Joshua Sofaer

Publications

The Performance Pack

The Performance Pack

London: LADA & Tate, 2004 ISBN 0-9546040-1-6

Launch Events:
Tate Modern, London, 2nd October 2004
Bluecoat, Liverpool, 23rd October 2004
Project Arts, Dublin, 25th November 2004
ESBA, Geneva, 2nd December 2004
ANTI, Kuopio, 15th September 2005
Alfred ve Dvore , Prague, 5th December 2007

Conceived and created in association with Tate Modern and the Live Art Development Agency, The Performance Pack is a signed and numbered limited edition artwork, a performance enabler, and an educational resource.

Drawing on works which have been informed by performance in Tate’s permanent collection and beyond, The Performance Pack is a ready-made kit containing all the audio-visual material, historical information, key term definitions and props needed to develop a lecture-based performance explaining and exploring the relationship between fine art and performance.

The Performance Pack features the work of Matthew Barney, Joseph Beuys, George Chakravarthi, Robin Deacon, Forced Entertainment, Franko B, Ronald Fraser Monro, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Rebecca Horn, Tehching Hsieh, Zhang Huan, Oleg Kulik, Richard Layzell, Stacy Makishi & Vic Ryder, Piero Manzoni, Howard Matthew, Paul McCarthy, Bruce Nauman, Hayley Newman, Carolee Schneemann, Cindy Sherman.

The Performance Pack is aimed at educationalists, advocates and collectors as an introduction to contemporary performance practices or as part of a wider arts lecture programme.

© Joshua SOFAER August 2004
Developed in association with Tate Modern and the Live Art Development Agency.
Design by Hoop Associates.
Original photography by Manuel Vason.
DVD production by Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy.

With thanks to all the contributing artists; Mark Waugh at Arts Council England; Justin O’Shaughnessy and David Caines at Hoop Associates; Toby Jackson, Sophie Howarth, Gillian Wilson, Andy Dunkley and Mark Heathcote at Tate Modern; James Kent; Manuel Vason and Lisa Cazzato; desperate optimists and Molly Rose Lawlor.

The Performance Pack is financially assisted by Arts Council England.

What is The Performance Pack?
The Performance Pack is a signed and numbered limited edition artwork. It is also an educational tool. It is a box. Inside the box are all the things you need to make The Performance Pack Performance, which is an entertaining lecture about performance, and especially the relationship between performance and fine art.

What is the thinking behind it?

The Performance Pack was commissioned by the Live Art Development Agency in London as a way of developing the legacy from a four-day event called Live Culture. Through performances, exhibitions, talks and discussions at Tate Modern in March 2003, Live Culture celebrated contemporary live art practices within visual culture. The Performance Pack is aimed at young adult and adult audiences, who have an interest in contemporary art and/or theatre but little knowledge of the use of performance within artworks, as an introduction to the sector.

So, how is performance used in artworks?
Well this is the very question that The Performance Pack addresses. Artists who use performance in their work are not necessarily Performance Artists. Many cultural forms, from fashion shows to films, use performance as an element of the work rather than the principle form. The examples included in the pack range from single screen video works, to live performances; from works which happen in theatres, to works which happen in the street.

How do you use it?
All the instructions are included in the script. The format is a lecture-presentation.

What is the structure of The Performance Pack Performance?

The Performance Pack Performance is divided into seven sections each of which deal with a different element in the creation and interpretation of performance based art practice. The sections are:

Section 1 – Artist
Section 2 – Audience
Section 3 – Form
Section 4 – Content
Section 5 – Location
Section 6 – Duration
Section 7 – Documentation

In each section, the key element is explored with reference to works of contemporary art. At the end of each section the audience use the knowledge they have gained during the lecture to help the performer create a hypothetical performance piece, by voting for one of the cards presented to them. This hypothetical performance is called The Performance Pack Performance DIY Performance.

I don’t quite understand that. Can you explain it again?
Yes, it is a bit difficult to communicate. Basically each section of the pack is illustrated by a series of four options depicted on cards: four artists to choose from, four types of audience to choose from, and so on. After they have seen and heard documentation of various artworks, the audience vote for the option they prefer: the artist they prefer, the audience they prefer, and so on. These choices end up as a final series of cards, which the performer then interprets as a hypothetical performance at the end of The Performance Pack Performance.

I think perhaps I have to see that before I understand it completely.
You may well be right. In fact it is quite simple, just difficult to explain.

Who performs The Performance Pack?
There are a number of performance makers who perform The performance pack in galleries, theatres and colleges, including its creator. You could hire one of them to deliver The performance pack Performance, or you could perform it yourself. Perhaps you would like to commission someone to work on translating the pack into another language or an interpreter to work with an English language performer.

How long does the performance last?

The Performance Pack Performance lasts about 1 hour 20 minutes.

What kind of spaces is it performed in?

The Performance Pack Performance can be performed in theatres, galleries, seminar rooms, lecture halls or even a warehouse space. Due to the small nature of the cards and in order to give all audience members clear lines of vision, the ideal audience size would be between 30 and 50 people.

What kind of technical resources are needed?

The Performance Pack has been designed to be almost entirely self-sufficient, but you will still need a DVD player and monitor, or projector and projection screen.

How do I get hold of a copy of The Performance Pack?
There are 175 copies of The Performance Pack in circulation. Most have been sold to libraries, colleges, galleries, collectors, performers and educators. You can buy a copy from the Live Art Development Agency or you can borrow a copy from Tate Modern Education or the Live Art Development Agency Resource Room. If you hire a performer who already has a copy of The Performance Pack then they will bring it with them.

How would The Performance Pack Performance be programmed?
The Performance Pack Performance is ideally suited to contextualise a festival of contemporary performance alongside a programme of live work; it could also be used as a one-off introduction to the field; or as part of a wider seminar, lecture, or workshop programme which deals with contemporary art practices.

How else could it be used?
The Performance Pack can also be collected as an artwork, or used in a variety of educational contexts without necessitating a full performance. Teachers and workshop leaders might for example use the cards or the DVD documentation to supplement their own pedagogic practices.

I want to know more, what can I do?
Well you could buy a copy, or you could borrow one, or you could programme a performance of The Performance Pack into your venue or festival!