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Friday March 15 | Session 13:15 - 14:45 (20 min)
De Brakke Grond | Steegzaal

This article explores the legacy of the Situationist International’s explosive intervention into the first world performance scene. The focus is less on their activity during the 1960s, and more on their impact during the 1970s both on artistic practices and on the developing discipline of Performance Studies. Case studies come from the performance arts of George Brecht, Joseph Beuys and John Cage, and the films of Shigeko Kubota and Michael Snow. Taking on board the paradigm shift from ‘discipline’ to ‘performance’ and the ‘challenge’ of global performance (McKenzie 2001), this paper analyses these case studies with contemporary tools extrapolated from Lyotard’s work during the same years. To wit: (1) his prolonged engagement with Duchamp (1977 trans. 1990); (2) his deliberate self-distancing from the Marx and Freud that had driven his earlier activist work (his rethinking of desire and theatricality); and (3) the parallels between his and Deleuze’s work (Lyotard 1974, Deleuze & Guattari 1972). These tools afford a means of situating the concept of artistic ‘drift’ within the world of 1970s performance art. Two implications of moving beyond the confines of the Situationist I nternational and rethinking ‘intervention’ are discussed: (1) drift loosens up the politics of performance and its social force (a pressing task in our neoliberal era, and one of Lyotard’s key contributions to Performance Studies); and (2) unpacking the ph enomenology of drift qua aesthetic inattention / indifference affords the basis for a properly pragmatic discourse.
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