workshopping performance series

15 May – 31 May 2008

Chris Brady, Gemma Syme, Hannah Edmunds, Hanne van Beek, Johnathon Titheridge, Shane McGrath, Vivien Atkinson

Anyone who has ever experienced a live piece of performance art is likely to have experienced confused expectations, a sense of embarrassment for the artist and or a desire for something successful to happen. Enjoy's 2008 performance series addresses these issues for both audience and artist.


The relationship between performance art and its audience is one of greater interdependency than any other art medium. Enjoy Curator & Manager Siv B. Fjærestad says; "a background to this project is an assumption that performance has a rather unique quality, it can capitalize on aspects of failure and empathy more than any other art form". Display of a non-live artwork such as a painting or a sculpture can be activated by an audience through their experience of it, but Fjærestad, suggests that "if an exhibited art object is deemed unsuccessful in some way, usually the audience will see it as already failed rather than failing as it unfolds over time in their presence."

Viewing performance as a form of acting or a presentation of something rehearsed, Fjærestad is interested in displaying and making available to the audience the process inherent in producing a performance. Within this notion, she hopes to allow the exposure of potential failure and vulnerability. This in turn can produce reactions from the audience and make visible what produces empathy in the work. Fjærestad says she has several times been audience to a performance where things appear to go wrong. "The immediacy of the present moment and the audience's exposure to a failing and vulnerable subject can produce immense involvement from the audience in terms of sympathy. They may be compelled to help the performer out, and can in fact help create the performance there and then, and turn it into something incredibly effective and even participatory." She recognises that this can be a tactic applied by the performer, where only at the end does the audience realise that by this emotional involvement they have become part of the work, as dictated or influenced by the artist.

The rehearsals and workshops are integral to this series. They are led by and open to other performance art colleagues, workshopping artists and curators, and the public is invited to attend. Fjærestad's intention is that the artist receives feedback and has more opportunities for assessing the success of the performance throughout the making, in a process that recognizes audience participation in performance art.


Curated by Siv B. Fjærestad


Work shopping Perfrom ance

Workshopping Performance documents and expands upon the notions of rehearsal, the workshopping of ideas, and public performance that Enjoy’s 2008 performance series looked to address for both audience and artist.

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Gemma Syme

Gemma Syme


1. VIVIEN ATKINSON examines her fraught position as an artist. Part of her work will be collecting the tape recordings of public responses to the question: "What is an artist and what do they do?" Second, the artist will respond by creating works of art that relate to these public expectations.

2. CHRIS BRADY will work with Wellington chefs to devise a recipe for the perfect multi-bird roast. His "Rôti Sans Pareil - Roast without Equal" is then to be prepared, cooked and eaten.

3. HANNAH L. EDMUNDS' performance is centred on audience participation and the dialogue created within a gallery context. The role of art within its own community and the scene it creates is fundamental to the production of this work.

4. SHANE McGRATH will be drawing from filmic and pop musical notions of emotionally inspired creativity for his work. Karaoke performance will be used in an attempt to make art through suffering.

5. GEMMA SYME asks "How do artists utilize the tropes of the band in their work"? Her participation in the workshop series will culminate in a musical performance by Symes's group Feline Groovy.

6. JOHNATHON TITHERIDGE is a tall man and expresses ideas of physical awkwardness through malfunction and discordance of communication. Titheridge's work discusses the situations that determine and are determined by our awkwardness within them.

7. HANNE VAN BEEK is interested in nature and artificiality, the loss of innocence and her own search back to Eden. Her performance will build on themes of bringing private behaviour into the public realm as part of a painful process. The rehearsal may involve an exceedingly embarrassing suit to wear out in public: "The suit of Eve".

Public performance and rehearsal times:
Saturday 17 May at Enjoy: Rehearsals from 11am including Vivien Atkinson and Hannah L. Edmunds
Wednesday 21 May at Enjoy: Rehearsals from 6pm
Saturday 24 May: Watch out for performances out-and-about after Huddleston's workshop including Gemma Syme and Johnathon Titheridge
Friday 30 May at Enjoy: Drinks (BYO) and performances from 6.30: Feline Groovy and Shane McGrath
Saturday 31 May at Enjoy: Performance from 11am by Chris Brady
Saturday 31 May at Enjoy: An informal discussion from 6pm, then at 7.30pm, the closing event.

Please BYO Workshopping Performance Series Workshops:
These involve artists participating in the series but are also open to the public.
26 April, 3pm with Russell Martin - UK based artist (completed)
15 May, 6pm with Dr David Cross - artist and professor
24 May, 11am with Charlotte Huddleston - Te Papa's Curator of Contemporary Art