Colloquium 2021

PERFORMANCE: THE ETHICS AND THE POLITICS OF CARE

1. Mapping the Field

May 29–30, 2021

Download the program here.

This event aims at advancing the knowledge on this topic within the discipline of conservation on the one hand, while, on the other, locating the discourse of conservation within a broader field of the humanities disciplines concerned with the theories and practices of performance— performance studies, anthropology, art history, curatorial studies, heritage studies and museology. We propose to contest the common-sense understanding of performance as a non-conservable form and ask questions concerning how, and to what extent, performance art and performance-based works can be conserved.

Keynote talks were presented by Rebecca Schneider (Brown University) , Pip Laurenson (Tate and Maastricht University), Gabriella Giannachi (University of Exeter), and Barbara Büscher (University of Music and Theatre Leipzig).

The colloquium featured two performance interludes by artists Frieder Butzmann and Gisela Hochuli.


This colloquium is a part of the ongoing research project Performance: Conservation, Materiality, Knowledge funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation at Bern University of the Arts. The project focuses on the questions of conservation of performance-based works, their temporal specifics, the involvement of the human and non-human body, the world of their extended trace history, memory, and archive. Explored are notions of care, the ideals of traditional conservation and their relations to tacit or explicit knowledge, skill and technique. Taking as a starting point the necessity for conservators to access and deepen this area of study, and unlike queries that situate these questions within other disciples, in this project, we approach performance as a necessarily conservable form.