In Terms of Performance, A Keywords Anthology

Curating. Duration. Live. Participation. Score. Spectator. How we understand the terms of practice across artistic disciplines can diverge greatly. As practitioners and curators increasingly cross artistic boundaries and borrow among disciplines, the web-based publication In Terms of Performance—produced by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and the University of California, Berkeley—provokes dialogue, debate, and discovery in an anthology of keywords designed to generate shared literacies.

Contributors such as Sabine Breitwieser, RoseLee Goldberg, Ralph Lemon, Richard Maxwell, and Catherine Wood share their perspectives from distinct points of departure, with entries that contemplate the relations among visual art, theatrical, choreographic, and performance art practices; the poetry of miscommunication; and the stakes of differing literacies in our current context of hybrid cultural production.

From March 6 through May 8, 2018, the publication was reimagined as an installation at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). In Terms of Performance at BAM transformed the web-based publication into a physical exhibition through interactive displays, text, video, and selected materials from the BAM Hamm Archives that illuminated and extended key points from the anthology’s web of reference. The exhibition was designed by Andrew LeClair, who also designed the publication website.

The anthology is augmented by a series of extended interviews with leading figures in art and performance, including Tim Griffin of the Kitchen, New York; MoMA’s Kathy Halbreich; choreographer and curator Ishmael Houston-Jones; artist William Kentridge; experimental playwright Young Jean Lee; and dancer and choreographer Yvonne Rainer.

As a free online resource, In Terms of Performance is non-linear and richly cross-listed, enabling an unstructured browsing experience in which terms, contributors, and artworks connect intricately in a true web of reference—while inviting new entries to be added in the future. It also allows users to create their own PDF publications, customized to their interests.

The publication, which launched in December 2016, is coedited by Shannon Jackson, the Cyrus and Michelle Hadidi Chair in the Humanities at the University of California, Berkeley, and Paula Marincola, Executive Director of  The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Philadelphia.

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