chapter  Chapter 10
14 Pages

An art encounter

Rethinking, renaming, redefining
ByGwen Robertson

The history of performance art is the history of a permissive, open-ended medium with endless variables, executed by artists impatient with the limitations of more established art forms, and determined to take their art directly to the public. Community performance artists who today engage communities well beyond the traditional parameters of the art world–working in hospices, community centers, festivals, etc–seemingly transcend the limitations of the old fashioned art world of style, ‘isms’, and objects. The ability to define a cultural space for the community performance ‘artist’, then, is critically important. Looking at Encounters, for example, their ‘artistic practice’, as defined by the Sheffield City Council, included, ‘walking “round the Lansdowne Estate, meeting and talking to people”’ and that, through this, they had ‘built up a picture of some of the issues and feelings from within the Estate’.