Performance Art Recipes
We run our project on recepies for performance art pieces, or, in Danish, Performanceopskrifter, in collaboration with Copenhagen Contemporary in their collaborative educational space CC Studio. The aim is to develop new and original ideas for the inclusion of performance art works in art institutions. We invite international artists to present their current work and develop recipes for performance art pieces that will be performed by future visitors, long after the artists have left.
Live Art Denmark has long been interested in recipes or instructions written by artists in order for others to perform their works. They can be compared to notes or manuscripts, with both the score and its interpretation seen as independent art works.
The recipe format had its heyday in the Fluxus movement during the 1960s, with artists such as Yoko Ono, Erik Andersen and many others publishing numerous event scores. Other examples can be found throughout modern art history. The 1930 Futurist Cookbook contains recipes for foodworks that can be considered performances. We recreated one of them at Live Art for Kids 2018 at Brandts:
In the years leading up to the First World War, Marcel Duchamp was perhaps the first artist to write a recipe for a work. We recreated his Sculpture Musicale 2018 in Rio de Janiero. A video of the resulting participatory performance can be seen here.
For the ongoing Performance Recipes project, we have invited artists for a residency at Copenhagen Contemporary’s CC Studio since 2019, making Live Art Denmark perhaps the first curators in the world to curate for an educational department! Artists are invited to rewrite their ideas as a recipe that can be immediately tested by the museum’s visitors. CC Studio can also develop the recipies further, after the artists return to Ghana, Canada, Germany or England.
The recipe format can be a great help to art museums, who may find it cumbersome and expensive to show performance art – compared to painting, for example. Usually, presenting performance requires the simultaneous presence of audience and artist. With the recipe, the performance stays in the institution after the artists depart, while its performative live-quality can be reanimated at any time by the visitora themselves.
The recipe format is an art form in its own right and can yield very poetic results, as in the Futurist Cookbook or with Yoko Ono. In other cases, the recipies may resemble the set of rules for a game.
We have worked with the characteristics of games in several projects. This applies both to our own works and works we curated. The four games that Hue/Boy developed for Horsens Prison in the context of our Horsens Happening provide a good example. They developed a live Action Role Play which invited visitors to experience the former prison through stories and games.
Performance Recipies as Documentation
The recipe format can also be considered as a form of documentation of performances. Even before the recipe project, Live Art Denmark has been interested in the documentation of performance art, exploring various media such as video, photos, critical writing, children’s drawings and most recently virtual reality. In our work with documentation, our main focus is on techniques to maintain or recreate works in ways that conserve the special magic of the living moment.