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#48 | between the lines 9

25. - 31. July 2016 / Rehlovice, Czech Republic
Performance Seminar
in cooperation with TU-Dresden - Institut für Kunst- und Musikwissenschaft and PAS | Performance Art Studies
venue: Kulturni Centrum, in Rehlovice, Czech Republic

teachers: Michael Barrett, Marie-Luise Lange and BBB Johannes Deimling

Performances in Rehlovice, Kulturni Centrum:

Anna Sonnenberg & Lilly Magdalen Goebel
Isabel Apel
Lena Wachs
Leonore Hecht
Pauline Bonikowski
Josua Kühne
Charlotte Runck
Lisa Nickolaus
Lisa Tostmann & BBB Johannes Deimling

Performances in Dresden, 'hole of fame':

Anna Sonnenberg
Isabel Apel
Leonore Hecht
Pauline Bonikowski
Josua Kühne
Lisa Nickolaus
Marie-Luise Lange
Michael Barrett
BBB Johannes Deimling


This summary briefly outlines my experience with PAS, BBB Johannes Deimling, and Marie-Luise Lange, and briefly describes our collective interest in creating a framework of critical pedagogy for pre-service art educators at a time when institution cutbacks and lack of teacher education jeopardize the field of performance art education. When compared with other fields within the arts, there is a drastic drop off and therefore, a need for additional literature pertaining to performance art methodology, research, and theory.

Over the past 15 years, my path has crossed numerous art educators with shared feelings of uncertainty and lack of understanding performance art as critical pedagogy. According to Albert Bandura, these signs of powerlessness and defeatist attitudes could be referred to as symptoms of low self-efficacy (Cherry 2014). One might infer it is a problem, which stems from a lack of exdperience and educational resources accessible to art educators, therefore leading to difficulty identifying and addressing the sometimes complex, social and political issues of the fledgling field of performance art education.

After my search for performance art teacher education in the United States had fallen short, I expanded my search to Europe and eventually contacted PAS founder and director, BBB Johannes Deimling. I accept a generous invitation from Performance Art Studies to begin a nine-week internship, which included a study at the Kulturni Centrum, in Rehlovice, Czech Republic. During this time, I had the chance to observe and focus my attention on performance art anxiety, self-efficacy, and teacher development among pre-service art educators from the University of Dresden.

For nearly ten years, the study has established itself as a recognized educational platform where positive dialogue and open confrontation among different cultures and artistic expressions can flourish. On the first of the eight-day adventure, I quickly came to understand the environment as a major site for the exchange of scholarly information in the field of performance art. The eight-days consisted of a comprehensive display of historical performance art documentation, along with art education by contemporary established and emerging international performance educators.

In addition to internship responsibilities, I had the privilege of presenting alongside these two dedicated educators, while helping create a springboard for the discussion of art theory, practical application, and critical thinking in educational terms. During this time I noticed a series of focus areas that had developed, with the first calling for a shift in skill base, from what was previously expected among pre-service art educators including the cultivation of imagination, perception, qualitative interpretation, and artistic skill mastery (Finley, 2005). The second focus area, simply questioned receiving and interpreting performance art, and required pre-service educators to become active analyzers and participants in the artworks. Lastly, the third area of focus moved beyond visual style and transcended toward social purpose. The BIG question no longer asked what is good performance art, but rather what is performance art good for?

Over the course of the study, Johannes and Marie-Luise heavily emphasized a contemporary shift of performance art as critical pedagogy away from individual accomplishments and toward a more social understanding and contribution. As an Artist/Researcher/Teacher, the success of their methodology was very apparent and it was a pleasure to witness their ability to entice pre-service art educators to revisit critical performance art pedagogy from a different perspective, seeing it through fresh eyes, and calling into question a singular point of view (Knowles & Cole, 2008).

Michael Barrett, 2016