It Was 40 Years Ago Today

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A research project devoted to uncovering and archiving the history of Performance Art in Wales.

Prosiect ymchwil i ddadorchuddio ac archifo hanes Celf Perfformio yng Nghymru.

Winner of the David Bradby TaPRA Award for Research in International Theatre and Performance 2011.

If you have any information on performance in Wales that could be of use to the project, please get in touch!

Whether you are an artist who has made performance work in Wales, or an audience member who once witnessed a performance (voluntarily or involuntarily!), we would be pleased to hear from you.
Any material will be of interest - from actual pieces of documentation to vague memories of events caught out of the corner of one's eye.
mail@performance-wales.org

Cysylltwch â ni os oes gennych unrhyw wybodaeth am berfformio yng Nghymru a allai fod o ddefnydd i'r prosiect!

Efallai eich bod yn artist sydd wedi gwneud gwaith perfformio yng Nghymru, neu'n aelod o gynulleidfa a welodd berfformiad unwaith (o'ch gwirfodd neu'n anwirfoddol!). Pwy bynnag ydych chi, hoffem glywed gennych.
Bydd unrhyw ddeunydd o ddiddordeb - o ddogfennau gwreiddiol i atgofion amwys am ddigwyddiadau a welwyd o gornel y llygad.
Mae'r manylion cyswllt wedi'u rhestru dan 'Cyswllt' yma, neu gallwch anfon e-bost i'r cyfeiriad hwn: mail@performance-wales.org

Project Director Cyfarwyddwr Prosiect: Heike Roms
Dept Theatre, Film and Television Studies, Aberystwyth University
Adran Astudiaethau Theatr, Ffilm a Theledu Prifysgol

Contact: Professor Heike Roms
Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies
Adran Astudiaethau Theatr, Ffilm a Theledu Prifysgol
Aberystwyth University
Adeilad Parry-Williams Building
Aberystwyth SY23 3AJ,
UK phone ffon: (+44) 1970 - 621911 (direct uniongyrchol) mail@performance-wales.org

Funded by Wedi ei drawsgronni gan:
ARTS AND HUMANITIES RESEARCH COUNCIL (AHRC) (2009-2011)
(CYNGOR YMCHWIL Y CELFYDDYDAU A’R DYNIAETHAU) (2009-2011)
ARTS COUNCIL OF WALES (ACW) (2006-2008)
CYNGOR CELFYDDYDAU CYMRU (CCC) (2006-2008)
SIR DAVID HUGHES PARRY AWARD 2006, 2008
ABERYSTWYTH UNIVERSITY RESEARCH FUND (2007)

AHRC logo and link to website

Aberystwyth University Logo and link to website

Arts Council Wales logo and link to website

National Lottery Logo

Copyright © 2011 All Rights Reserved
Hawlfraint © 2011 Cedwir pob hawl

What's Welsh for Performance? Beth yw 'performance' yn Gymraeg?

An Oral History of Performance Art in Wales - Hanes Llafar Celfyddyd Perfformio yng Nghymru

          

Public Conversations - Cyfweliadau Cyhoeddus (2006-2008)

A two-year series of publicly staged conversations devoted to key artists who have shaped the development of performance art in Wales since 1968. Cyfres o ddigwyddiadau dros ddwy flynedd yn ymwneud ag artistiaid allweddol sydd wedi siapio datblygiad celfyddyd perfformio yng Nghymru ers 1968.

In collaboration with / Mewn cydweithrediad â: SHIFTwork Time Based Art Research Group, Cardiff School of Art and Design.
Funded by / Ariannwyd gan:
The Arts Council of Wales Cyngor Celfyddydau Cymru
With support from / Gyda chefnogaeth: Prifysgol Aberystwyth University; University of Wales Institute, Cardiff - Athrofa Prifysgol Cymru Caerdydd; Chapter and / a Centre for Performance Research.

Image/ Llun: John Chris Jones, Timothy Emlyn Jones, Andrew Knight and/ a Heike Roms, 2006. Photo / Ffoto: Phil Babot.

:interviews/cyfweliadau:publications/cyhoeddiadau

A two-year series of events devoted to key artists who have shaped the development of performance art in Wales since 1968.

Public conversations with Ivor Davies, Shirley Cameron, Roland Miller, John Chris Jones, Timothy Emlyn Jones, Andrew Knight, Anthony Howell, Janek Alexander, Geoff Moore, Mike Pearson, Richard Gough, Phil Babot, André Stitt and Simon Whitehead, accompanied by extensive documentation, paint a vivid picture of the vibrancy and importance of performance art in Wales and elsewhere.

Cyfres o ddigwyddiadau dros ddwy flynedd yn ymwneud ag artistiaid allweddol sydd wedi siapio datblygiad celfyddyd perfformio yng Nghymru ers 1968.

Bydd sgyrsiau cyhoeddus gydag Ivor Davies, Shirley Cameron, Roland Miller, John Chris Jones, Timothy Emlyn Jones, Andrew Knight, Anthony Howell, Janek Alexander, Geoff Moore, Mike Pearson, Richard Gough, Phil Babot, André Stitt a Simon Whitehead, ynghyd â dogfennaeth eang, yn rhoi darlun clir o fywiogrwydd a phwysigrwydd celfyddyd perfformio yng Nghymru a thu hwnt.

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A total of 7 conversations took place over a period of 16 months (Oct 2006-Jan 2007).

Each conversation was devoted to a different artist, institution or event, and as such offered a detailed introduction to its respective subject. Taken together as a series, the conversations provided a comprehensive overview over the past 40 years of performance art in Wales, from Ivor Davies' first happenings in the late 1960s to the rich and diverse performance scene of the present day.

The conversations were staged as public events in front of a live audience, rather than in the more familiar format of a one-to-one interview in the intimacy of a private setting. There are several reasons for this:

Firstly, they relate to the inherently public quality of the interview situation. The interviewee acts out a personal narrative whose shape is not only influenced by the circumstances of the occasion and the relationship to the listening interviewer, but also by the awareness of the interviewee that he or she speaks through the interviewer to a larger, absent audience. By making an audience present and staging the events in the public domain, I wanted to make manifest that in any oral history interview every utterance is a public utterance, and the purpose of any interview is to transform personal memories into shared histories.

Secondly, by inviting an audience to the conversations I also wished to emphasize that in the case of performance work, these histories are already shared. Although the interviews clearly still position the artists as authority, they do not intend to suggest that their stories are providing us with the only possible, authoritative version of events, even where their own work is concerned. Performance is a communal event, and remembering performance must be a communal effort. Audiences at the conversations, who may include past collaborators or witnesses of past performances, were invited to add their own memories, and they were provided with a number of opportunities to do so.

And finally, these conversations are, of course, themselves performances, in which not just the artist but also I as an interviewer perform, in this case a performance of performance researchs that attempts to be curatorial and conversational rather than authorial and also aims to be publicly accountable or at least recognizable.

Extensive documentary material (videos, slides, drawings etc) was screened as part of each conversation, and artists were asked to explore the disparities between their memories and the documentation of their work. The staged encounter between the vestiges of personal memory and the surviving audio-visual or written records created an interesting dynamic: artists frequently did not remember or remembered differently certain details of their past work that were revealed by the documentation. On the other hand, documents are highly selective in what they revealed about the performance they meant to record. It is this deeply contingent nature of both documentation and memory which is being revealed and put into dialogue in the performance of these oral history conversations.

[ Heike Roms, March 2008]

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Through this project, we aimed:


to uncover and document an important part of Welsh art history…
… by conducting conversations with key artists who have shaped the development of performance art in Wales since 1968.

to offer a forum for critical debate on performance art in Wales…
… by staging these conversations in the public domain and encouraging critical responses.

to make innovative work more accessible and comprehensible to a wider audience…
… by providing an insight into the intentions, decisions, sincerity and commitment behind an artist's creative work.

to provide artists, above all early-career artists, with a sense of history and continuity, thereby contributing to their professional development…
… by addressing in particular students and young-career artists.

to establish the distinctiveness of Welsh performance art…
… by exploring how an artistic field or scene is formed, delineated and developed within a particular cultural, social and environmental context.

to raise the profile of Welsh performance at a national and international level
… by distributing the outcome of the events across Wales and beyond trough publications and the website.

to create a vibrant, performative, interactive “live archive” of performance art in Wales….
… by inviting audiences to contribute their own memories of performance art in Wales.

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