Performance Events Background


What can performance do for human rights, and human rights for performance?

PSi #12: Performing Rights will be a gathering of artists, activists and academics who are making and researching performance that declares its interest and intent within the field of Human Rights.

The Performance Events for PSi #12 are being produced in a partnership between Queen Mary, University of London, East End Collaborations and the Live Art Development Agency and build on our collaborations over the last six years as well as each organisations own commitment to contemporary performance practices that are grounded and informed by social, political and cultural concerns.

From the outset, the collaborators have approached PSi #12 Performing Rights as being more than four days in June 2006. We have seen it as an opportunity to present ideas and practices addressing issues of performance and human rights, to create contexts to equip, inspire and empower artists to make a social/political/cultural difference and to generate valuable legacies for the future.

The PSi # 12 Performance Events Programme is financially assisted by Arts Council, England, LCACE and the Live Art Development Agency.

All PSi # 12 Performance Events are open to the public. A full schedule will be available shortly and ticket will go on sale in early May.

In the build up to PSi #12, the collaborators have participated in a range of Ground Work events:

  • Hosted a Long Table on Performance and Human Rights in April 05, and a Long Table on Building Community in February 06
  • Worked with Red Cross/Refugee Week on a performance programme for June 05
  • Organised a Creative Resistances workshop for artists and activists led by John Jordan in September 05 and will be hosting a performance laboratory for emergent practitioners led by Guillermo Gomez Pena in the week leading up to PSi #12

The PSi #12 Performance Events programme will be made up of the following strands: Presentations, a Manifesto Room and the Performing Rights Library.



Across the four days, there will be a programme of scheduled and sited Performance Events that explore the role of performance and the responsibilities of artists in effecting change; illuminate some of the creative strategies that artists are employing to communicate issues of human rights; and empower artists, activists and audiences to be able to make a difference.

Participating artists will come from the UK, the US, SE Asia, South America, the Middle East, continental Europe and beyond, and will include Guillermo Gomez Pena, William Pope L, Bobby Baker, Stacy Makishi, Monica Ross, Leibnitz, Karen Finley, Zai Kuning, Coco Fusco, Naeem Mohaiemen, Richard Dedomenici, Chumpon Apisuk and Oreet Ashery amongst others.

Within this programme strand there will also be a series of installations in the Gallery of Utopias housed in the Arts Pavilion in Mile End Park.

This may include a LIFT presentation on their young people's parliament project, Wrights and Sites' A MisGuide To Anywhere, Chris Johnson's Creative Prison, Lisa Wesley and Andrew Blackwood's The Project and Lone Twin's Utopian Performance Space.


A Manifesto Room

A 24-hour a day space in which interventions, interactions, experimentations, activations, declarations and polemics will be presented, performed and posted, where workshops and discussions will be housed, and where new media and web based interventions and live international link ups will take place. The Manifesto Room is being co-curated with the artist and activist John Jordan and Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun of The Otolith Group.

Each day there will be extensive and informed practitioner led discussions in the Manifesto Room focusing on key social, political and cultural concerns and the ways that performance can address these issues in challenging and creative ways. Aimed at artists, activists, academics and audiences, the discussions will cover:

  • Immigration, including the experience of refugees, displaced peoples and asylums seekers
  • Art in war zones, and areas of conflict and civil unrest
  • Ethics in art in the 21 st century, and the role of artists in activating and animating debates ranging from the new bio ethics, to religious censorship, to corporate responsibility, to the moral landscape of contemporary research culture
  • International collaboration in relation to first world/developing world inequalities, the new socio-political contexts artists are working within, and the new platforms they are exploring

There will also be a series of illustrated presentations by UK and international artists on the methodologies they are using to interrogate specific social, political and cultural concerns.


The Performing Rights Library

The Library is being conceived as an 'installation' which will house resources, research materials and technological capabilities that explore and enable the transmission and documentation of human rights and performance. We are currently calling for submissions that explore the relations between performance practices and human rights, for inclusion in the project.

Materials may include publications, videos, DVDs, CD ROMs, brochures, digital and web based initiatives, real and virtual archives, stories, drawing and photographs. Dominic Johnson is working as Research Assistant for the Performing Rights Library

The Performing Rights Library will form the centrepiece of PSi #12 and will continue to exist as lasting and growing resource after its launch in London this summer. It is our intention that it will be a model that can be transported, reassembled and further developed at different locations and respond to specific geographical and cultural issues and agendas.


Disclaimer © Queen Mary, University of London 2005