Performance and Documentation



Historically, what remains of performance art are documents and anecdotes. While the anecdote ends up as lore and possibly lives on in an art history text, the document has taken on a hotly contested function in recent years as photographs of seminal performances have become valuable objects and in some instances come to stand for the original performances themselves. How does the relationship between the document and the performance change when performances take place in virtual spaces, or are streamed live on the web? How does this blur the line between a performance and its documentation? For the month of October, Vancouver, British Columbia is host to the LIVE Performance Art Biennale--a series of performances, panels, and exhibitions over multiple weeks on multiple sites. Almost all of the activities are being documented and updated constantly, online, in the form of text, photographs, and video--eliminating a degree of distance that has normally existed between the event and its trace. The document is a key element in Friday's 'The Great Learning,' in which Michael Morris and Vincent Trasov reanimate the documents of their past performances, and on Tuesday October 23rd this increasing simultaneity of performance and document will be explored in 'Bodies