Performance Installation as a Research Tool
Considering the absence of the human performer within a 'performance installation', the research centers around what does the audience perceive as 'present‘, once the human is removed from the center of a performance? Erika Fischer-Lichte states that the event of a theatrical performance cannot take place without a human delivering a performance and argues that a specific ‘auto-poetic feedback loop’ is created through the relation of the actor and the audience. Throughout my research, I question what kind of transfer appears between the audience and the 'performance installation’ or a performance without human actors. I am interested in this dynamics between the presence of non-human objects and disembodied human traces on the one hand and the absence of the human actor on the other.
As humans today so often relate to people who are not physically present, as well as to media governed by code, I propose that in a performance without humans acting, the audience might find more sensory connection than with the human actor delivering the performance, as usually suggested by the institutional theatre. I further consider the notion of a ‘landscape’ as the new paradigm in contemporary performance. Could it be that paradoxically relating the fast pace, information-saturated world we inhabit today to an undetermined ambiguous space such as a landscape, is the way to navigate it?
In my artistic practice, using kinetic objects, light, and sound and relying on methods such as rehearsals from theatre or feedback-loops from Cybernetics, each of the performances is seen as a rehearsal and a starting point for the next one. In these evolving iterations, it will become apparent in what way I work with the traces of human presence and to what extent they might be present at all. As the space of a rehearsal can be considered a liminal space for trying out and experimenting, the process is seen as an ongoing experiment and research. This inquiry is only possible through the practice and feedback from the audience, at times consisting of one person (myself during the prototyping phase in the studio) and at others of more (during an open event). The dynamic nature of a performance is relevant for this practice-based research as an evolving process that can inform both theory and practice.
Irena Kukric's (1983, RS) practice and research are related to the absence of the human body in time-based installation performance. Her performances focus on the balance between digital or mechanical dimensions of the works and on the poetics of human experience through non-human actors.
Kukric studied scenography at the Faculty of Applied Arts at the University of Arts in Belgrade, Serbia and Digital Media at the University of Arts in Bremen, Germany. She worked as a stage designer in theatre and as a production designer in film. In 2012, she interned at the installation department at MoMA PS1, New York. She created various installation performances for different galleries, digital media festivals, and theater festivals such as OUTNOW!, Galerie Herlod, Städtische Galer-ie, Bremen, Resonate, Belgrade, and C28, Hanover.
Kukric lectures at the University of Arts Bremen and is a coordinator and researcher in the research project ‘The Dynamic Archive’ at the University of Arts Bremen.
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