Archiving Performance: Between Artistic Poetics and Institutional Policies


University Antwerp – City Campus. Grote Kauwenberg 2
The symposium will take place in auditorium C.204 (9h30-13h) and R.008 (14h30-18h)

16/05/2022, 9h30 - 18h


The symposium is free of charge, but registration is required. You can register here


The symposium will feature a keynote lecture by professor Barbara Clausen (Université du Québec à Montréal), followed by three panel discussions. Each panel is devoted to a specific theme and consists of an artist, a curator, and a theorist. They are invited to take the artist’s performance practice as their starting point to engage in a conversation on some of the most challenging aspects of archiving performance art within the predominant institutional frameworks.


The Politics of Acquiring Performance

When M HKA acquired Katya Ev’s performance Augenmusik (2016), the artist donated a copy of the documentation of the work she performed in Paris at that time, as well as the rights to re-enact the work. For the museum however, the archiving of Augenmusik presented a huge challenge: because the performance is site-specific, has been re-enacted several times, and relates to several props and visual representations the artist labels as “derivative art works”, it was not clear how ‘the’ performance could be isolated from other instantiations of the work. Documentation as well as re-enactment seem to disrupt the traditional division between archive, collection and public presentation, also raising financial and legal issues for institutions aiming to acquire this type of work. How can we re-envision standard institutional infrastructures so that they become more flexible and apt at adapting to the peculiarities of specific artistic practices?


Organized by CKV (Flemish Centre for Art Archives), M HKA (the Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp) in collaboration with the Research Centre for Visual Poetics (Faculty of Arts, University of Antwerp)


Read more here