations: Performing Distinctions,” PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art 21, no. 3 (1999): 98. 5. Amelia Jones, “вЂPresence’ in Absentia: Experiencing Performance as Documentation,” Art Journal 56, no. 4 (1997): 16. 6. Rebecca Schneider, Performing Remains: Art and War in Times of Theatrical Reenactment (London: Routledge, 2011), 154. 7. Amelia Jones, “Dis/playing the Phallus: Male Artists Perform Their Masculinities,” Art History 17, no. 4 (1994): 554. Jones points out that Klein actually exposed the theatricality of his image by publishing two different versions of it (one with a bicyclist on the street and one without), thus tacitly revealing its constructed nature. 8. Erickson, “Goldberg,” 99. 9. Jones, “Presence,” 13 10. Barbara Bolt, Art beyond Representation: The Performative Power of the Image (London: I. B. Taurus, 2004), 27. 11. Jones, “Dis/playing the Phallus,” 568. 12. Quoted in O’Dell, “Displacing the Haptic,” 76–77. 13. Brian O’Doherty, Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000), 88. 14. O’Dell, “Displacing the Haptic,” 77. 15. Some may take exception to my categorizing Acconci’s work as performance. While it is true that his work from this period is often classified under the rubric of conceptual art (and could also be considered process art), I make no apology for claiming it as performance. I am hardly the only one to do so: O’Dell, for instance, includes Acconci in the category of performance art, without comment. Frazer Ward argues that the categories of performance art and conceptual art should be seen as intertwined and engaged in an ongoing dialogue rather than Page 114 →as distinct (“Some Relations between Conceptual and Performance Art,” Art Journal 56, no. 4 [1997]: 36–40). 16. Vito Acconci, Blinks, 1969,, 17. For a brief discussion of the centrality of predictable failure to Acconci’s work, see Auslander, “Vito Acconci and the Politics of the Body in Postmodern Performance,” in From Acting to Performance: Essays in Modernism and Postmodernism (London: Routledge, 1997), 89–97. 18. J. L. Austin, How to Do Things with Words (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1962), 6. 19. Frazer Ward, “Some Relations,” 40.

20. Richard Bauman, A World of Others’ Words: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Intertexuality (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004), 9. 21. Auslander, “Vito Acconci,” 96. 22. Michael Kirby characterized the trend in many kinds of performance, including happenings and various stripes of experimental theater, as a sort of “de-skilling” (my term) of performance that encompassed an emphasis on everyday behavior, actions anyone can perform, and “the simplification of acting” (“On Acting and Not-Acting,” in Acting Reconsidered: A Theoretical and Practical Guide, ed. Phillip B. Zarrilli, 2nd ed. [London: Routledge, 2002], 50). 23. Marina AbramoviД‡, Seven Easy Pieces, directed by Babette Mangolte (Houston: Microcinema International, 2005), DVD. 24. Marina AbramoviД‡, The Artist Is Present, directed by Matthew Akers (Chicago: Music Box Films, 2012), DVD. 25. David Hart, “Live-Streaming Marina AbramoviД‡: Crazy or Brave?” Inside/Out (Museum of Modern Art), 15 March 2010. 26. Museum of Modern Art, The Artist Is Present: Marina AbramoviД‡, accessed 15 September 2015, 27. This observation is intended only to mark disciplinary differences, not to suggest that the ethnographic bent of at least some versions of performance studies provides a superior perspective on performance than the fine art tradition embedded in art history. 28. To speak of re-creating a performance suggests the reconstruction of an object. By contrast, the term revival, used in English to describe theatrical productions of existing plays, suggests the reawakening of an organic entity rather than the rebuilding of a lost object. 29. For a brief discussion of the idea that recordings constitute the primary experience of music in a mediatized society and that such Page 115 →recordings must be understood as performances in themselves, see Auslander, “Performance Analysis and Popular Music,” Contemporary Theatre Review 14, no. 1 (2004): 5. I am suggesting a similarity between the cultural situation of performance art and that of popular music: that the audience experiences both primarily through documentation, rather than live performance, and that the documents effectively become the performances. 30. Lee B. Brown, “Phonography,” in Aesthetics: A Reader in Philosophy of the Arts, ed. David Goldblatt and Lee B. Brown, 2nd ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005), 214, 216. 31. Brown, “Phonography,” 216. 32. Sayre, “Burden,” 99.

Chapter Two 1. Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” trans. Harry Zohn, in Illuminations, ed. Hannah Arendt (New York: Schocken, 1969), 222. 2. Philip Auslander, Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture, 2nd ed. (New York: Routledge, 2008), 23. 3. Caroline Rye, “Incorporating Practice: A Multi-viewpoint Approach to Performance Documentation, ” 2003, Practice as Research in Performance: 2001–2006, Department of Theatre, Film, Television, University of Bristol, 4. Amelia Jones, “вЂPresence’ in Absentia: Experiencing Performance as Documentation,” Art Journal 56, no. 4 (1997): 13. 5. Theresa Smalec, “Not What It Seems: The Politics of Re-performing Vito Acconci’s Seedbed (1972),” Postmodern Culture 17, no. 1 (2006): para. 3, /issue.906/17.1smalec.txt 6. Matthew Reason, Documentation, Disappearance, and the Representation of Live Performance (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), 3. 7. Jones, “Presence,” 11. 8. Philip Auslander, “Performance Analysis and Popular Music: A Manifesto,” Contemporary

Theatre Review 14, no. 1 (2004): 5. 9. Benjamin, “Work of Art,” 220–21. 10. Ibid., 221. 11. Charlie Bertsch, “The Aura and Its Simulacral Double: Reconsidering Walter Benjamin’s вЂThe Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,’” Critical Sense 4, no. 2 (1996): 13. 12. Joseph Grigely, Textualterity: Art, Theory, and Textual Criticism (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1995), 109. Page 116 →13. Ibid., 110. 14. Boris Groys, Art Power (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008), 62. 15. Philip Auslander, “Live from Cyberspace; or, I Was Sitting at My Computer This Guy Appeared He Thought I Was a Bot,” Performing Arts Journal 24, no. 1 (2002): 21. 16. Miriam Bratu Hansen, “Benjamin’s Aura,” Critical Inquiry 34 (Winter 2008): 375. 17. Ibid., 343. 18. Ibid., 341. 19. Walter Benjamin, “Little History of Photography,” trans. Edmund Jephcott and Kingsley Shorter, in Selected Writings, vol. 2, 1927–1934, ed. Michael W. Jennings, Howard Eiland, and Gary Smith (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1999), 510. 20. Ibid. 21. Hansen, “Benjamin’s Aura,” 341. 22. Quoted in Pil Kollectiv and Galia Kollectiv, “RETRO/NECRO: From beyond the Grave of the Politics of Re-enactment,” Art Papers 31, no. 6 (2007), 20feature/reenactment/retro-necro.htm 23. Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method, trans. J. Weinsheimer and D. G. Marshall, 2nd ed. (New York: Continuum, 1989), 327. 24. Ibid., 296. 25. Ibid., 388. 26. Ibid., 296. 27. Ibid., 328. 28. Ibid., 309. 29. Ibid., 388. 30. Ibid., 328. 31. Joel C. Weinsheimer, Gadamer’s Hermeneutics (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985), 173; emphasis in the original. 32. Kaja Silverman, The Threshold of the Visible World (New York: Routledge, 1996), 94. 33. Gadamer, Truth, 290. 34. Ibid., 306. 35. Lee B. Brown argues that the repetitious experience offered by recordings must lead to boredom on the part of the listener, in “Phonography, Repetition, and Spontaneity,” Philosophy and Literature 24 (2000): 111–25. I take issue with that position (on grounds very different from those discussed here) in “Jazz Improvisation as a Social Arrangement,” in Taking It to the Bridge: Music as Performance, ed. Nicholas Cook and Richard Pettengill (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2013), 52–69. Page 117 →36. Benjamin, “Work of Art,” 221. 37. Gadamer, Truth, 306. 38. Holland Cotter, “Performance Art Preserved, in the Flesh,” New York Times, 12 March 2010, 39. Gadamer, Truth, 300. 40. Ibid., 123–24. 41. Brian O’Doherty, Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000), 88. 42. Gadamer, Truth, 298. 43. Ibid. 44. Ibid., 133–34. 45. David Buckingham, Media Education: Literacy, Learning, and Contemporary Culture (Cambridge:

Polity Press, 2003), 3; emphasis in the original. 46. Barbara BorДЌiД‡, “Performance Art and Its Relation to Archiving,” Gateway to Archives of Media Art, /Guided_tour_:_Performance_Art_and_its_Relation_to_Archiving 47. Gadamer, Truth, 285. 48. Amelia Jones, “вЂThe Artist Is Present’: Artistic Re-enactments and the Impossibility of Presence,” TDR 55, no. 1 (2011): 25. 49. Babette Mangolte, “Looking and Touching,”, accessed 16 September 2016,

Chapter Three 1. Vito Acconci, Trademarks, 1970, Collections, Walker Art Center, /artworks/trademarks 2. Kirby’s work on the historical avant-garde lies outside the scope of the present discussion. One of his major contributions was Futurist Performance (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1971). That study of performances created by Italian Futurists is continuous with his work on the documentation of contemporary performance in that it is primarily an anthology of scripts, manifestos, and photographs rather than a critical history. 3. For a fuller version of Kirby’s comparison between art and science, see his The Art of Time: Essays on the Avant-garde (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1969), 55–58. Kirby did not intend as a value judgment his claim that only the new can be significant. For one thing, he argued, “the new is not good merely because it is new” (ibid., 42). For Kirby, Page 118 →newness was a condition that was necessary for significance but not sufficient for it. For another thing, he characterized the significance of art as objective because it is based in cultural consensus, not individual evaluation: “Shakespeare and Picasso are great, whether or not I care for them” (ibid., 58). 4. Michael Kirby, preface to The New Theatre: Performance Documentation, ed. Michael Kirby (New York: New York University Press, 1974), unpaginated. 5. Michael Kirby, “A Welcome,” The Drama Review 15, no. 3 (1971): 6. 6. Kirby, preface. 7. Claes Oldenburg, Store Days: Documents from “The Store” (1961) and “Ray Gun Theater” (1962) (New York: Something Else Press, 1967), 79. 8. Ibid. 9. Michael Kirby, “Documentation, Criticism, and History,” The Drama Review 15, no. 4 (1971): 3. 10. Ibid., 4. 11. Michael Kirby, “Criticism: Four Faults,” The Drama Review 18, no. 3 (1974): 66. 12. Kirby (ibid., 66–68) takes up the question of how writers may avoid value-laden language in the service of objective description. 13. Caroline Rye, “Incorporating Practice: A Multi-viewpoint Approach to Documentation,” 2003, Practice as Research in Performance: 2001–2006, Department of Theatre, Film, Television, University of Bristol, 14. Matthew Reason, Documentation, Disappearance, and the Representation of Live Performance (Houndmills, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), 24. 15. Martin Puchner, “Entanglements: The Histories of TDR,” TDR: The Journal of Performance Studies 50, no. 6 (2006): 18; see 15–18 for a discussion of Kirby’s editorship of TDR, which lasted from 1971 to 1985. 16. Kirby, “Documentation,” 5 17. Kirby, “Criticism: Four Faults,” 65. 18. Ibid., 65–66. 19. Susan Sontag, “Against Interpretation,” in Against Interpretation, and Other Essays (New York: Dell, 1969), 17. 20. Ibid., 19.

21. Kirby, Art of Time, 23. 22. Reason (Documentation, 197) was first to note the connection between Kirby and Sontag. 23. Sontag, “Against Interpretation,” 22. 24. Ibid., 23 Page 119 →25. Kirby and Meyer traveled in some of the same circles. Like Kirby, Meyer was a sculptor who taught at a university in New York. Their work was shown together on at least one occasion, in a 1967 exhibition titled Schemata 7 at the Finch College Museum of Art. They also shared a publisher: E. P. Dutton published Kirby’s Happenings and his essay collection The Art of Time, as well as Meyer’s anthology and a host of other books chronicling the art and performance of the era. 26. Ursula Meyer, introduction to Conceptual Art, ed. Ursula Meyer (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1972), viii. 27. In Meyer’s anthology, conceptual art that consists of information about art includes, among other examples, essays on conceptual art by Terry Atkinson and by Ian Burn and Mel Ramsden, presented as works of conceptual art in themselves; John Baldessari’s painting A Work with One Property (1966–67); and Douglas Huebler’s immaterial works whose existence can be deduced only from their documentation. 28. Kirby, preface. 29. Roland Barthes, “The Photographic Message,” in Image/Music/Text, trans. Stephen Heath (New York: Hill and Wang, 1978), 19. See also Anne Marsh, The Darkroom: Photography and the Theatre of Desire (Melbourne, Australia: MacMillan, 2003), 93–98. 30. Ronald Argelander, “Photo-Documentation (and an Interview with Peter Moore),” The Drama Review 18, no. 3 (1974): 51–52. 31. Ibid., 54. 32. Ibid., 51. 33. Ibid., 52. 34. Ibid., 56. 35. Ibid., 57–58. 36. Babette Mangolte, “Balancing Act between Instinct and Reason; or, How to Organize Volumes on a Flat Surface in Shooting Photographs, Films, and Videos of Performance,” in After the Act: The (Re)Presentation of Performance Art, ed. Barbara Clausen (Vienna: Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, 2007), 35. 37. Ibid., 36–37. 38. Ibid., 38. 39. Kirby, preface. 40. Kirby’s emphasis on written description as the primary means of performance documentation provides a context for considering the work of Tino Sehgal. As has frequently been noted, Sehgal seeks to make art without producing any physical artifact of the events that he stages in galleries and museums, as a gesture against what he sees as the excessive proliferation of objects in the world. A review of his 2005 performance of This Objective of That Object at the Institute of Page 120 →Contemporary Arts in London notes, “The space contained only actors, and the work is not documented in any way,” because Sehgal forbade its audiovisual reproduction (Catherine Wood, “Tino Sehgal,” Frieze 91 [May 2005], Sehgal does not discourage people from writing about his work, however; in fact, it is surely intended to generate critical discourse. The claim that his work “is not documented in any way” is therefore false: the review containing the preceding quote documents the performance by describing it and makes the work available to someone (such as myself, in this case) who has not experienced it. Seen through the lens of the history of performance documentation, Sehgal’s work reveals that we have become so used to the idea that performance documentation is visual in nature—and, as a consequence, to neglecting “the presentational qualities of writing” (Reason, Documentation, 183)—that we blithely consider a work to be undocumented because there are no pictures of it, even when there are copious written descriptions. Ironically, because Sehgal explicitly prohibits selfconscious documentation, the critic, whom Kirby so detested, tacitly assumes the task of documenting Sehgal’s work. 41. Adrian George, “Art, Lies, and Videotape: Exposing Performance,” in Art, Lies, and Videotape: Exposing Performance, ed. Adrian George (Liverpool: Tate Liverpool, 2003), 14; Reason, Documentation,

6. 42. Mangolte, “Balancing Act,” 43. 43. Ibid. Some conceptual and performance artists using film have echoed Mangolte’s perception of the medium. Meyer (Conceptual Art, xiii) notes, “Film as a medium does not hold the same interest for Conceptual Artists as it does for filmmakers. Said Acconci: вЂMost of us are not interested in film as film. I personally do not care for setting up scenes and editing.’” 44. Mangolte, “Balancing Act,” 44–45. 45. Babette Mangolte, “Installations,”, accessed 16 September 2016, 46. David Mayer, “вЂQuote the Words to Prompt the Attitudes’: The Victorian Performer, the Photographer, and the Photograph,” Theatre Survey 43, no. 2 (2002): 227. 47. Ibid., 231. 48. Argelander, “Photo-Documentation,” 54. 49. “Morgan, Barbara,” Permanent Collection, Museum of Contemporary Photography, 50. Quoted in Curtis Carter, review of reissue of Martha Graham: Page 121 →Sixteen Dances in Photographs, by Barbara Morgan, Dance Dimensions 8, nos. 1–2 (1981): 41. 51. Natalie Crohn Schmitt, “Recording the Theatre in Photographs,” Theatre Journal 28, no. 3 (1976): 377. 52. Ibid. 53. Ibid., 378, 382. 54. Ibid., 381. 55. John R. Searle, “A Taxonomy of Illocutionary Acts,” in Language, Mind, and Knowledge, ed. Keith GГјnderson (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1975), 346. 56. Kira Hall, “Performativity,” Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 91, nos. 1–2 (2000): 185. 57. Searle, “Taxonomy,” 359–60. 58. Puchner, “Entanglements,” 16.

Conclusion 1. For a brief discussion of the circulation of images of Schneemann’s performance and their role in subsequent performances of the work, see Philip Auslander, “The Fame: Performance Art and Celebrity Culture,” Dissect Journal 3 (2016): 47–48. 2. Bryan Appleyard, “Karaoke Comes to the City of London,” Sunday Times, 8 December 1991, available at 3. Kiri Miller, Playing Along: Digital Games, YouTube, and Virtual Performance (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 49. 4. Mechtild Widrich, “Is the вЂRe’ in Re-enactment the Same as the вЂRe’ in Reperformance?” in Performing the Sentence: Research and Teaching in the Performative Fine Arts, ed. Carola Dertnig and Felicitas Thun-Hohenstein, Publication Series of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna 13 (Vienna: Sternberg Press, 2014), 140. 5. See Toru Mitsui and Shuhei Hosokawa, introduction to Karaoke around the World: Global Technology, Local Singing, ed. Toru Mitsui and Shuhei Hosokawa (London: Routledge, 1998), 1–26; Johan FornГ¤s, “Filling Voids along the Byway: Identification and Interpretation in the Swedish Forms of Karaoke,” in Mitsui and Hosokawa, Karaoke around the World, 115–31. 6. William H. Kelly, “The Adaptability of Karaoke in the United Kingdom,” in Mitsui and Hosokawa, Karaoke around the World, 87. 7. Rob Drew, “вЂScenes’: Dimensions of Karaoke in the United States,” in Music Scenes: Local, Translocal, and Virtual, ed. Andy Bennett and Richard A. Peterson (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2004), 72. Page 122 →8. Rebecca Schneider, Performing Remains: Art and War in Times of Theatrical Reenactment (London: Routledge, 2011), 9.

9. Ibid., 92. 10. Ibid., 10. 11. Widrich, “вЂRe’ in вЂRe-enactment,’” 142. 12. Gadamer would argue, of course, that no work of art is independent of time. In Gadamer’s terms, to make a historic performance work seem so through re-performance is actually to show that it can be grasped as contemporaneous in relation to the current horizon even though it originated against a different one. 13. Marina AbramoviД‡, The Artist Is Present, directed by Matthew Akers (Chicago: Music Box Films, 2012), DVD. 14. Sven LГјtticken, introduction to Life, Once More: Forms of Reenactment in Contemporary Art, ed. Sven LГјtticken (Rotterdam: Witte de With, 2005), 5. 15. Man in the Moon, directed by Milos Forman (1999; Universal City, CA: Universal Studios Home Entertainment, 2000), DVD. 16. I have argued that Kaufman’s performance work has affinities with conceptual art. See Philip Auslander, Presence and Resistance: Postmodernism and Cultural Politics in Contemporary American Performance (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1992), 139–55. 17. Bill Zehme, Lost in the Funhouse: The Life and Mind of Andy Kaufman (New York: Delta, 2001), 156–57. 18. Sara Freeman, “Sara Freeman Performing Andy Kaufman’s Mighty Mouse Skit from SNL,” YouTube, 9 March 2013,

Page 123 →

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Index Note: Page numbers in italics refer to illustrations. 18 Happenings in 6 Parts (Kaprow), 60–61, 61 Abramović, Marina: The Artist Is Present, 34–35, 35, 60, 102–4, 103; Entering the Other Side, 34, 34; Seven Easy Pieces, 23, 33–34, 34, 42–43 Acconci, Vito, 36, 80, 120n43; Blinks, 29, 29–33; Following Piece, 10, 10–15; Seedbed, 34, 42; Trademarks, 70, 70–71 accuracy, 99. See also fidelity acting, 105, 114n22 Action Pants (Export), 34 Adamson, Robert, 51 “Against Interpretation” (Sontag), 79–80 air guitar, 19, 99 Akers, Matthew, 34 Alice in Wonderland: The Forming of a Company and the Making of a Play (1973), 92 Alÿs, Francis, Patriotic Tales, 12, 14 amateur reenactors, 99–100, 104 American Idol (television show), 100 Arbus, Doon, 92 archive, 1–3, 96, 101, 106 The Archive and the Repertoire (Taylor), 1–3 Argelander, Ronald, 73, 81–83, 89, 93–94 Art, Lies, and Videotape (Tate Liverpool exhibition), 87 The Artist Is Present (Abramović), 34–35, 35, 60, 102–4, 103 The Art of Time (Kirby), 74 Atkinson, Terry, 119n27 At the Five Spot (Dolphy), 49, 55 audience: documentation of, 33–37; initial presence of, 4–5, 28, 36–40; responsibility to, 32–33. See also beholder; future audiences; spectators

audiovisual documentation, 24, 85–86, 97, 120n40. See also film; video aura, 46–48, 50, 57–58 Austin, J. L., 31, 69, 89 authenticity, 10–16, 37–40, 46, 59, 102 authority, 46, 95–96 avant-garde, 73–75; gesture, 27–28. See also New York art scene Avedon, Richard, 92–93 Page 132 →Baldessari, John, 119n27 Barney, Matthew, Cremaster, 24, 26 Barthes, Roland, 23, 81 Bauman, Richard, 31–32 Beatles, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, 9, 38, 112n19 beholder, 46, 57; as performer, 98–108; phenomenological relationship between document and, 15–16, 39, 43–44, 97–99. See also audience; spectators Benjamin, Walter, 5, 16–19, 41, 56–59, 63, 66, 97–98; “Little History of Photography,” 50; “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” 17, 45–50 Bertsch, Charlie, 47 bias, 78, 82 binary distinctions, 2–3, 8 Blinks (Acconci), 29, 29–33 BMW Tate Live Performance Room, Tate Modern (London), 2 body art, 21–23, 26–28, 32, 70–71 Bolt, Barbara, 26 Bonner, Matt, 105 BorДЌiД‡, Barbara, 63 boredom, 27, 59, 116n35 Brown, Lee B., 38, 116n35 Brown, Trisha, 83; Roof Piece, 87, 88 Burden, Chris, Shoot, 21, 22, 27–28, 36–37, 39, 46 Burn, Ian, 119n27

Buskirk, Martha, 11–12, 15 Butler, Judith, 101 Cage, John, 74 Carrey, Jim, 105 Civil War reenactments, 101–2, 108 commercial art, 6, 75 conceptual art, 72, 80–81, 113n15, 119n27, 122n16 Conceptual Art (Meyer), 80–81 contemporaneity, 61–64, 66, 98, 122n12 content, 2–3, 12, 15, 30, 80 corporeal reactivation, 98–99, 104 Cotter, Holland, 60 The Country Girl, Novelty Theater, 90 Cremaster (Barney), 24, 26 Crewdson, Gregory, 24 criticism, 18, 78–80, 82 “Criticism: Four Faults” (Kirby), 78 Cunningham, Merce, 74 Dark Star Orchestra, 101 Davies, David, 10–15 Dickinson, Rod, 53–54; The Milgram Re-enactment, 54 Dionysus in 69 (1970), 91–92 documentary (category), 9–10, 12, 21–36, 39, 43, 89 documentary recordings, 38–39 Dolphy, Eric, At the Five Spot, 49, 55 Drama Review. See TDR (journal) drawings, 26–27, 111n12 Drew, Rob, 100 Duchamp, Marcel, 24

Eberstadt, Frederick, 92 Elizabeth (Johnstone) Hall, The Beauty of Newhaven (Hill and Adamson), 51 Entering the Other Side (AbramoviД‡), 34, 34 ephemerality, 1–4, 74, 77–79 Erickson, Jon, 23, 26 ethnographic tradition, of documentation, 36, 114n27 Page 133 →evaluation, 32, 33, 36, 77–79, 118n3. See also interpretation Export, Vallie, Action Pants, 34 fidelity, 11, 99, 102 film, 6, 7, 85–87, 120n43 fine-art tradition, of reproduction, 36 Fluxus events, 81 Following Piece (Acconci), 10, 10–15 form, 2, 80 Forman, MiloЕЎ, 105 Forsythe, William, 23 Freeman, Sara, 106–7, 107 fusion of horizons, 58–59, 65–66 future audiences, 9, 16–18, 28, 53, 76–78, 85, 87, 94, 96, 101. See also temporal complexities Futurist Performance (Kirby), 117n2 Gadamer, Hans-Georg, 16–17, 19, 55–67, 78, 98, 122n12; Truth and Method, 45, 55 George, Adrian, 86 Gilbert, Helen, 23 Goldberg, Roselee, Performance, 26 Graham, Dan, 80 Graham, Martha, 91–94, 92 Grateful Dead, 101 Greenfield, Lois, 8 Grigely, Joseph, Textualterity, 48

Grotowski, Jerzy, 23 Groys, Boris, 48 Guitar Hero (video game), 19, 99 Hall, Kira, 95 Hansen, Miriam Bratu, 50, 53 happenings, 72, 74, 81, 114n22 Happenings (Kirby), 73–75, 80 hermeneutic phenomenology, 17, 55, 64–65, 98; hermeneutic conversation, 57, 60, 62 Hill, David Octavius, 50, 51 historical context, 44–45, 49–50, 59–61, 66–67 historical testimony, 46, 49 historical “truth,” 43, 63 horizons, 17, 55–62, 66–67, 122n12; fusion of, 58–59, 65–66 Huebler, Douglas, 119n27 iconic images, 21, 37, 83, 84 illocutionary speech acts, 18; taxonomy of, 95–96 incompleteness, 22, 63–65 Interior Scroll (Schneemann), 83, 84, 98 interpretation, 36, 62–64, 78–80, 87. See also evaluation Italian Futurists, 117n2 Jones, Amelia, 23, 26–27, 43, 64, 113n7 Judson Dance Theater, 72, 81 Kant, Immanuel, 64 Kaprow, Alan, 73; 18 Happenings in 6 Parts, 60–61, 61 karaoke, 19, 99–102, 107–8 Kaufman, Andy, 122n16; Mighty Mouse performance on Saturday Night Live, 105–7, 107 Kaye, Nick, 12 Kelly, William H., 100 Kirby, Michael, 18–19, 73–83, 85, 87, 94–96, 114n22, 117n3, 118n12, 119n25; The Art of Time, 74; “Criticism: Four Faults,” 78; Futurist Performance, 117n2; Happenings, 73–75, 80

Klein, Yves, Leap into the Void, 9, 12–15, 13, 21, 24, 37–39, 44–45, 112n19, 113n7 Page 134 →Latour, Bruno, 26–27 Leap into the Void (Klein), 9, 12–15, 13, 21, 24, 37–39, 44–45, 112n19, 113n7 Lee, Nikki, 24 “Little History of Photography” (Benjamin), 50 live events: audience, 4–5, 28, 36–40 (see also audience); documentation of (see performance documentation); ephemerality of, 1–4, 74, 77–79; as privileged experience, 4–6, 16, 28, 42–43 Liveness (Auslander), 2, 6, 41, 111n12 Living Theatre, 72 Longo, Robert, 26 Looking and Touching (Mangolte), 65, 66 LГјtticken, Sven, 104 mainstream performance, 75 Mangolte, Babette, 18, 33, 73, 81, 83, 85–88, 93–96, 120n43; Looking and Touching, 65, 66; Trisha Brown, “Roof Piece”, 87, 88; While Bodies Get Mirrored, 65 Man in the Moon (1999), 105 Mantegna, Gianfranco, 92 Martha Graham (Morgan), 91, 92, 93–94 Mayer, David, 89, 91, 93 McCall, Anthony, 83, 84 McElroy, Robert, 75 meanings, 4, 55–56, 60, 63 Meyer, Ursula, 73, 119n25; Conceptual Art, 80–81 Mighty Mouse (Kaufman), 105–7, 107 Milgram, Stanley, 54 The Milgram Re-enactment (Dickinson), 54 minimalism, 72 Moore, Barbara, 83 Moore, Peter, 18, 36, 73, 81–83, 85, 93–95 Morgan, Barbara, Martha Graham, 91, 92, 93–94

Morris, Robert, Site, 44, 44, 83 Murch, Walter, 8 Museum of Modern Art, 35, 102, 103 musical performances, recorded. See recorded music musical video games, 19, 99 Nauman, Bruce, 80 neutrality, 64 Newman, Haley, 9, 112n19 newness, 73, 117n3 New York art scene, 18, 44, 49, 65, 72–81, 85, 91–96 normative experience, mediatized performance as, 41–42, 114n29 notation, 12 objectivity, 57, 63, 65–66, 77–87, 95, 118n12 O’Dell, Kathy, 21–22, 28, 113n15 O’Doherty, Brian, 27–28, 62 Oldenburg, Claes, 75–76; The Store, 75; Store Days, 75–76 online streaming, 2–3 ontological relationship between performance and document, 15–16, 22–24, 26, 30, 39, 87, 97 Open Theater, 72 Oppenheim, Dennis, 80 original, 45–50, 56; filtered view of, 63–64, 77; status of, 56–57; transparent access to, 63, 78, 94 Page 135 →painting, 52, 111n12 Pane, Gina, 27–28, 36 Paradise Now (1971), 92 past, 17, 52–54, 59, 60–61, 66–67, 102. See also temporal complexities Patriotic Tales (AlГїs), 12, 14 performance: autonomous existence of, 24, 26, 28, 31, 56, 69; defined, 31–32; ephemerality of, 1–4, 74, 77–79; as mediation, 56; mediatized version as normative experience, 41–42, 114n29; virtuosity of, 32 Performance (Goldberg), 26 performance art, 5–6, 113n15; documentation of (see performance documentation). See also New York art

scene; individual artists performance art reenactment, 42–43, 60–61, 101–4 performance documentation, 1–9; best practices, 7; categories of, 9 (see also documentary; theatrical); defined, 6; ethnographic tradition, 36, 114n27; fine-art tradition, 36; history of, 18, 72–88, 120n40; need for, 74–75, 85; as performance, 5, 40, 43–44, 69–71, 97 (see also performativity); pragmatic considerations, 5, 7; purpose of, 35–36; temporality, 9, 16–17, 45, 53–54, 101. See also ontological relationship between performance and document; phenomenological relationship between document and beholder Performance Group, 72 performativity, 31, 37, 42, 69–73, 89, 94–95, 97 performed photography, 24, 26, 37–38 phenomenological relationship between document and beholder, 15–16, 39, 43–44, 97–99 phonography, 38 photo-documentation, 81–83, 88, 93, 95 photographs: iconic images, 21, 37, 83, 84; manipulation of, 12–14 (see also authenticity); as objective, 81, 86 (see also objectivity); reality of performance and, 23–24; “spark of contingency,” 17, 52–53; still, 6–9, 86. See also theater photography pop art, 72 portraits, 89, 93 present, 8–9, 17, 49, 52–54, 59–61, 66–67, 101–2. See also temporal complexities Price, Seth, 30 process art, 72, 113n15 production technologies, 49 Puchner, Martin, 78, 96 Rainer, Yvonne, 83 Ramsden, Mel, 119n27 Ray Gun Theater, 75 reactivation, 5, 17–19, 45–54, 58–59, 63, 67, 97–98, 108; corporeal, 98–99, 104 Reason, Matthew, 43, 77, 86, 118n22 reception, 48. See also phenomenological relationship between document and beholder recorded music, 38–39, 43, 98, 114n29 recordings, 1–3, 6–7, 59, 116n35 Page 136 →reenactment, 18–19, 98–108; of performance art, 42–43, 60–61, 101–4

repertoire, 1–3, 101, 106 repetition, 4, 100, 116n35 reproduction, 1, 4–5; Benjamin on, 45–50, 56–57, 59, 66, 97–98; technologies of, 49; as transparent access to original, 63, 78, 94 revival productions, 114n28 Rock Band (video game), 99 Roof Piece (Brown), 87, 88 Rye, Caroline, 42, 77 Saroff, Raymond, 75 Saturday Night Live, 105–7, 107 Sayre, Henry, 5, 39 Schechner, Richard, 101 Schmitt, Natalie Crohn, 92–94 Schneemann, Carolee: Interior Scroll, 83, 84, 98; Site, 44, 44, 83 Schneider, Rebecca, 3–4, 8, 24, 101, 104 Searle, John R., 95 Seedbed (Acconci), 34, 42 Sehgal, Tino, This Objective of That Object, 119n40 selectivity, 22, 63–64, 77 sense perception, 41 Seven Easy Pieces (Abramović), 23, 33–34, 34, 42–43 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Beatles), 9, 38, 112n19 Sherman, Cindy, 24–26, 36, 39; Untitled #199, 25 Shoot (Burden), 21, 22, 27–28, 36–37, 39, 46 significance, 96 Silverman, Kaja, 58 Sinatra, Frank, 38–39 Site (Morris and Schneemann), 44, 44, 83 Slater, Don, 23, 28 Smalec, Theresa, 42

Sontag, Susan, “Against Interpretation,” 79–80 Sony Portapak, 85 spectators, 36, 53–55, 82, 98–99, 103–4. See also audience; beholder speech act theory, 18, 94–96 spontaneity, 86, 94, 103, 116n35 stand-up comedy, 105 still images, 6–9, 86 The Store (Oldenburg), 75 Store Days (Oldenburg), 75–76 studio images, 89–91, 90, 93 subjectivity, 64–65, 81, 94 surrogate performances, 76–77, 82, 87 Tate Liverpool, 87 Tate Modern, BMW Tate Live Performance Room (London), 2 Taylor, Diana, 1–3 TDR (journal), 74–75, 78, 81, 95–96 temporal complexities, 9, 16–17, 45, 53–54, 101. See also future audiences; past; present Textualterity (Grigely), 48 Tharp, Twyla, 86 theater history, 5 theater photography, 18, 73, 88–94, 90 theatrical (category), 9–10, 12, 21, 24–33, 39, 89 This Objective of That Object (Sehgal), 119n40 Page 137 →time-based media, 7–8 Trademarks (Acconci), 70, 70–71 Trisha Brown, “Roof Piece” (Mangolte), 87, 88 truth, 39, 65, 91; historical, 43, 63 Truth and Method (Gadamer), 45, 55 underground theater, 72, 91–94

understanding, 17, 56–57, 62–63 Untitled #199 (Sherman), 25 utterances: constative, 31, 69; performative, 31, 69, 89, 95. See also performativity Vaughn, Kate, 90 video, 2, 6–7, 63, 85–87 video games, 19, 99 virtuosity, 32 Waldman, Max, 92–94 Waldman on Theatre (1971), 92 Ward, Frazer, 4–5, 31, 113n15 Ward, Koral, 8–9 Weinsheimer, Joel C., 57 While Bodies Get Mirrored (Mangolte), 65 Widrich, Mechtild, 99, 102, 104, 105 Wooster Group, 2004 Poor Theater, 23 “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (Benjamin), 17, 45–50 written documentation of performances, 6, 71–73, 85, 111n12, 119n40 Zehme, Bill, 105