What a Performance
Deborah Coughlin argues that popular culture owes a great debt to performance art, speaking with two giants of the field, Laurie Anderson and Marina Abramovic along the way.
Performance art occupies a marginal space in the cultural landscape, rarely attracting large audiences and often baffling those who encounter it. Even defining what performance art is remains contentious among those working within it.
Nonetheless, artist Deborah Coughlin believes it has a major influence on popular culture, providing a radical workshop in which new ideas are forged and acted out. Sometimes that influence is explicit and publicly declared, as when Lady Gaga approached world leading performance artist Marina Abramovic to help her generate ideas. Sometimes, Deborah suggests, ideas are appropriated without due credit being given. Either way, those original cutting edge ideas percolate into the mainstream, and for that the culture owes performance art a debt of gratitude.
Deborah interviews Abramovic as well as fellow performance art giant Laurie Anderson, then uses the interviews to create an original piece of performance art which she takes to the Whitworth Gallery in Manchester as well as Porthcawl seafront, with these performances becoming an integral part of the show.
Deborah also speaks with the New York band 'Sound of Ceres' who talk about the enthusiasm they have for performance art and the desire young musicians have to find inspiration outside their own field. We also hear from artist The Famous Lauren Barri Holstein, and Deborah visits her parents to find out whether they understand the artistic world she now inhabits.
Presenter: Deborah Coughlin
Producers: Claire Press and Geoff Bird.