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The building as stage for the hand, 2008

Installation photo from a starting point is..., 2008

Laura Gannon
Flávia Müller Medeiros
Ruth Proctor
Nicholas Quinn

Gasworks presents Showtime, an open submission programme focused on the expanding field of performance. Proposals by artists Laura Gannon, Flávia Müller Medeiros, Ruth Proctor and choreographer Nicholas Quinn were selected for commissioning by a panel composed of Alessio Antoniolli (Director, Gasworks), Anna Colin (Exhibitions Curator, Gasworks), Vanessa Desclaux (Assistant Curator, Tate Modern), Marianne Mulvey (freelance writer) and Pablo Bronstein (artist).

In an age when “we do no longer just work, we perform”, as Jan Verwoert has put it, Showtime perpetrates the imperative to perform by commanding the delivery of something as yet unknown, but right on time. It is hoped that Showtime will reflect a significant direction in performance and what it means in this moment. What follows is a subjective pre- and post-event projection, a collection of further ideas on what you’re about to experience, what you thought you saw…


Laura Gannon’s work questions the placement of an individual body in socio-cultural environments, specifically within sites of particular architectural or historical interest to the artist. For Showtime, Gannon will collaborate with choreographer and dancer Mel Teall to bring a live element to film material gathered at Robin Hood Gardens, an iconic public housing building in Poplar. Flávia Müller Medeiros uses performance, photography and video to explore how language shapes understanding, and its relationship to artistic representation. For Showtime, the artist will intiate an exchange with actor Ben Lewis about João Francisco dos Santos, a Brazilian drag artist known as Madame Satã. Medeiros and Lewis will develop a semi-fictional narrative around dos Santos, who, born into a family of former slaves in Northern Brazil, battled with the stigma of his illiteracy and homosexuality.

Responding to particular spaces and times, Ruth Proctor describes her practice as staging performative moments with sculpture, film and drawing. For Showtime Proctor will set a sparse stage of new works within and around which the choreographed movements of four performers will evolve. As a moving tableau of imagery, projection, light and sound, the live work will create a tension between the transience of the spectacular event and the physical impossibility of perfect repetition. Choreographer and dancer Nicholas Quinn will present a quasi-didactic performance lecture at Gasworks. Using his written text on conceptual dance Give it a twist, give it a twirl or do nothing… as theoretical underpinning, Quinn will explore alternative conceptions of choreography to challenge more traditional and representational modes of dance, and the process of learning.

Two events will bring a critical dimension to the four Showtime commissions. A History of Performance in 20 minutes, is a lecture by curator Guillaume Désanges performed by actor Frédéric Cherboeuf. Like a “living exhibition” this conference divides the history of performance into ten seminal gestures. It will be followed by the presentation of a future project, and discussion with the performers. The second event will take an open seminar format led by Showtime’s selectors Pablo Bronstein, Vanessa Desclaux and Marianne Mulvey inviting presentation and discussion around the idea of an open submission on performance, and specific themes arising from the selected artists’ work.

Showtime is the third open submission project Gasworks has organised since 2006, each concentrating on one art form and open to participants working across a range of disciplines. Previous projects were  Stick*Stamp*Fly in 2007 and Blink in 2006.

Showtime is co-curated and organised by Marianne Mulvey with the assistance of Robert Leckie.



Friday 1 August 2008, 7-9pm
At Gasworks

A History of Performance in 20 minutes, by Guillaume Désanges and Frédéric Cherboeuf. Followed by a presentation and discussion with the lecturers.

TALK: selected works
Thursday 7 August 2008, 7-9pm
At Gasworks

The Building as Stage for the Hand by Laura Gannon
Untitled by Flávia Müller Medeiros

Saturday 9 August 2008, 7-9pm
At Gasworks

The Triumph of... by Ruth Proctor
Give it a twist, give it a twirl or do nothing... by Nicholas Quinn

Saturday 9 August 2008, 5.30-6.30pm
At Gasworks

An open seminar led by Showtime’s selectors Pablo Bronstein (artist), Vanessa Desclaux (Assistant Curator, Tate Modern) and Marianne Mulvey (Showtime co-curator).