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Call for Papers - Symposium: Collecting and Conserving Performance Art

In June 2016, the specialty group “Modern Art and Cultural Heritage” (MKKM) of the “German Association of Conservator-Restorers” (VDR) will host an international, two-day symposium on the topic of collecting and conserving performance art. The symposium will be held in English and will take place at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany.
Over the last decade, art collections and museums around the world have seen a rapid increase in the acquisition of historic and contemporary performance art and its relics. This emerging collection practice challenges artists and collection caretakers alike: How can the time- and site-specific experience of an artist’s live performance be expanded and transformed into an artwork with a sustainable collection life? What status do performance props and documentary materials hold within a collection, and how is their status determined? How can the artwork’s identity and integrity be preserved and experienced now and in the future? What information and components should be entering the collection to ensure the authentic reactivation of the work? How are copyright laws, artist’s rights and future interpreter’s rights accounted for in the acquisition contract? What are the vulnerabilities inherent to a performance artwork? And how are preservation risks identified, documented and responded to?
This symposium approaches issues surrounding the acquisition of performance art by bringing together conservators, curators, art historians, artists, collectors, researchers, art educators and other professionals, who are involved in the production, distribution, collection, documentation and conservation of performance art. Perspectives on heritage development and documentation in adjacent disciplines, such as theater and dance, are invited to inform the discussion. Under investigation will be a variety of existing practices for bringing an artist’s live performance into a  collection, including the license to re-perform the work based on an artist-provided score; film and video recordings of historic or recent performance iterations; autonomous art installations; documentation created by former audiences, participants and producers; and performance props and other objects that represent the live event.
Contributing papers are requested to cover a 20-minute talk and may address issues of authorship, authenticity, originality, ephemerality, documentation, audience experience, conservation practice development, artist involvement, re-enactment of historic performances, legal rights issues, and other relevant topics. These topics may be explored by means of practical case studies, theoretical discourse, interdisciplinary research, or other approaches of investigation.
Interested authors are invited to submit an abstract. All abstracts must be submitted in English. Papers may not be presented or published elsewhere prior to the symposium. Subsequently to the symposium, qualifying papers are intended to be published in a peer-reviewed, electronic publication, edited and published by the VDR.
Deadline for abstract submission: July 15, 2015
Send abstract to:
Abstracts should include:

- Title of presentation
- Name and contact information of all authors
- Abstract text: approx. 400-500 words

The abstracts will be reviewed by the conference committee and authors will be notified by October 15, 2015.
Please direct all questions to the conference committee at
Conference committee: Andrea Sartorius, Esther Rapoport, Eva Rieß, Joanna Phillips
See also:




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