Today, in a time of digitally sharing everything, Performance art seems to have gone through a transformation where it is also being filmed and broadcasted. The question is if this is even performance art anymore, or has it become video art?
Most Performances seem to have gained a different appeal, and are happening in the institutions that were avoided in the beginning of this form of art. The museums peak when a Performance is being held and the Tate has even built a special room for Performance art and a live feed on youtube so the performance can be watched from all over the world, and even after it has finished it can be rewatched until forever. It's right here.
Apart from this development, Popculture is getting it's nose into the performance art business. From Lady Gaga working together with 'queen of performance' Marina Abramović to Shia LaBeouf walking around with a paperbag on his head and plagiarising the same Marina to Jay-Z singing for six hours in a gallery for a music video. (for some strange reason, Abramović seems to be involved with all these people. Coincidence?)
But is Performance art not supposed to be about the moment itself, and the immediate surroundings and audience the artist has to deal with?
What makes (or made) Performance art different from say, theater or video art was that it is a fleeting moment and within a specific place and time where the artist emphasizes the here and now with help of surrounding objects and possibly the audience, who have the opportunity to become a part of the work of art.
For example, and to stay with Marina, who seems to have managed to perform from the beginning of performances up to now, she started with looking for physical limits (see picture above, Rhythm 0, where she recorded the sounds of herself playing the knife game and replaying it and trying to do it again in the same rhythm), and later her performances changed into some kind of meditations and eventually evolved into collabs with popstars. She herself has had massive queues line up for her performances like The artist is present, where visitors could sit opposite the artist for a while and just look at her while she sat across them. What an experience.
I wonder what kind of influence the internet has had in the last 20 years on Performance art, and I wonder if the popularisation of this phenomenon isn't going to be the death of it. Maybe we have to broaden the concept of Performance so this use of video and sharing can be part of it, but in my opinion it has to be experienced directly, so that the emphasis lies on the performance in that specific time and place, and not on the artist as a pop star.
If we look at some people on youtube, the question can be asked if they are also making Performance art, just not in a manner that makes the amounts of money that some well-know artists get payed. Are Flashmobs performance art in this light, or is it all just a way to gather 'likes' and popularity?
I am not completely sure if these broadcasted "performances" are still the same as they were in the beginning of Performance, and it would be interesting to redefine this artform in the digital age.
I want to know what you think, is this guy a performance artist, or just a silly Norwegian?