The moment of exchange : risk, vulnerability, responsibility

Hadley, Bree J., Trace, Genevieve, & Winter, Sarah (2009) The moment of exchange : risk, vulnerability, responsibility. In Australasian Association for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies Conference 2009 : Boom or Bust, 30 June - 3 July 2009, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia. (Unpublished)

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Any cycle of production and exchange – be it economic, cultural or aesthetic – involves an element of risk. It involves uncertainty, unpredictability, and a potential for new insight and innovation (the boom) as well as blockages, crises and breakdown (the bust). In performance, the risks are plentiful – economic, political, social, physical and psychological. The risks people are willing to take depend on their position in the exchange (performer, producer, venue manager or spectator), and their aesthetic preferences. This paper considers the often uncertain, confronting or ‘risky’ moment of exchange between performer, spectator and culture in Live Art practices. Encompassing body art, autobiographical art, site-specific art and other sorts of performative intervention in the public sphere, Live Art eschews the artifice of theatre, breaking down barriers between art and life, artist and spectator, to speak back to the public sphere, and challenge assumptions about bodies, identities, memories, relationships and histories. In the process, Live Art frequently privileges an uncertain, confrontational or ‘risky’ mode of exchange between performer, spectator and culture, as a way of challenging power structures. This paper examines the moment of exchange in terms of risk, vulnerability, responsibility and ethics. Why the romance with ‘risky’ behaviours and exchanges? Who is really taking a risk? What risk? With whose permission (or lack thereof)? What potential does a ‘risky’ exchange hold to destabilise aesthetic, social or political norms? Where lies the fine line between subversive intervention in the public sphere and sheer self-indulgence? What are the social and ethical implications of a moment of exchange that puts bodies, beliefs or social boundaries at ‘risk’? In this paper, these questions are addressed with reference to historical and contemporary practices under the broadly defined banner of Live Art, from the early work of Abrovamic and Burden, through to contemporary Australian practitioners like Fiona McGregor.

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ID Code: 29440
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: No
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Live Art, Spectatorship, Ethics
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > PERFORMING ARTS AND CREATIVE WRITING (190400) > Drama Theatre and Performance Studies (190404)
Divisions: Past > Schools > Drama
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Past > Institutes > Institute for Creative Industries and Innovation
Deposited On: 03 Jan 2010 22:04
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2010 16:55

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