DEFINED by Jack Bowman
NEW FOR 2001. UPDATED 2006. Teaching Performance Art in a Public School and College
When I did my first major performance art piece at the Cleveland Performance Art Festival on April 9, 1993, I handed out a flyer with the performance of Jack's Theorem and the Primal Thought. On this flyer I wrote "The Act is TRUTH. Nothing that was ever recorded is truth. Nothing that was ever said is truth. Only the ACT." This is the best definition that I am aware of for performance art. However, I can list some attributes of Performance Art that are unique to the medium.
1. A performance art piece is unprecedented.
2. It is difficult to censor since it has a good possibility of never being done before.
3. It is usually very current. This means that it is usually relevant of today because of the short time between conception and performance.
4. Performance art can involve the audience with taste, smell and sounds not available with electronic media and not practical with conventional theater. This is due to the usually small audience.
5. Performance art is the ultimate in creativity. Since it has so many possibilities at creativity, it's essence tends to become creativity.
6. Occupies an environment with specific objects and actions for a specific amount of time.
7. The space time restraints of performance art does not allow for elaborate sets/props and cost very little to produce.
8. Performance art can be produced in a coffee house setting.
9. Since the audience is usually small (around 30) the performers can actually give things to the audience, such as food or money.
10. Performance Art is brief, about 15 minutes long. This is a problem in that you cannot get people to come out to watch a 15 minute performance. Therefore, Performance Art Festivals are appropriate in contrast to an individual performance.