Edge of an Era: Event

Marking the 30th birthday of EDGE 88, a 12 day festival of performance art that took place in the same Central London spaces three decades ago, 2019’s Edge was many things at once: a commemoration, a celebration, a performance of performances, a reunion, a marking of what once was and the legacy with which it now challenges the present day.

Louise Gray on Edge of an Era, for The Wire, March 2019


Walking tour and Walking Salon both depart 5.30pm

Event starts 7pm

Free, Booking Essential


To celebrate the 30th anniversary of EDGE 88 we are holding a special event in one of the original locations of this seminal performance art festival, St James’s Church, Clerkenwell in London.

Thirty years after EDGE 88, Helena Goldwater and Rob La Frenais (former editor of Performance Magazine and Director of EDGE 88), in collaboration with the Live Art Development Agency (LADA), are revisiting this and other 1980s performance art events in Edge of an Era, a series of activities connecting influential artists from the 1980s with current generations.

Edge of an Era will shed light on underrepresented performance art histories that have had a significant influence on current art practice. This first phase of the project has involved five new artistic commissions, archival digitisation and workshops  in London and Northumberland.


4 February Programme:


5.30pm – Walking Tour with Rob La Frenais

A walking tour of the street and sites of EDGE 88 in Clerkenwell will last for one hour and be led by Rob La Frenais (original Director of EDGE 88).

The walking tour is now fully booked.

5.30pm – Walking Salon with Something Other

Edge of an Era commissioned artists Something Other invite you to encounter the route of EDGE 88 and imagine some its artworks, in a roaming salon featuring readings of proposals by female artists from the archive. This will last 1 hour and requires walking.

Spaces are limited and booking is essential. Please book here.

7pm – Performances and Panel Discussion

The programme includes introductions by Rob La Frenais, Helena Goldwater and Alex Eisenberg, and a panel discussion with original artists and curators from EDGE 88 including Alastair MacLennan and Sara Selwood.


New Commissions

We will also present a series of specially commissioned new works by artists who have responded to the archive of materials from 1980s events that we have been collating as part of Edge of an Era. The commissioned artists are:

Robin Bale who has responded to BLED EDGE (EDGE 88) by Alastair MacLennan. Robin will present a short performance at the event.

Zvikomborero (Mayfly) Mutyambizi who has looked at Mona Hatoum’s Reflections on Value (EDGE 88) and Hidden from Prying Eyes (At the Edge, 1987) and will present a sound work at the event.

Something Other (Maddy Costa, Diana Damian Martin and Mary Paterson) who have explored the notion of correspondence with feminist practices from the late 80s. A sound work from this project will be available online following the event.

Adam Patterson who has made a performative video work in search of Isaac Julien’s Looking for Langston (EDGE 89). Adam will also present a performance as part of the event.

Morgan Quaintance who has made a moving image work pitched between documentary and abstraction, comprising of newly shot footage and archival materials relating to the Bow Gamelan Ensemble’s work emanating from At the Edge (1987). The film will be available to view at the event.

In addition to being presented at the event on 4th February the commissions will also be featured on a new website created especially for Edge of an Era which will be launched at the event and will include a digital archive of materials and documentation.


About Edge of an Era

In the late 1980s, Performance Magazine (1979-1992) started presenting some of the first site specific performance art events in the UK, including Art in Danger, At the Edge and Last Sweat of Youth at the Diorama and AIR Gallery. This culminated in EDGE 88, one of London’s first site-specific performance/installation festivals, which was attended by artists such as Helena Goldwater, who was at the start of her career. Thirty years later, Helena Goldwater and Rob La Frenais, in collaboration with the Live Art Development Agency (LADA) are revisiting this and other 1980s performance art events.

More information on Edge of an Era



St James Church is accessible via ramps up to the West door, owing to the building’s restrictions these are steep so please use with caution (please note there is no disabled toilet in the church).



Edge of an Era is curated by Helena Goldwater and Rob La Frenais, Alex Eisenberg and Live Art Development Agency.

It is produced in partnership with Artsadmin and Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, supported using public funding by Arts Council National Lottery Project Grants with additional activities made possible through the Jonathan Ruffer Curatorial Grant from Art Fund.


Banner image credit:

Credit: Cover Image from EDGE 88 catalogue – Tina Keane’s The Diver. Photo Gary Varrar

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