Live Culture at Tate Modern

Live Culture is a four day programme of events considering the shifting nature of Live Art practice in relation to the visual arts, by bringing together distinguished artists, theorists and curators to examine the expansion of performance art across broader artistic and social arenas, and its role in relation to cultural change. Contributors include Marina Abramovic, Ron Athey, Franko B, Carol Becker, Ansuman Biswas, Oron Catts, Ricardo Dominguez, Forced Entertainment, Tim Etchells, Jean Fisher, RoseLee Goldberg, Matthew Goulish, Guillermo Gomez-Pena, Leslie Hill, Lin Hixson, Kazuko Hohki, Amelia Jones, John Jordan, Keith Khan, Yu Yeon Kim, Oleg Kulik, Andre Lepecki, Alastair MacLennan, Hayley Newman, Peggy Phelan, La Pocha Nostra, William Pope.L, Andrew Quick, Alan Read, La Ribot, and Henry M Sayre.

A resurgence of interest in experiential and performative practices within the visual arts and the status of ‘liveness’ as a prime object and value in the media-dense environment of contemporary culture, make Live Culture a timely and critical intervention into current discourses. Live Culture is a framework to appraise key shifts in performance art over the last few decades: its spread out of the gallery and into other spaces and forms; its increasingly hybrid nature and disruption of global and cultural borders; its use of risk and extremity in confronting the art and politics of the body; its impact on social activism and political intervention; its interface with the digital world; and its role as a site for expressions of new identities beyond the distinctions of ethnicity, gender and sexuality.

Live Culture sets out to highlight the ways in which the term Live Art has come to represent an array of contemporary practices that employ performance as a generative force to break apart traditions of representation, to open different kinds of engagement with meaning and to activate audiences.

Live Culture gives an audience the chance to experience new forms of artistic engagement, and also enables Tate Modern to consider its role not only as a site for preservation and interpretation, but as as active generator of performance work.” ( Sir Nicholas Serota Director, Tate)

Live: Art and Performance is a major publication which contains essays from key writers in the field, visual documentation of influential contemporary performance and works within the Live Culture event. It is available to buy on the Agency’s online shop Unbound.

You will also find Live: Art and Performance available to read in our open access Study Room.

Live Actions in Turbine Hall

Oleg Kulik 

Armadillo for Your Show 

Thursday 27 March, 20.30 

Free event, tickets must be booked in advance

Pay Bar

catalogue extract

As the opening event of Live Culture and for his debut London performance, Russia’s most famous performance artist spins above the audience like a human mirror ball in a critique on the worlds of art, entertainment and mass culture and their crucifixion of the artist.

Performance artist, sculptor and curator Oleg Kulik is most renowned for his performances as a dog, including Mad Dog, Reservoir Dog and I Bite America and America Bites Me . Kulik has exhibited and performed throughout the world and his photographic work was included in the 2001 Venice Biennale.


Franko B 

I Miss You! 

Sunday 30 March, 20.30 

Tickets £5, £3 concessions

catalogue extract

Assuming the likeness of a catwalk show, but with his body naked, abject, monochromatic and bleeding, Franko B plays with the worlds of fashion and art whilst confronting the human form at its most existential and essential.

Since 1990 Franko B has been working with video, photography, performance, installation and sculpture. Recent projects include the performance and installation Oh Lover Boy at Beaconsfield and Home (2001) and an installation for Please Disturb Me at the Great Eastern Hotel (2001). He has been the subject of two monographs, Franko B (Black Dog Publishing 1998) and Oh Lover Boy (Black Dog Publishing 2001).

This performance contains images which some viewers may find challenging.

“Live Art is a fluid landscape. Spanning the extremities of performance cultures, Live Art is not a singular form of art but an umbrella term for intrinsically live practices that are rooted in a diversity of disciplines and discourses involving the body, space and time.” ( Fluid Landscapes by Lois Keidan and Daniel Brine, Live Art Development Agency)


Durational performances, wall and screen based works in Level 4 Galleries West

Friday 28 and Saturday 29 March, 14.00 – 22.00 

Sunday 30 March, 13.00 – 18.00

Day Ticket £6, £4 concessions

Weekend Pass £15, £10 concessions

One ticket covers all events in Level 4 Galleries West

Tate operates a timed entry policy for its exhibitions. Please book a time in advance for Level 4 Galleries West events. You will be able to enter the galleries within one hour of this time, stay as long as you wish, or re-enter at any time on the day subject to capacity. Tickets will also be made available on the day subject to capacity.

Please note that the programme contains images which some viewers may find challenging.


Guillermo Gomez-Pena, Juan Ybarra and Michelle Ceballos of La Pocha Nostra with Kazuko Hohki and Ansuman Biswas 

Ex-Centris (A Living Diorama of Fetish-ized Others)

Friday 28 and Saturday 29 March, 18.30 – 21.30

Sunday 30 March, 14.30 – 17.30

catalogue extract

A living museum of experimental ethnography addressing the appropriation of hybridity and ‘revolution as style’ by corporate multiculturalism and global media. In a series of interactive dioramas the artists become ‘inter-cultural specimens’ parodying colonial practices of representation whilst fetishizing charged symbols of cultural difference.

Guillermo Gomez-Pena’s influential work in performance art, video, audio, installation and cultural theory illuminates the cultural side effects of globalisation and explores cross-cultural issues, immigration, the politics of language, ‘extreme culture’ and new technologies. A contributing editor to The Drama Review (MIT), he is the author and subject of many publications including Dangerous Border Crossers (Routledge 2000).

Ex Centris was first presented at the Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art International Exhibition 2002 and is an inter-continental collaboration between La Pocha Nostra, the Live Art Development Agency, Bluecoat Arts Centre, the Liverpool Biennial and moti roti.

Live Culture will feature daily screenings of Guillermo Gomez-Pena’s celebrated collaborative video works Los Video-Grafitis .

Guillermo Gomez-Pena will also present the illustrated lecture, Performance As Reverse Anthropology, at the British Museum on Friday 21 March at 18.30.

BP Lecture Theatre

The British Museum

Great Russell Street

London WC1B 3DG

Tickets £5, concessions £3

Telephone bookings 020 7323 8181 (10.00 – 17.30 daily)

Online bookings

A collaboration between the Live Art Development Agency, the British Museum’s Contemporary Arts and Culture Programme and University of Essex Collection of Latin American Art (UECLAA).

In advance of Ex-Centris Guillermo Gomez-Pena will lead a performance masterclass.

La Ribot 

Panoramix (1993 – 2000) 

Friday 28 and Saturday 29 March, 14.30 – 18.30

Sunday 30 March, 13.30 – 17.30

catalogue extract

Since beginning her lifelong project in 1993, the award winning Spanish artist presents, for the first time Panoramix her complete Distinguished Pieces series: a seamless flow of 34 short, sharp, simple solos that use the naked female body to test the tensions and borders between visual art, performance and dance.

Since 1990 La Ribot’s choreographic and video work has been commissioned and presented at major international art galleries, theatres and performance festivals including Galeria Soledad Lorenzo Madrid, South London Gallery and Theatre de la Ville, Paris. In 2000 she was the recipient of the Spanish National Prize for Dance. La Ribot was published in 2002 by Galeria Soledad Lorenzo Madrid.

There will also be screenings of Purely Organic (2000) – a video by La Ribot.

To complement Panoramix, La Ribot premieres her new video series Take Off at the South London Gallery from 26 March to 6 April.


Forced Entertainment 

12am: Awake and Looking Down 

Friday 28 March, 14.30 – 21.30

catalogue extract

First performed in 1993, 12am occupies a territory beyond ‘theatre performance’. Looking at identity as a shifting, contradictory site, over seven hours five silent performers endlessly reinvent their identities using cardboard signs to name themselves and a vast store of jumble sale clothing.

Forced Entertainment 


Saturday 29 March, 14.30 – 21.30

catalogue extract

Quizoola! is a live negotiation of what is real and what is performed and the need for knowledge, certainty and definition through language. In a marathon game three performers interrogate each other with a text of 2000 questions ranging from pop trivia to personal secrets and twisted philosophical searches.

Forced Entertainment/Etchells/Glendinning 

Video Work 

Sunday 30 March, 13.00 – 18.00

Video works by Forced Entertainment’s artistic director Tim Etchells and longtime collaborator photographer Hugo Glendinning, including Starfucker, Down Time and Kent Beeson is a Classic & an Absolutely New Thing.

Over the last 18 years, Sheffield based Forced Entertainment have created work that smashes all conventions. Innovative in form and subversive in content, recent projects include CD-Roms, video installations and theatre performances including Void Spaces (Site Gallery 2000), Who Can Sing A Song To Unfrighten Me (LIFT 1999) and Filthy Words and Phrases (NOW Festival 1998).

Hayley Newman 

Connotations – Performance Images 1994-98 

Friday 28 and Saturday 29 March, 14.00 – 22.00

Sunday 30 March, 13.00 – 18.00

catalogue extract

Connotations is a body of photographic and textual documentation of twenty entirely fictitious performances. Whilst addressing ideas of authenticity and forgery, the work explores how performance is transformed and mythologised when recorded and the ambiguity implicit in attempts to ‘capture’ a live performance within a still photograph.

Hayley Newman’s work featured in Beck’s Futures 2000 and her recent solo exhibitions include The Daily Hayley for Matt’s Gallery London (2001) and Connotations II for the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2002). A publication on her work, Performancemania was published by Matt’s Gallery in 2001.

Live Art Screenings

Sites (Screen, Specific, Action, Body) 

Friday 28 and Saturday 29 March, 14.00 – 22.00

Sunday 30 March, 13.00 – 18.00

catalogue essays and artists’ statements

Against the formal framework of Tate Modern galleries, a series of screenings of Live Art documentation and works made for camera looking at questions of ‘site’ in relation to formal, conceptual and cultural issues. Artists Rona Lee, Aaron Williamson, Pope & Guthrie and Blast Theory have curated personal selections of British based work that has been influential on the field and on their own practice. With work by Anna Best, Leigh Bowery, Stuart Brisley, Brian Catling, Jeremy Deller, Mark Gaynor, Gob Squad, Grennan & Sperandio, Kirsten Lavers, Jayne Parker, Joshua Sofaer, Station House Opera, Mike Stubbs, Fiona Templeton, and Yuan Cai & J J Xi .

The experiments in time that live artists enact enable us to 

live for a while between two impossible desires: to be present 

in the moment, to savour it, and to save the moment, to still 

and preserve its power long after ‘it’ has gone.”

(Going Live by Adrian Heathfield)

Lectures and Symposium in Starr Auditorium

The Symposium 

Live Culture: Performance and the Contemporary 

Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 March, 10.30 – 18.30

Tickets: £50, £30 concessions

This two day international symposium looks at the vibrant culture of Live Art and its relation to the politics of the contemporary. In our society of high technology and spectacle the ‘live’ and the ‘immediate’ have become prime values. But what does Live Art have to say about our culture-wide lust for the live? An array of renowned artists and theorists will give presentations on the status and resonances of live practice, its histories and its futures. Discussions will explore performance and place, the body in extremity, activism and global culture.

Saturday 29 March 2003

10.30 – 11.00 registration and coffee

11.00 – 11.20 welcome and introduction

11.20 – 12.30 Peggy Phelan

12.30 – 13.30 lunch

13.30 – 14.55 Panel: Placeless – Andrew Quick, Lin Hixson, Keith Khan, Henry M Sayre

14.55 – 16.00 Tim Etchells

16.00 – 16.30 break

16.30 – 18.00 Panel: Global Subjects – Carol Becker, Ricardo Dominguez, Jean Fisher, William Pope.L

Sunday 30 March 2003

10.30 – 10.45 introduction

10.45 – 11.55 Guillermo Gomez-Pena

11.55 – 12.05 break

12.05 – 13.25 Panel: Activations – Alan Read, John Jordan, Alastair MacLennan

13.25 – 14.25 lunch

14.25 – 16.00 Panel: Fleshworks – Matthew Goulish, Ron Athey, Oron Catts, Amelia Jones

16.00 – 16.35 break

16.35 – 18.35 Connections – Adrian Heathfield, Leslie Hill, Andre Lepecki

The Symposium will be sign interpreted.

Live Culture: Illustrated Lectures

Tickets: £6 (£3 concessions)

A series of lectures looking at the history of Live Art practices, their archiving, documentation and rendition within personal, critical and institutional frames.


RoseLee Goldberg 

The View from Here: One Hundred Years of Performance Art 

Thursday 27 March, 18.30

The distinguished historian of Live Art presents a personal overview of key developments in the field, its cultural status, its relation to visual art movements and practices and the recording and archiving of its histories.

The critic and curator RoseLee Goldberg pioneered the study of performance art with Performance Art: from Futurism to the Present . She has been Director of the Royal College of Art Gallery in London and the curator of the Kitchen in New York City. She is a regular contributor to Artforum and her books include Performance: Live Art Since 1960 (1998) and Laurie Anderson (2000). She recently originated and produced the multimedia performance Logic of the Birds (2001).

The webcast of RoseLee Goldberg’s talk is archived online here.


Yu Yeon Kim 

Translated Acts 

Friday 28 March, 13.00

The curator of the celebrated Translated Acts exhibition, looks at contemporary body art from East Asia which has taken performance beyond the walls of the museum and gallery and invited us to reassess the way non-European art is evaluated.

Yu Yeon Kim curated the exhibition Exotica Incognita with Latinamerican Artists for the 3rd Kwangju Biennale in 2000, the Asia-Pacific section in Cinco Continentes y una Ciudad in Mexico City in 1998, In The Eye Of The Tiger , a panorama of contemporary Korean art in New York and Seoul in 1998 and Transversions for the 2nd Biennale of Johannesburg in 1997. She is the co-founder of PLEXUS, a New York based internet art organisation.

The webcast of Yu Yeon Kim’s talk is archived online here.

Marina Abramovic 

Performing Body 

Saturday 29 March, 19.30

For over 20 years Marina Abramovic has collected materials from film, dance, theatre, music, rituals and performance. For Live Culture she winds through a personal visual archive of performance related materials focused around the performing body, its mental and physical limits.

Few other artists have taken greater personal risks than Marina Abramovic. Since the early 1970’s her work has been a personal investigation of physical limits and mental potential through the medium of performance. Pushing herself to extremes to transcend consciousness, her extraordinary work confronts and challenges Western notions of fear, pain and mortality.

The webcast of Marina Abramovic’s talk is archived online here.
Live Culture will be followed in 2004 by Live: Art, Performance and the Contemporary , a major publication produced in collaboration with Tate Publishing. The publication will contain essays from key writers in the field, visual documentation of influential contemporary performance and works contained within the Live Culture event.

Live Culture is curated and produced by Lois Keidan and Daniel Brine of the Live Art Development Agency and Adrian Heathfield.

Adrian Heathfield is one of the leading performance academics and writers in Britain. He is the editor of Small Acts: Performance, The Millennium and the Marking of Time and co-editor of On Memory , an issue of Performance Research, and of the box publication Shattered Anatomies: Traces of the Body in Performance . He is a lecturer in Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Warwick.

Live Culture is supported by Arts Council England, the Live Art Development Agency, London Arts, The Felix Trust for Art, and The Henry Moore Foundation.


Telephone bookings: Tate ticketing 020 7887 8888

Online bookings:

Further information:

Tate Modern


London SE1 9TG

How to get there

Underground: Southwark, Blackfriars

Buses: 45, 63, 100, 381, 344 and RV1

Rail: Blackfriars, London Bridge

Parking: severely restricted


There are two entrances to Tate Modern. The North Entrance and the West Entrance on Holland Street are recommended for visitors using wheelchairs.

Other projects in Live Culture at Tate Modern

Four days of Live Art at Tate Modern.

Banner image credit:

La Ribot, Panoramix (1993 – 2000). Photograph: Manuel Vason



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