Ligia Lewis, minor matter, 2017. Performed by Ligia Lewis, Jonathan Gonzalez and Ariel Efraim Ashbel. As part of BMW Tate Live Exhibition: Ten Days Six Nights, Tate Modern, 2017. Courtesy the artist, Photograph © Martha Glenn
Critic Isobel Harbison leads a roundtable discussion examining the intersection of performance and moving image in artistic practice since the 1960s, and how this work anticipates our changing relations to images in the internet era. Speakers include curator Catherine Wood, artist, choreographer and dancer Ligia Lewis, and film scholar and author Erika Balsom. This discussion marks the launch of Harbison’s book Performing Image (MIT Press, 2019).
Central to Performing Image is the idea that while we produce images, images also produce us – those that we take and share, those that we see and assimilate through mass media and social media, and those that we encounter in museums and galleries. This unregulated, all-encompassing image performativity, Harbison writes, puts us to work, for free, in the service of global corporate expansion. Taking the book’s hypothesis as a starting point, the panel discusses the efficacy and value of performance, moving image, and DIY modes of self-imaging and circulation in evolving economies of attention, particularly since the advent of smartphones and the spread of online prosumerism.
Isobel Harbison, an art historian and critic, is Lecturer in Fine Art (Critical Studies) in the Department of Art, Goldsmiths, University of London. She regularly writes for a range of titles including Art Monthly, Frieze and Art Agenda.
Erika Balsom is a scholar and critic based in London, working on cinema, art, and their intersection. She is a senior lecturer in Film Studies at King's College London and the author of After Uniqueness: A History of Film and Video Art in Circulation (Columbia University Press, 2017).
Ligia Lewis works as a dancer and choreographer, with a practice that provokes the nuances of embodiment. Engaging with affect, empathy and the sensate, her choreography considers the social inscriptions of the body while evoking its potentiality. Her work has been described as experientially rich and complex. Her most recently staged works, Water Will (in Melody) (2018), minor matter (2016), and Sorrow Swag (2014), are currently touring internationally.
Catherine Wood is Senior Curator, International Art (Performance) at Tate Modern. Performances programmed at Tate include works by Mark Leckey, Joan Jonas, Guy de Cointet, Jiří Kovanda and Sturtevant, among many others. She has recently authored the survey Performance in Contemporary Art (Tate Publishing, 2018) and is a regular contributor to Afterall, Artforum, Mousse and Frieze.