Thinkers In Residence: French Mottershead, 2006/2007

As Thinkers in Residence, FrenchMottershead are considering the challenge of performative events – events that in their conception are dependent on the actions of the audience/participants for their meaning, without the artists necessarily ‘performing’ themselves – and are exploring ways in which events such as these can be further represented in and supported by the Live Art sector.

Recent years have seen a number of artists orchestrating performative events. These often operate outside of the programming norms of dedicated Live Art spaces and present modes of performance that defy the rules generally governing the circulation of contemporary performance practices. Artists strive to develop contexts and processes in which to immerse ‘participants’, but how does the funding and production infrastructure respond to a complex and unfamiliar vocabulary where the words audience and performer fall short? What are the different strategies and approaches that can be explored to understand and expand this field of practice?

FrenchMottershead’s tenure as Thinkers will include a ‘performative event’ especially for the Live Art Development Agency and they will also contribute a Study Guide for the Agency’s Study Room referencing relevant material from across contemporary art that has an inherent performative element.

Rebecca French & Andrew Mottershead collaborate on the creation of live work that specifically explores ideas of human identity, physicality, interaction, social ritual and the everyday public and private realms in which they are played out.

Often physically absent from the work, they invite the audience to engage complicitly in the creation of unique performance experiences. Through the use of objects, instructions, maps, photographs and actions, they gently subvert sites and the way contemporary art is produced.

Recently, FrenchMottershead have been Artists in Residence at the UK’s National Review of Live Art 2006, Glasgow and completed commissions for Inbetween Time Festival, Bristol, Arts Council England, Colchester Arts Centre, Arnolfini, Bristol, Finland’s ANTI Festival and appeared at PSi#11 at Brown University, Rhode Island, USA.

During 2006/07, FrenchMottershead will take their participatory artwork Club Class, to Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool and the ICA. They will also present their site-based photographic work Shops at the Liverpool Biennial and the Tract Festival of Live Art in Penzance. Borrow me, a new work commissioned by Peckham Pier, will be shown on 29 June 2006 at Peckham Library, London.

FrenchMottershead have also compiled a useful factsheet of contacts/ideas for getting connected, put together over the last few years. You can download their document here.

Banner image credit:

FrenchMottershead, a performance for the camera, image courtesy of the artist (2006)

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