Peter van der Meijden
The Definition of Performativity
Peter van Der Meijden presented and performed his performative lecture “The definition of performativity” at Samtalekøkken, illustrating his theses with a re-enactment of Joseph Beuys’ “Sauerkrautpartitur”. With this piece, first performed in Tokyo in 1969, Beuys demonstrated his famous idea that everyone is/should/can be an artist, by randomly arranging bits of Sauerkraut on a music stand to form the score which he then used to conduct an orchestra: Rather than recreate a well known and time honoured score, this one is produced spontaneously, changed as the piece progresses and interpreted without the restraints of a canonical tradition. Peter’s recreation worked well as an illustration of performativity as creation in and out of the present moment.
COLAB Collaboration with Ato Malinda
As part of the COLAB program, Ato Malinda teamed up with Peter van der Meijden for a one month residency. Together they looked at strategies of represention of various objects in Danish museums. A special focus was given to objects from Africa and how they come to represent an artificial unitary identity of Africa, instead of illustrating its many different nations and cultures. Most of the objects Ato and Peter analysed were brought to Denmark during the era of colonialism. Although many of them were primarily functional objects in their places of origin, in the West they were ascribed aesthetic qualities they did not originally possess, significantly altering the stories they tell. Their observations raised questions about criteria employed by Danish insitutions today to archive and display objects from Africa, and how these criteria might lead to misrepresentations of the objects and the cultures they come from. In a broader sense, one that relates to performance art, they asked if it makes sense to apply the European museum’s standard logics to objects and actions that were created to be impermanent.
About the Artist
Peter is a researcher in art and culture studies. His main areas of interest are the documentation, preservation and presentation of non-object-bound art from the 1960s to the present, with special emphasis on art that generates primary, bodily knowledge (Fluxus, installation art), art that creates and makes visible relationships (mail art, net art, relational art) and art that exists solely as documentation or which just excludes documentation (concept art, performance art, delegated performance).