Photos taken during Seiji Shimoda’s talk at 98B Art Collaboratory, Escolta Street, Manila organized by TAMA Tupada Action and Media Art, August 26, 2012. Photos by Emily Lerio.
Nippon International Performance Art Festival (NIPAF) director Seiji Shimoda is in the country for afternoon talks on performance art touring Manila and Lipa City in Batangas. Besides getting insights from his own experience, we also had the opportunity to view the works of Jerzy Bereś, Esther Ferrer, Giovanni Fontana, Artur Tajber and Cyril Lepetit among others.
He started with an artist installing a pyramid of wine glasses on a table while backed-up with a voice telling the names of countries. At first look, it would seem like merely an installation art but then the artist went on to move the table from below. The glasses started to fall creating layers of images and sounds. This moment, the movement and the layers it created, Shimodo said, is exactly the moment of performance art.
Shimoda mentioned there is a big difference between performing arts and performance art, with the former pertaining to theater, dance, music and poetry and the latter pertaining mainly to the use of body, time, space and medium “as a reality”.
Much has been going on in Theater Study as well as in Performance Study. As a theater slave, I believe there is only a thin line between the two. Both requires an actor or performer, an audience: present or absent; a space; a spectacle which may be presented through images, speech, sound, movement, set and pieces; and a script which may come not only in the form of text but also as a concept, a pre-rehearsal and rehearsal, a simulation of sound, music, object or associations; an audience reception or participation and an actor/performer’s instinct. As art forms, both want to touch the people’s sensibilities. It is another matter when we speak of an artist’s sensibility and consciousness in maximizing one’s given body, time and space to spark the sensibilities of the audience to a common good. To some artists, they have a disclaimer on having and providing a clear message out of their work. To others, they a have an outward confrontational approach to emotion or to the political climate. I appreciate works of performance art on different layers though I intend to see its seminal totality. The Roman Cart and Romantic Manifestation of Jerzy Bereś was striking. Who doesn’t like a “Bonfire of Hope” or a “Bonfire of Freedom”?