Block Universe 2017

It is almost time for Block Universe 2017 performing arts festival to launch and I personally cannot wait. This is Block Universe’s third year on the London arts scene. Their program includes newly commissioned performances as well as talks and workshops taking place around town at renowned institutions such as the Royal Academy of Arts and Somerset House, plus a range of unique locations around town.

I love performance art for a number of reasons. First of all, it is unique. Totally and completely one-off. Sure, you can re-create performances and if you are as iconic as Tino Sehgal you can sell a script to the Guggenheim to keep in their collection. But each time a piece is re-performed, it is destined to be different to the first, second, or third time it has been performed.

Having studied art history for my undergraduate degree and spending time in New York after I graduated, performance art was on always on my radar. I understood the premise of it and of course understood how groundbreaking the performance movement was in the 1970s, but I never felt like I really ~got it~. This all changed though when I saw my favourite performance of all time, Coexisting, by Clark Beaumont. I can’t think about it without getting chills. This work, as part of Kaldor Public Art Projects:27, 13 Rooms, completely captivated me.

 Two people (Sarah Clark & Nicole Beaumont) occupy a plinth that can barely hold the two of them. The figures constantly shift in the struggle to find a comfortable position. The performance calls for negotiation and compromise, vital to the existence of artistic collaboration. The pair were constantly moving and re-positioning themselves on a tiny surface area, and it was utterly captivating. A simple concept that spoke volumes about how we communicate, collaborate, and exactly as the title of the performance states, co-exist.

I couldn’t help it, something in me shifted and I suddenly realised that performance art = life.

Hence why I have already filled my diary with the dates of Block Universe’s programme, which runs from 29 May – 4 June this year.

I am particularly interested in experiencing Shapes of States, performance by Stina Nyberg. This intention of this particular performance is to connect political and historical writing of the body to public health ideals of Sweden in the 1920s. The body is a malleable form – how is it to be sculpted? How do we sculpt it? How do the responses to these questions impact our social identity? Shapes of States aims to consider these themes through dance sequences.


Enter aImages courtesy Block Universe site.
Image credit: Stina Nyberg, Shapes of States, 2016. © José Figueroa


Images courtesy Block Universe site.
Image credit: Stina Nyberg, Shapes of States, 2016. © José Figueroa

Check out the full Block Universe programme online

1 comment
  1. Jennifer D said:

    Insightful perspectives on performance art! Love your writing!


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