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On Reenactment: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools

 | 
Cristina Baldacci
, 
Susanne Franco

Solos

Unfold: Dan Graham’s Audience/Performer/Mirror Reenacted

Gabriella Giannachi

Texte intégral

This research was funded by the AHRC, grant AH/S00663X/1. I am very grateful to Gaby Wijers for her insightful comments on this study.

1This chapter explores the use of reenactments, and the role of the audience, as a strategy for preservation. Some of the reenactments discussed are historical, and LIMA especially commissioned others through an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project, “Documenting Digital Art” (2019-22), developed in collaboration with the curators and media studies scholars Annet Dekker, Katrina Sluis and Francesca Franco, in partnership with Gaby Wijers, Director of LIMA, Amsterdam.

  • 1 Gaby Wijers and Lara Garcia Diaz, “UNFOLD: Mediation by Re-interpretation Annual Project Review Re (...)

2The aim of the overall workshop within which the reenactments took place on 14-15 January 2020 intended to build on the findings from the one-year project “Unfold: Mediation by Re-Interpretation” organised in 2016 by Wijers and Lara Garcia at LIMA.1 Unfold reflected on the affinities and differences between terms such as remediation, reenactment, reinterpretation, reappropriation, homage, emulation, and arrangement in the context of the conservation of media arts. At the 2016 “Unfold workshop”, I suggested that these practices constitute fundamental preservation strategies, by which I did not so much mean the preservation of something that occurred in the past but a claim to the identification of its living quality in the present. By identifying its living quality, I maintained that the work would be able to survive historically through different periods in time.

  • 2 Gabriella Giannachi and Jonah Westerman, eds., Histories of Performance Documentation (London and (...)

3I further developed this argument in Histories of Performance Documentation.2 Here, I suggested that reenactments are crucial for preservation as they generate new iterations of a specific work. Subsequently, Wijers and I became increasingly interested in establishing the role of the audience in these reenactments. At the LIMA workshop in 2020, the first public event of the “Documenting Digital Art” project, a number of artists and researchers were hence asked to offer a reenactment of Graham’s work based on the historical documentation of it by asking themselves the following questions elaborated by Wijers: what is the core and production method of a work? Which techniques are used in which context? How do we translate this artistic legacy, practice and knowledge to the next generation? How do we reflect and learn from different interdisciplinary practises? And how do we engage with audiences in this context?

4Before analyzing the specific case study for this chapter, its historical reenactments and the reenactments carried out during the workshop at LIMA, it is worth refreshing our memory about how reenactments tend to operate by unpacking the distinctive features of both artistic and historical reenactments. It is worth starting by noting how reenactments have attracted the attention of scholars in a range of disciplines spanning performance studies, art history, history, new media, archaeology, and preservation studies.

  • 3 Amelia Jones, “‘The Artist is Present’: Artistic Re-enactments and the Impossibility of Presence”, (...)
  • 4 Robin George Collingwood, The Idea of History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994).
  • 5 Anke Bangma, Stephen Rushton, and Florian Wüst, Experience, Memory, Re-Enactment (Rotterdam: Piet (...)
  • 6 Ibid., 7.
  • 7 Sven Lütticken, Jennifer Allen, and Peggy Phelan, eds., Life, Once More: Forms of Re-enactment in (...)
  • 8 Inke Arns and Gabriele Horn, History Will Repeat Itself (Dortmund: Hartware Medien Kunstverein and (...)

5As art historian Amelia Jones suggested,3 historical reenactments have become increasingly popular after 1946, when the historian and archaeologist Robin George Collingwood published The Idea of History, which argued that history constitutes a form of reenactment.4 Historical reenactments are known to often entail a “distortion in scale”.5 It was, for example, the case in Peter Watkins’s Diary of an Unknown Soldier (1959), where First World War trenches were “filmed in a cast member’s backyard after a two-and-a-half meter plot had been dug up and hosed down with water”. In Forgotten Faces (1956), also by Watkins, the Hungarian Revolution was filmed “in a cul-de-sac in Canterbury”.6 Historical reenactments also often play with canonical conventions regarding the relationship between performers and the audience. Art historian Sven Lütticken notes that they tend to eliminate “the safe distance between performers and audience to create ambiguous, mixed states”.7 Moreover, as the curator and new media theorist Inke Arns showed, historical reenactments often do not constitute exact reproductions of the past, but rather privilege an engagement with the “present”.8

  • 9 Bangma, et al., 14.
  • 10 Lütticken, et al., 33.
  • 11 Ibid., 40.
  • 12 Ibid., 5.

6These considerations position reenactment, as the curator in photography and contemporary art Anke Bangma suggests, as a “framing concept”9 through which to look at the immediacy of a work. Finally, early 20th century historical pageants, like Louis Napoleon Parker’s pageants, offered a given community “an image of itself”,10 generating “an immersive” and, possibly, reflective “experience”.11 This aims not so much, as performance studies theorist Peggy Phelan suggested, to produce a “slavish reproduction”, but rather constitutes an attempt to “create a difference”,12 setting up the conditions for a “re-presencing” of a work. This is where re-presenting and re-presencing coincide. Hence, the production of a sense of immediacy, and the act of re-presenting/re-presencing, which are at the heart of the operation of the performing arts, constitute also a crucial component as to the significance of reenactments and their consequent reinterpretations for preservation.

  • 13 Antonio Caronia, Janez Janša, Domenico Quaranta, eds., RE:akt! Reconstruction, Re-enactment, Re-po (...)
  • 14 Paul Clarke in Performing Archives/Archives of Performance, ed. Gunhild Borggreen and Rune Gade (C (...)
  • 15 Lütticken, et al., 195.
  • 16 Bangma, et al., 6.

7At the heart of the function that the reenactment plays for preservation is the complex relationship between the reenacted past and the live presence of an audience. As suggested by the art critic Jennifer Allen, reenactments utilise “the body as a medium for reproducing the past”,13 only that body and the one that is reenacted tend not to be the same. This focuses the reenactment on difference rather than copy. By establishing this difference, reenactments must redefine what is meant by “origin”.14 Allen points out that reenactment is both “a reproduction of the past and a reproduction of itself”, thus it “emerges as yet another original with its claims to authenticity that are inextricably linked to its reproduction”.15 Therefore, through the reenactment, the past is not so much restaged, as recreated anew. This is a crucial factor as to why reenactments, but also reinterpretations, constitute an interesting strategy for preservation. In showing how reenactments were not about “recalling” the past, rather about restructuring the past in the present in the context of our presence, the artist and writer Steve Rushton suggested that reenactments tend to create a subjective “version” of the past.16 This creation of a new potential version of the past is what the reenactment, and the reinterpretation offered through it, makes it possible to preserve.

  • 17 Arns and Horn, 7.
  • 18 Ibid., 43.
  • 19 Ibid.
  • 20 Ibid., 63.
  • 21 André Lepecki, “The Body as Archive: Will to Re-Enact and the Afterlives of Dances,” Dance Researc (...)
  • 22 Alain Depocas, Jon Ippolito, and Caitlin Jones, eds., The Variable Media Approach, Performance Thr (...)

8The mechanism at the heart of this transformation of the past into the present is an act of repetition. But it is also what is not repeated, or, rather, what falls outside of the repetition, that is crucial in the context of preservation. Inke Arns and contemporary art historian Gabriele Horn explain the popularity of the prefix “re-” by pointing out that “experiencing the world, whether past or present, is increasingly less direct”.17 As Arns notes, reenactments, as well as reinterpretations, are therefore not so much revisitations of the past as “questionings of the present”,18 in which it is indeed the present that is perceived to be at stake. For Arns, this questioning is achieved by utilising documents produced in the past to understand what they may mean in the present. While the past is given, the present is redefined in the process. As Arns suggests, this generates a “paradoxical approach”, “erasing distance to the images and at the same time distancing itself from the images”.19 In fact, the prefix “re-”, which means “again”, also means “back”, implying both a return to a previous condition and the repetition of an action. I have already mentioned that reenactments and reinterpretations produce spatial-temporal distortions, but here we see how they often expose, as Arns notes, an “uncanny” paradox by bringing back something that “is actually known but has been repressed, from whence it returns”.20 As suggested by the curator and dance scholar André Lepecki, reenactments thus “unlock, release, and actualize a work’s many (virtual) com- and incompossibilties”.21 This is why reinterpretations were described, in the context of digital preservation, as “the most radical preservation strategy”,22 for they open up a work to liveness, to the present.

  • 23 Mark Franko, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Reenactment (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2 (...)

9What is interesting about reenactments is an element of distortion, of difference. This difference can be used to challenge what, over time, may have become a safe relationship between performers (or a work) and the audience. By bringing the past into the present, to the audience’s presence, the reenactment reactivates the work and creates a new environment for it. In this sense, the reenactment not only re-presents but also re-presences the work, and the past, or origin, remains unreachable, while the bearing of witness to the past is impossible. Therefore, what is at stake is the question of the present and our presence within that. In this sense, reenactment is all about the present only that the present, of course, is, as Mark Franko reminds us, “historically defective”.23

10I now move on to a discussion of the case study that was selected for the 2020 LIMA workshop and explore the role of the audience in the context of preservation. The work was Dan Graham’s seminal performance Performer/Audience/Mirror (1975). This was selected because the piece was audience-centred and participatory, almost ante-litteram, in its use of video and focus on what has been described as “real time informational ‘feedback’”.24 The work was most probably a development of his earlier Performer/Audience/Sequence (1974),where, facing the audience, Graham described himself before describing them.

  • 25 Anne Rorimer, “Dan Graham: an Introduction”, in Dan Graham: Buildings and Signs, ed. Dan Graham an (...)

11The piece, which toured Europe extensively in 1977, is divided into four stages lasting five minutes each.25 The video of the work shows Graham facing an audience. Behind him is a mirror. In the first stage, Graham describes his own behaviour uninterruptedly and very quickly as a form of “self-reflection”, recounting both things the audience can see and not see. In the second stage, he describes the audience’s behaviour. In the third stage, he turns around to face the mirror, describing his own behaviour, as reflected in the mirror. The cameraman can be seen reflected in the mirror. In the final stage, Graham again describes the audience by looking at them in the mirror. When the work was shown at De Appel in 1977, the title was Audience/Performer/Mirror, indicating a new emphasis on the reversal of the relationship between the performer and the audience in relation to the original title.

  • 26 Anonym.
  • 27 Graham and Rorimer, 10.
  • 28 Alexander Alberro, ed., Two Way Mirror Power: Selected Writings by Dan Graham on His Art (Cambridg (...)
  • 29 Ibid.
  • 30 Lori Zippay, Electronic Art Intermix: Video (New York: Electronic Art Intermix, 1991).
  • 31 Marianne Brouver, ed., Dan Graham Works 1965-2000 (Düsseldorf: Richter Verlag, 2001): 58.
  • 32 Bennett Simpson and Chrissi Iles, eds., Dan Graham: Beyond (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2009) (...)

12Existing scholarship identified a number of features in this work. The piece is described as architectural, not only in that it uses a mirror to create a self-reflexive space but also in that it uses video, which Graham suggested functions semiotically as a mirror.26 As pointed out by the art historian Anne Rorimer, the audience is not only witnessing an event, they are implicated within it.27 In this sense, the piece is participatory. Graham himself located his work in the context of the “premise of 1960s modernist art”, which, he suggested, aimed “to present the present as immediacy – as pure phenomenological consciousness without the contamination of historical or other a priori meaning”.28 It suffices to remember John Cage’s work, 4’33” (1952), for example, to think about the role of presence in this context. Graham’s video time-delay installations and some of his performances in fact used what he described as a “‘Modernist’ notion of phenomenological immediacy”, which for him foregrounded “an awareness of the presence of the viewer’s own perceptual process”, while also casting doubt about this process “by showing the impossibility of locating a pure present tense”.29 Audience/Performer/Mirror spectacularises this intent and turns the awareness of the presence of the viewer into the actual work. Because of this process, the viewer is literally prompted to perceive herself or himself also in relation to other viewers, and so becomes the agent and environment that is both the object and subject of the work. For Graham, here the audience sees her or himself “objectively” while being “subjectively” perceived by the performer.30 However, there is a delay, he suggests, in that “the audience sees itself reflected by the mirror instantaneously, while the performer’s comments are slightly delayed and follow a continuous flow of time (since they are verbal)”. This slight delay is crucial. Thus, he continues: “The slightly delayed verbal description by the performer overlaps/undercuts the present (fully present) mirror view an audience member has of himself or herself and of the collective audience”.31 This operation, as Chrissi Iles indicates, not only involves “the audience in the performance directly”, it literally adds “the role of object to the observer”,32 who then is, as in the title, performing, spectating, and, being mirrored, acting as the object of the performance.

13The mirror occupies a very central position in Graham’s original piece. For Graham, mirrors constitute:

  • 33 Dan Graham, in Dan Graham: Writings on Video and Video Works 1970-1978, ed. Benjamin Buchloh (Zuri (...)
  • 34 Ibid.

metaphors for the Western concept of the “self”,33 referring to Jacques Lacan’s theorisation of the mirror phase during which the child first discovers her or his “self”. While for Graham the image in the mirror is perceived “as a static instant”, the world seen on video, by contrast, is in “temporal flux”.34

  • 35 Ibid., 62.
  • 36 Ibid., 69.

14It is worth noting that as the cinematographer appears behind the audience in the mirror, the viewer knows that they are being recorded, that their live action immediately becomes a historical document. In Essay on Video, Architecture and Television, Graham stated that “video is a present-time medium” in that “its image can be simultaneous with its perception by/of its audience (it can be the image of its audience perceiving)”; in this sense “the space time it presents, is continuous, unbroken, and congruent to that of the real time which is the shared time of its perceivers and their individual and collective real environments”.35 For Graham, in fact, “through the use of video-tape feedback, the performer and the audience, the perceiver and his process of perception, are linked, or co-identified”.36 Hence, Graham continues, by

  • 37 Ibid.

linking perception of exterior behaviour and its interior, mental perception, an observer’s “self”, like a topological moebious strip, can be apparently without “inside” or “outside”. […] Instead of self-perception being a series of fixed “perspectives” for a detached ego, observing past actions with the intent of locating “objective truth” about its essence, video feedback encloses the perceiver in what appears to be (only) what is subjectively present.37

15These reflections about his work suggest that it would be legitimate to interpret Performer/Audience/Mirror as an immanent reenactment of itself. Graham described his own actions as follows:

  • 38 Brouver, 49. See also Bennett Simpson and Chrissi Iles, eds., Dan Graham: Beyond (Cambridge, Mass. (...)

I face the audience. I begin continuously describing myself – my external features – although looking in the direction of the audience. I do this for eight minutes. Now I observe and phenomenologically describe the audience’s external appearance for eight minutes. I cease this and begin again to describe the audience’s responses… The pattern of alternating self-description/description of the audience continues until I decide to end the piece.38

  • 39 Brouver, Dan Graham Works 1965-2000, 49.

16A number of crucial findings are worth noting: this version of the piece, divided into three equally long parts, uses the terms “observe” and “phenomenologically describe”. This pairing of observation and description through phenomenology, the study of structures of consciousness as they surface from a first-person narrative to a second-person reenactment, is the motor of the piece. Here, as Thierry de Duve suggests, the performer and the audience are, in fact, “coupled into a loop by the experimental apparatus [dispositif], such that each of them is both subject and observer, together or alternately, in an uncontrollable oscillation”.39 This is key to the definition of presence in a performative context. Graham noted:

  • 40 Ibid.

When I am looking at the audience and describing myself, I am looking at them to help me see myself as I might be reflected in their responses […] by the second stage of my self-description I (my idea or projection of “myself”) am becoming more influenced or “contaminated” by my impressions of the reactions of the audience.40

  • 41 Ibid.

17At the end of the performance, “the audience’s projected definition of me helps to define themselves as a group and my projected definition of the audience tends to define my sense of myself”.41 These dynamics turn the work into an ecology defining the present as presence, in which the audience is also the environment of the work, and are rendered even more complex in the mirror version of the work when

  • 42 Ibid., 177.

members of the audience (because they can see and be seen on the mirror by other members of the audience) attempt to influence (through eye contact, gestures etc) the behaviour of other audience members, which thereby influences the performer’s description (of the audience’s behaviour).42

18In this sense, Performer/Audience/Mirror is a piece about power, control, and even manipulation, capturing the violence implicit in the act of turning immanent perception into utterance, the other into the self. Thus, Performer/Audience/Mirror is always already a reenactment. The videographer can only be seen remediating whilst being mediated in the mirror, and this makes him as crucial as the mirror.

19The workshop held at LIMA showed Graham’s iconic work through the De Appel documentation, alongside several reinterpretations: Adad Hannah’s Performer Audience Remake (2008); Ian Forsyth & Jane Pollard’s Audience Performer Fuck Off (2009); Judith Hopf’s What Do You Look Like/A Crypto Demonic Mystery (2006), and some documents pertaining to the 1977 version of the work at De Appel. During the evening, there were also a number of performances, including Keren Cytter’s Performer/Audience/Mirror (2012); Jan Robert Leegte’s Audience/Performer/Mirror (2019), Miron Galić’s Mirror (2020) and Emile Zile’s Performer/Audience/Lens (2018), plus artist talks, a panel discussion – with the new media theorist and curator Annet Dekker and the social philosopher, director and visual art historian Willem van Weelden, and myself, chaired by the curator Suzanne Sanders – and a number of reinterpretations. These were offered by van Weelden’s students at the Rietveld Academie, who had reenacted the work in Weelden’s course Unstable Media, and were then asked by LIMA to focus on the role or reinterpretation and remediation in this context. These reenactments and reinterpretations offered some fascinating insight into Graham’s original work and what it may mean to us today.

  • 43 Adad Hannah, “Extending the Instantaneous: Pose, Performance, Duration, and the Construction of th (...)
  • 44 Ibid., 144.
  • 45 Ibid., 145.
  • 46 Ibid., 146.
  • 47 Rex Butler, “Modernism more popular than populism”, Broadsheet, 43, no. 4 (2014): 19-28.

20Adad Hannah’s Performer Audience Remake (2008) freezes specific moments of Graham’s original performance into twelve “tableaux vivants”.43 Hannah uses a mirror, a video camera (the videographer can again be seen in the mirror), and maintains even the length of the original work. Unlike Graham’s original work, his piece, though, is silent, in colour and higher resolution than the original shown next to his own at the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina. Commenting on his work, Hannah noted that Performer Audience Remake allowed him to “further explore the phenomenological aspects” of his own work,44 in that the real-time feedback was what inspired him to create what he called a “remake”.45 For Hannah, the changes in the reenactment led to “a more true representation of the original even though this is patently untrue”.46 Rex Butler suggested that Hannah’s reenactment evidences how the performer becomes his own (the first) spectator, “sending back incessant updates on their state of mind in a series of Twitter-like reports”.47 Hannah’s work openly positions itself as a remake, and its focus is on the act of remediation. Hence by slowing down images reworked from Graham’s documentation, the performance places emphasis on the always-already archival quality of both Graham’s original and his own remake.

21Ian Forsyth & Jane Pollard’s Audience Performer Fuck Off (2009) consists of the documentation of a live performance in which the performer Iain Lee, a comedian and broadcaster who rose to fame as the co-presenter of “The 11 O’clock Show” on Channel 4, reenacts Graham’s original work at Site Gallery Sheffield. Forsyth and Pollard’s piece used the same structure as Graham’s Performer/Audience/Mirror, but it adopted a stand-up comedy genre to highlight the tension the piece creates between the performer and the audience. Using a microphone, Lee candidly confronts the audience about not looking forward to being in the room, and therefore focusing his performance on generating often-antagonistic live feedback targeted at specific audience members. At the same time, a videographer can again be seen in the mirror documenting the work. By commenting directly on people’s appearance (clothes, haircuts, glasses, or demeanour), Lee, who gets physically very close to his “victims”, provokes the audience to defend itself by responding to him directly. The revised title, Audience Performer Fuck Off, suggests that stand up here operates as the medium. The reflectivity of the mirror is absent, as is the phenomenological approach of the original and of Hannah’s remake. However, the discourse on power, control, and manipulation is more prominent as the stand-up genre’s banter is used to engage and bounce off the audience.

  • 48 Galerie Andreas Huber, “Press release Judith Hopf” (March 10 – April 21, 2007). <https://media.con (...)

22Judith Hopf’s What Do You Look Like/A Crypto Demonic Mystery (2006) is the title of a group of sculptures, developed by the artist between 2006 and 2007, which is shown alongside a restaging of Graham’s piece. The press release states that the title “follows the assumption that nobody is capable of discovering what one looks like”. This, in turn, is said to create “an inner innocence” towards physical “appearance” that is used to define a relationship with an object on view.48 In this work, the emphasis seems to be neither on phenomenology nor power, control and manipulation; rather, the artist questions language’s ability to capture how we relate to the world in the first place.

23In contrast with the Keren Cytter’s Performer/Audience/Mirror (2010) was performed at the Van Abbemuseum in 2010 and at the Tanks in 2012.It featured two actors (male and female) offering a subtle feminist critique of the original work. Here, the male actor is seen “closely” replicating Graham’s performance, while the female actor “relays a dream-like story of sex change – bringing gender and identity politics to the foreground”.49 While Cytter’s work has the same title as Graham’s 1975 version of the work, her reenactment illustrates how gender has played a role in creating the original work and in our reading of it.

24Whereas Graham’s Audience/Performer/Mirror, as well as the other reinterpretations cited above, were shown in video format, Jan Robert Leegte’s Mirror (2020) sees a single performer interpreted by Miron Galić, Leegte’s former student at the Royal Academy of Fine Art at The Hague. When the performance starts, Galić is positioned on the floor in front of his computer and a microphone. Behind him, a screen shows a close up of his face. Two pointers can be seen on the screen. One is mobile, and the second remains static. The performer operates one of the pointers, forcing it to circle around his semi-open mouth slowly. Subsequently, he operates the pointer to circle his left and then right eye. After completing these actions, the performer sits among the audience facing, along with the rest of the audience, the empty stage and screen showing only the pointers. The pointer operated by Galić then slowly moves around the screen until it joins and rests on the second static pointer.

25Leegte’s piece a remediation and a reinterpretation, more than a reenactment of the original rewrites the relationship between the performer and the audience by using the pointer, which is the indicator showing the current position for interaction on a monitor. This decision raises the question of what has become of the performer in the reenacted work. Here, the performer uses the pointer to draw attention to his mouth and eyes, our means to describe and observe the world. Only his eyes, though, seem to see the pointer, and his mouth, an empty orifice, does not produce any words. The self-referential quality of Graham’s original performance, the fact that it was always already a reenactment of itself, is taken to an extreme. There is no performer and no audience in Leegte’s title, only a mirror, which captures the relationship between the two screens (of the computer and the projector), as much as between the pointers and their implicit agents (the performer and the audience), with the machine left by itself to ultimately “perform” the work.

26Interestingly, in the discussion after the piece, Leegte indicated that when LIMA asked him to do a remediation of Graham’s work, he thought about one of his earlier works, Mouse Pointer (2003), which has a seemingly static pointer that mocks the movements of the user-operated pointer, and decided to make a version of this work with the camera backing, using a flipped live webcam feed so it would work as a mirror. He then remembered that his former student Miron Galić had created a work, Cursor (2016), which was a tracing of his face and thought to re-enact that within his own reenactment of the Dan Graham piece. Thus, Mirror, as a reenactment within a reenactment of a piece that in itself is all about reenactment, literally operates as a mirror, but this time, reflecting one artwork within another, through a performer who does no longer see or speak and therefore can only join the audience to witness the performative turn of the technological apparatus.

27In Emile Zile’s Performer/Audience/Lens (2018), Zile stands directly in front of the audience. Behind him is a video camera that records his live performance and projects it on the screen behind him so that the audience sees him from both angles. In the first part, Zile describes his own movements, such as the inflation of an invisible mattress, and the audience’s reaction to them simultaneously. Unlike Graham though, he describes not only these movements but also his biological functioning, the release of endomorphism, sweating, etc., thus turning the observational lens towards the “inside” of the body, and the “outside”. Zile clearly acknowledges the public, “I am the performer and you are the audience”, suggesting that there are in fact “many lenses amongst us”; referring herewith to his and the audience’s mobile devices, the ongoing notifications from his phone, such as Uber asking him for a 5-star rating, which are the underwater cables that visualise the journey of the internet. About halfway through the performance, the light changes and becomes darker. The distances described are no longer just those between the audience in the room and the performer. At this point, Zile turns his back on the audience and starts to talk to them through the screen. He types on his phone, live streaming to Instagram, thus creating two audiences, one in the room and one on the phone in his hand. The audience in the room is live. The audience on the phone, he says, is also live but not interactive, though it could weave. Zile then concludes the performance by imagining himself looking at the footage of the performance in the future with his children in a nursing home.

28Zile’s re-interpretation of Graham’s work remediates between three different audiences, existing at three different points in time and space: the audience in the room, witnessing the event live; the audience online, witnessing the mediated event live, and the hypothetical future audience, who may one day witness the event as historical documentation. In so doing he draws attention to the fact that today’s live feed is, already now, tomorrow’s history. In his discussion with Suzanne Sanders, which followed the performance, Zile suggested that the title of his work could well have been Performer/Audience/Network or Performer/Audience/Camera rather than Performer Audience/Lens, largely as a reflection of the similarities between the historical period in which Graham produced the original work and our times. Zile suggested that the additional principal layer offered by his reinterpretation consisted of the additional layer of audiences provided by the online distribution of images through social media and, possibly also, by the simultaneous understanding of a performance as a live event and a document. Crucially here, the mirror is a lens that operates, as well as a camera and network. Because of this, the relation between the performer and the audience becomes multiple and the present assumes a rhizomatic structure. While this work, as in Graham’s case, remains about presence, our presence here, and invariably our present, is fundamentally at stake.

29The “Unfold workshop” concluded with several reinterpretations offered by van Weelden’s students at the Rietveld Academie, which focussed on remediating Graham’s original work. As in Zile’s piece, the students used social media to reflect or mirror the audience, limiting the performer’s role to an online content interpreter and, herewith, reflecting (i.e. flipping) the dynamics at stake in Graham’s original work. Here, the audience describes and documents itself, while the performer becomes the sole spectator of this act.

30The workshop at LIMA offered both the opportunity to think about the role of reenactments and reinterpretation in the context of preservation and to provide valuable insight into the lasting “attraction” and “power” of Graham’s work. This, LIMA had suggested, may be located somewhere else for each of the artists involved in the workshop, and each new work might therefore highlight, and so help to preserve, a different aspect or iteration of the “original”. Thus, the academy students, who had been asked to reflect on Audience/Performer/Mirror (the De Appel version) – what it may stand for today, which part of the work is still relevant, what needs to be “updated” – identified a reversal in roles in that the “original” audience is now the performer, meaning, perhaps, that the “original” performer can now only be the documenter.

Notes

1 Gaby Wijers and Lara Garcia Diaz, “UNFOLD: Mediation by Re-interpretation Annual Project Review Report” (March 2016-March 2017), Amsterdam, LIMA. See also Gaby Wijers, “Unfold: the Strategic Importance of Re-interpretation for Media Art Mediation and Conservation”, in Mémoire_Vives: from Nam June Paik to Sliders_Lab, ed. Jean-Marie Dallet (Tielt: Nannoo, 2019): 96-101; and Gaby Wijers, “Unfold: the Strategic Importance of Reinterpretation for Media Art Mediation and Conservation” in Over and Over and Over Again: Re-enactment Strategies in Contemporary Arts and Theory, ed. Cristina Baldacci, Clio Nicastro and Arianna Sforzini (Cultural Enquiry, 21, Berlin: ICI Berlin Press): 193-203.

2 Gabriella Giannachi and Jonah Westerman, eds., Histories of Performance Documentation (London and New York: Routledge, 2017): 116.

3 Amelia Jones, “‘The Artist is Present’: Artistic Re-enactments and the Impossibility of Presence”, The Drama Review, 55, no. 1 (2011): 16-45.

4 Robin George Collingwood, The Idea of History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994).

5 Anke Bangma, Stephen Rushton, and Florian Wüst, Experience, Memory, Re-Enactment (Rotterdam: Piet Zwart Institute, 2005): 6.

6 Ibid., 7.

7 Sven Lütticken, Jennifer Allen, and Peggy Phelan, eds., Life, Once More: Forms of Re-enactment in Contemporary Art (Rotterdam: Witte de With, 2005): 27.

8 Inke Arns and Gabriele Horn, History Will Repeat Itself (Dortmund: Hartware Medien Kunstverein and Berlin: KW Institute for Contemporary Art, 2008): 2.

9 Bangma, et al., 14.

10 Lütticken, et al., 33.

11 Ibid., 40.

12 Ibid., 5.

13 Antonio Caronia, Janez Janša, Domenico Quaranta, eds., RE:akt! Reconstruction, Re-enactment, Re-porting (Brescia: LINK Editions, 2014): 18.

14 Paul Clarke in Performing Archives/Archives of Performance, ed. Gunhild Borggreen and Rune Gade (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2013).

15 Lütticken, et al., 195.

16 Bangma, et al., 6.

17 Arns and Horn, 7.

18 Ibid., 43.

19 Ibid.

20 Ibid., 63.

21 André Lepecki, “The Body as Archive: Will to Re-Enact and the Afterlives of Dances,” Dance Research Journal, 42, no. 2 (2010): 31.

22 Alain Depocas, Jon Ippolito, and Caitlin Jones, eds., The Variable Media Approach, Performance Through Change (New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 2003): 128.

23 Mark Franko, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Reenactment (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018): 3.

24 Anonym, “Performer/Audience/Mirror Dan Graham” <https://www.vdb.org/titles/performer-audience-mirror> [accessed 7 September 2020].

25 Anne Rorimer, “Dan Graham: an Introduction”, in Dan Graham: Buildings and Signs, ed. Dan Graham and Anne Rorimer (Chicago and Oxford: The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago and Museum of Modern Art Oxford, 1981): 9.

26 Anonym.

27 Graham and Rorimer, 10.

28 Alexander Alberro, ed., Two Way Mirror Power: Selected Writings by Dan Graham on His Art (Cambridge Mass.: The MIT Press 1999): 144.

29 Ibid.

30 Lori Zippay, Electronic Art Intermix: Video (New York: Electronic Art Intermix, 1991).

31 Marianne Brouver, ed., Dan Graham Works 1965-2000 (Düsseldorf: Richter Verlag, 2001): 58.

32 Bennett Simpson and Chrissi Iles, eds., Dan Graham: Beyond (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2009): 69.

33 Dan Graham, in Dan Graham: Writings on Video and Video Works 1970-1978, ed. Benjamin Buchloh (Zurich: Lars Muller Publishers, 2012 [1979]): 67.

34 Ibid.

35 Ibid., 62.

36 Ibid., 69.

37 Ibid.

38 Brouver, 49. See also Bennett Simpson and Chrissi Iles, eds., Dan Graham: Beyond (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2009).

39 Brouver, Dan Graham Works 1965-2000, 49.

40 Ibid.

41 Ibid.

42 Ibid., 177.

43 Adad Hannah, “Extending the Instantaneous: Pose, Performance, Duration, and the Construction of the Photographic Image from Muybridge to the Present Day”, a Thesis is the Humanities Programme Presented in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy at Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec (2013): 146 <https://core.ac.uk/reader/211516520> [accessed 10 September 2020].

44 Ibid., 144.

45 Ibid., 145.

46 Ibid., 146.

47 Rex Butler, “Modernism more popular than populism”, Broadsheet, 43, no. 4 (2014): 19-28.

48 Galerie Andreas Huber, “Press release Judith Hopf” (March 10 – April 21, 2007). <https://media.contemporaryartlibrary.org/store/doc/1007/docfile/original-4805715a085ee2991aa8c108eb8d33f3.pdf> [accessed 10 September 2020].

49 Keren Cytter, press release Performance/Audience /Mirror (2012) <https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/performance-year-zero/keren-cytter-performer-audience-mirror> [accessed 12 September 2020].

Auteur

Gabriella Giannachi is full professor in Performance and New Media at the University of Exeter. Her research has been funded by AHRC, EU, Innovate UK and RCUK, and she has worked in partnership with Tate, Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery, The Natural History Museum, The Science Museum, The Photographers’ Gallery and LiMA. She has published a number of books including: Virtual Theatres (2004); The Politics of New Media Theatre (2007); Archive Everything (2016 and, in Italian translation, 2021), and Technologies of the Self-Portrait (2022 and, in Italian translation, 2023) She co-authored (with N. Kaye) Performing Presence: Between the Live and the Simulated (2011), and (with S. Benford) Performing Mixed Reality (2011). She co-edited (with M. Shanks, N. Kaye) Archaeologies of Presence (2012); (with J. Westerman) Histories of Performance Documentation (2017); (with S. Franco) Moving Spaces: Enacting Dance, Performance and the Digital in the Museum (2021); (with A. Dekker) Documentation as Art: Expanded Digital Practices (2022).

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