A British art curator looks at reenacting (in terms of art) and, not surprisingly, has viewpoints entirely different than ours. I have marked some passages of possible interest to historical reenactors in red. An interesting article with all sorts of information. For instance, did you know we reenact largely because of cAMP-response element binding proteins? - Jonah
Once More…With Feeling: Reenactment in Contemporary Art and Culture
By Robert Blackson (Art Journal, Spring 2007)
Curatorially speaking, the arrangement of objects hanging on the inside of the fridge door is as interesting as the magnetized "hang" of pictures and recipes on the outside. Likewise, the battery of camouflaged men pressed against the cold shelf of a snowy hill, feigning death in a benign "war," are the ingredients of a kitchen-table culture as rich in interpretative rewards as a bunch of artists reenacting David Bowie's last gig as Ziggy Stardust. The combined appreciation of these charades points to a growing flexibility in our palette of tastes between contemporary culture and art. It is where these circumstantial boundaries have persistently overlapped in the curious phenomenon of reenactment that I have focused this essay and attempted to unbraid the strands of performance, history, and memory that bind this practice.
As a curator of both contemporary art and culture, I am interested in researching and displaying the dependency between these two sprawling disciplines. My curiosity about reenactment developed from this commitment three years ago, when I curated the exhibition We Could Have Invited Everyone. This group show centered on artists and self-made monarchs who have created their own countries. Filled with the flags, national anthems, passports, constitutions, crowns, and other symbols of sovereignty from these countries, the exhibition, which included a naturalization station where you could create and join your own country, was infused with a spirit of independence and activism. (n1)
Few of the men and women who had started their own countries or "micronations," as they are formally known, were satisfied with the political status quo of their home states or respective immigration options. And these creative practitioners decided that rather than fight against the grain of an established political system, they would create their own instead. This empowering and frequently alienating decision often left them legally and geographically isolated from friends and relations. Ultimately, however, their uncompromising will for personal liberty and political autonomy, as evidenced by the micronational treasures on display, was a liberating and humbling experience.
The birth of a nation, regardless of its political orientation or population, is often coupled with a shrewd self-awareness and the desire to document and historicize its creation. I was surprised to find that many micronations are also eager to assimilate their radical progress into historical tropes of conventional nationhood, such as documenting the signing of important papers or charting the country's founding through a lineage of battles either bureaucratic or bloody. The extreme regalia imposed on these occasions by micronations are often, I think, a form of preemptive compensation for the lack of a doting national citizenry that typically enshrines such events in patriotic folklore over successive generations. With more of an audience than a population, many micronations' urgency for the appearance of a historical occasion results in a conceptual collapse between a country's creation and the creation of its "history."
To invert this developing curatorial study, I began to research a vein of activity that, at the time, I appreciated as the direct opposite of making history. Reenactment seemed to provide this contrast--from creating history to copying it. This treadmill of an exercise, literally covering the same ground with little cause or circumstance beyond the enclaves of fastidious men devoted to the pastime, was an activity I knew little about. As my research into this historical phenomenon grew (I shouldn't have been surprised to learn there is a history of reenactment), my initial assumptive appraisal was continually and creatively proven wrong. The reversal was caused not only by the varied ways in which contemporary means of reenactment are packaged and interpreted as art forms, hobbies, musical genres, religious traditions, scientific methodologies, or trades, but also by the distinct emancipatory agency of reenactment in comparison to its kin of simulation, reproduction, and repetition, with which it is often confused. Reenactment is distinctive in that it invites transformation through memory, theory, and history to generate unique and resonating results. As Sven Lütticken concludes in his lucid essay "An Arena in Which to Reenact," reenactment "may lead to artistic acts that, while not instantly unleashing a 'tremendous emancipatory potential,' create a space--a stage--for possible and as yet unthinkable performances." (n2)
This liberating trait of reenactment is its signature quality and is what draws both practitioners and audiences to it again and again. This quality and its relationship to both history and memory shaped the curatorial premise for the exhibition Once More…With Feeling: Reenactment in Contemporary Art and Culture and also forms the connecting thread to which I will return throughout this essay. (n3) However, as a matter of housekeeping, I feel it is first necessary to provide a more thorough delineation of reenactment, simulation, repetition, and reproduction by way of their individual merits.
Simulation, although similar to reenactment, differs in that it is
an artificial and prescribed projection often constructed to facilitate the
prediction of a future conclusion. In this way, simulation can be appreciated
as a practice in service to theory. Lunar landing simulations and the
Israeli-built urban warfare training sites such as "
Repetition is an exercise often stuck in the present. Its anticipatory action lends itself to habit and is rarely intended to inspire a keener sense of awareness or personal agency. For these reasons, all reenactments are repetitions, but few repetitions become reenactments. A curious example of this is the repetitive and often obscene gesticulations of a baseball pitcher's wind-up. This choreography is scrupulously performed in the superstitious hope that it will reap the same success as an earlier pitch.
To create a reproduction is to make an image of the original. "Image is straight from the Latin 'imago,' related through the root to imitari, 'to imitate,' so an image is an imitation…" (n5) Imitations and reproductions are stand-ins, empty shirts rarely afforded a purpose or motivation beyond the limits of the original. Reproductions such as the 1927 re-creation of Thomas Edison's first recording of a human voice in 1887 (singing "Mary Had a Little Lamb") onto a tinfoil cylinder often require the human mimicry of an earlier action. However, the resonance of the project is embedded more in the dumb object than the act that reproduced it.
Drawing personal motivation from either your past or historical references is the conventional element necessary to construct a reenactment. The degree to which performers empower themselves through layers of authenticity is secondary to their willingness to allow personal interpretation rather than verisimilitude to influence their actions. (n6) This openness to interpretation lends itself to another signature and often overlooked characteristic of reenactment: once undertaken, it need not follow the path provided by historical evidence. Many reenactments embrace a "free-flowing" or "open-ended" style in which, for example, countries vanquished in war can rise victoriously in the reenactment of that war. (n7) This shift in responsibility toward personal preference and away from prescriptions of the past continually shapes our regard for reenactment.
The possibility for interpretation and interaction with a past (whose past?) is often a recurring and confusing issue when reenactment is discussed. The confusion stems from a lack of agreement as to what the past can signify. In his book Re-thinking History, Keith Jenkins determines that the past is not history. Jenkins's treatise, first published in 1991, was informed by theories of history that have been discussed previously in regard to art, architecture, sociology, and philosophy. However, this polemical work is particularly significant for its persistent relevance to the construction of history and the terms by which it is defined. In a discussion of reenactment it is important to uphold Jenkins's separation of past and history. He maintains the former is a necessary "construction site" of facts on which the latter is built. Jenkins believes that facts impose no meaning in and of themselves. According to Alun Munslow in his preface to Jenkins's book, creation of "the past as history" is only possible with the aid of what Roland Barthes has coined the "reality effect," a representation of the past through the form (history) we give to its reality. (n8) This construct, as we know, is a useful fiction written by historians for a variety of purposes. Significantly, for the purposes of this essay, Jenkins's separation of the past and history extends an unspoken epistemological agency to art and memory so that these creative practices might use the past to build and replay their own constructed histories.
The scale of the past rests on two planes: that which can be described as a personal past--for which we rely on our memories for reassurance--and that past which is best described as history. Absent from Jenkins's assessment of past and history, but essential to a consideration of reenactments of modern history, is memory. Prior to the 1970s, the ability of personal memory to accurately replay one's past was considered almost infallible. (n9) Consider all of the courtroom dramas hinging on the memory of eyewitness accounts. It was not until the mid-1970s and Dr. Elizabeth Loftus's pioneering research of memory and its susceptibility to persuasion that the difference between our memory and our past became well documented. (n10) Following on from the words of Mark Twain, "When I was younger I could remember anything, whether it happened or not, but I am getting old, and soon I shall remember only the latter," Loftus's false-memory experiments, such as "Lost in the Mall," proved that memory, like history, is a creative act. (n11) In the construction of modern history, memory's visceral power provides an emotional counterbalance to history's predisposition as an empirical accumulation of evidence. This powerful volley plays a significant role in reenactments of contemporary events in artworks by Jeremy Deller and Omer Fast.
Both of the artworks described below place the emotional and psychological determination of the participating individuals in the foreground of the reenactments. The reliance on personal memories and the history they invariably create is antithetical to some forms of conventional reenactments that attempt to surrender the baggage of individual identity to better reflect an impersonal history. This shift, although perhaps not immediately intended as therapeutic, resembles the work of the clinical neurologist Oliver Sacks. Sacks's illuminating work in redefining case histories argues that a patient's personal history is just as integral as the disease with which he or she is afflicted, if not more so. As he writes in his preface to The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, "Such histories [of the afflicting disease] are a form of natural history--but they tell us nothing about the individual and his history; they convey nothing of the person, and the experience of the person as he faces, and struggles to survive, his disease… We must deepen a case history to a narrative or tale: only then do we have a 'who' as well as a 'what,' a real person… in relation to disease--in relation to the physical." (n12)
In 2001 Jeremy Deller, with the support of the London-based public-art agency Artangel, reenacted a period from the 1984-85 British miners' strike and in so doing created a poignant perspective between personal and political histories. The episode Deller selected to reenact was a violent and largely misconstrued clash between mounted police officers and striking miners. Significant to this reenactment is the fact that Deller, in large, relied on memories from both miners and police officers to re-create the battle scene, rather than the copious quantities of biased newspaper articles that initially reported the story. (n13) By allowing personal memory to direct the course of the reenactment, rather than the newspaper accounts, Deller's work, The Battle of Orgreave, and the Mike Figgis film that documented the performance were effectively righting old wrongs.
Specific to a discussion of Deller's reenactment is the
emancipatory role it may have played in the community life of the northern
English villages involved. The end of the miners' strike was typified by a
vilification of the miners by the media. The miners and their unions were
blamed not only for disorderly conduct toward the police force sent by the
Thatcher government to quell "the enemy within," but also for
crippling the energy economy of
The English author George Orwell wrote in his novel 1984 that "those who control the present control the past and those who control the past control the future." By allowing the miners' memories to control the course of the reenactment, Deller's performance provided languishing mining communities a way to act outside the historical script determined for them by the government and media. Thus the artwork "became a part of [the strike's] own history, an epilogue to the experience." (n14)
Omer Fast's 2003 video Spielberg's
List merges similar notions of memories with history. The sixty-five-minute
work centers on a winter journey to
The haunting film set constructed for Schindler's List has become a site of pilgrimage for tourists, predominantly American. (n15) The popularity of this fabrication is testament not only to the power of Spielberg's film but, perhaps more important, to the uncanny effect that representations of traumatic experiences hold over a vicarious audience. The British artist Rod Dickinson, who has staged many reenactments, explains, "Re-enactment seems, as a form of representation, strangely well equipped to address moments of collective trauma and anxiety.… Almost as if, taking a Debordian turn, that the re-enactment operates as the uncanny of the spectacle. A live image, in real space and real time, but simultaneously displaced." (n16) The displacement created by the abstracted representation of a traumatic history can be dramatically similar to that of memorials.
Some reenactments, like those of the battle of
Numerous publications cite these and other easily digestible forms
of heritage, such as pageants, memorials, another sailing of the Mayflower, reconstructed castles, etc.,
as a bourgeois political confection that began in nineteenth-century Europe and
America. During this time
most bourgeois cultural production was centered on creating an antiquated
hodgepodge of appropriated styles of cooking, music, literature, art, and
architecture. By integrating elements from these historic periods (for example
neo-Gothic architecture) into the contemporary, the culture was appreciated to
gain significance and therefore a greater purpose. (n17) Forming in tandem with
this amalgamation of historical cultures was the budding Industrial Revolution.
An inevitable side effect of this migration from a rural base to the city was
the slow rot of agrarian rights and calendar customs such as gleaning and
harvest home. To supplant the loss, the new working class invented customary
rights and holidays as a form of quasi-social protest reinstating their value
and relationship to the ruling class. An example of this was the (short-lived)
To curb the "rough" invented and imported culture of the
working classes, the bourgeoisie and the Victorian state in
From this tug-of-war between Victorian sensibilities, curbing the
"rough" customs of the working classes and a defiance by these same
classes to retain the identity formed by their customs, a number of
reenactments began whose origins remain contested between the opposing
factions. An example is the annual tradition of Up-helly-aa. This
reenactment/festival, steeped in Norse folklore, takes place in the Shetland
Lerwick, meaning "mud bay" in Norse, is the island
capital of Shetland and the historical seat of Up-helly-aa. Since the 1870s the
last Tuesday night of January in this, the most northerly and isolated
community of the British Isles, has been lit with torches carried by hundreds of bearded Shetland men
parading through the streets dressed as Vikings. Reminiscent of the working class's insolence toward
governing authority, each Up-helly-aa begins with the reading of "The
Bill." Posted in the town
One of the many curious facts about Up-helly-aa is that what most likely originated as a top-down, authoritarian pageant has now been inverted and subsequently "ruled" by an entire (male) population, which from it derives if not invents a localized "memory" of heritage. This transformation and eventual usurpation of power by the masses is a gradual form of political revolution aided by a pageantry of symbols.
Soviet reenactments of the 1917 October Revolution shared a similar
and evolving political purpose. The episode of the revolution that was
predominantly staged was the "Storming of the
The tendency to construct history to legitimize one's actions is
typified by the current
"Reformations of recollection," like the annually
amended "Storming of the Winter Palace," are practiced by most
state-sponsored reenactments and memorials to provoke new collective memories
of a country's history, culture, or both. (n29) As the historian Mike Wallace
has observed, "Memories fade and cultures step in and take over." (n30)
However, the overlap of the two, in the no-man's-land between where memories
end and histories (or cultures) begin, has caused the art critic Jonathan Jones
to lament, "We don't have a critical grasp of history; instead we have
replaced it with a cavalcade of collective memory.…Memory has become the most
sacred and at the same time the most empty value in our culture." (n31)
Jones was writing about the omnipresent sense of guilt imposed by maudlin yet
modern memorials, such as the one sculpted by Brian Catling and commissioned by
An attainable "critical grasp of history" is part of the
myth of history itself. Even its origins as outlined by Herodotus, the Greek
father of Western history (as recognized by
The braiding of memory, history, and performance has inspired a number of exhibitions in the past five years, including: A Little Bit of History Repeated at Kunst-Werke Berlin (2001), A Short History of Performance at the Whitechapel (2002, ongoing), Experience, Memory, Reenactment at the Piet Zwart Institute (2004), Life, Once More at Witte de With (2005), Once More…With Feeling at Reg Vardy Gallery (2006); Ahistoric Occasion: Artists Making History at Mass MOCA (2006), Now Again the Past: Rewind, Replay, Resound at Carnegie Art Center (2006), and Playback_Simulated Realities at Edith Russ House (2006). Inevitably, each of these exhibitions sang from the same hymnal and catered to roughly the same roster of contemporary artists. However, the artist's intention in each artwork is strikingly unique and often deeply personal. These differences help to unbalance and challenge notions of the past, history, simulation, reproduction, and repetition that have been used to curatorially bind these works. (n32)
An artist often cited in these exhibitions and their respective
catalogues is Rod Dickinson. His influential work in the genre of reenactment
includes the construction of an imagined nineteenth-century torture contraption
(The Air Loom: A Human Influencing Machine, 2002); submitting an audience of
over one hundred-fifty people to a barrage of the same high-decibel noises
(including Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made for Walking") used
in 1993 by the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team to assault David Koresh and his fellow
Branch Davidians (Nocturne: The Waco Reenactment, 2004); and a reenactment of
Jim Jones's final sermon in Jonestown, Guyana (The Jonestown Reenactment,
2002). Each of these works reflects a sense of the power and tragedy of the
historical events to his audience. His 2002 reenactment of Stanley Milgram's
obedience experiments (1960-63) exemplifies this trait. Milgram's research, in
the shadow of the Nuremberg trials, where Nazi defendants often pleaded they
were only following orders, was designed to test whether or not civilians would
torture innocent people for the benefit of science. All of the roles in
More often than not,
The connection that
Since the 1980s Abramović has often reperformed or initiated reconstructions of her own works. In the summer of 2005 she invited the stage director Michael Laub to shuffle and edit her concentrated compilation of performance works entitled The Biography. The resultant multimedia performance, Biography Remix, rearranges the lineage of Abramović's oeuvre, edits political content, and introduces cross-generational references by inviting Juriaan Löwensteyn (the son of her previous collaborator Ulay) to reenact works in the place of his father.
Seven Easy Pieces continues in a vein similar to Biography Remix, challenging and reassigning the authorial agency of the (re)performed works. Additionally, Abramović has taken steps to potentially eclipse the works she reenacted in Seven Easy Pieces by meticulously documenting each of her performances. By not "repeating the mistakes of the 1970s," characterized as a lack of adequate documentation, Abramović has spawned (with the help of the famed documentary director Babette Mangolte and her crew) slick color films that could potentially step in the place of the original works. (n36)
The close, almost cannibalistic relationship between live art and mediatized reproduction is ever present in Seven Easy Pieces. This binary is also the subject of Philip Auslander's theoretical study Liveness, in which the author claims that mediatization and liveness are mutually dependent. (n37) Their dependency, Auslander argues, was caused by the invention of recording that, in turn, begot the concept of a live event. Auslander also suggests that the "apparatus of reproduction and its attendant phenomenology are inscribed within our experience of the live." (n38) This phenomenon, it can be argued, is what causes witnesses of horrific events to comment that "it was just like seeing it in the movies." The impression is echoed by the critic Johanna Burton, who likened Seven Easy Pieces to watching "live images." (n39) Important for a discussion of Seven Easy Pieces, Liveness bucks against many of the theories in Peggy Phelan's essay "The Ontology of Performance: Representation without Reproduction," ideas that have been used to conceptually unpack Abramović's series of reenactments. Phelan maintains that "To the degree that performance attempts to enter the economy of reproduction it betrays and lessens the promise of its own ontology.…Performance is the attempt to value that which is nonreproductive, nonmetaphorical."(n40) Through Abramović's determined reliance on images to choreograph the reenactments and her meticulous efforts to record the performances so that they become images (a fact emphasized by the replaying of the previous nights' reenactments on flat-screen monitors behind the stage of Seven Easy Pieces), this cumulative work increasingly rejected Phelan's theories and echoed many of Auslander's assertions.
Although I tend to champion Seven Easy Pieces for the probing interpretations it has initiated into furthering the innovative use of reenactment in contemporary art, this appraisal seems out of step with Abramović's own intentions for the performances. In response to Aaron Moulton's question regarding how her fragmented understanding of the works she intended to reenact might affect her performance, she replied, "My version will be exactly as the piece was, but as a very long duration piece." (n41) The words from Alan Bennett's play History Boys do more to further a nuanced interpretation of reenactment: "History nowadays is not a matter of conviction. It's a performance."
Seven Easy Pieces' loose translation of eyewitness memory and historical documentation raises important questions about the possibilities for and acceptance of reenactments that intentionally differ from their sources. This possibility for difference encourages reenactment, regardless of its context, to sample from various models of constructing history. Rather than a repetitive struggle of maintaining appearances, reenactment is a creative act, and no definition of the genre should omit this element of artistic inspiration. Reenactments and their means such as V-mail, CREB enhancers, and the aborted truce of the Discovery Expedition are for better or for worse slowly eroding the need for accountability to an original source and relying instead on the efficacy of the performance or the reproduction of that performance as an emotional and interpretive link between the past and our imperfect present. The myriad ways the past can be maneuvered to create the possibility for new experiences and histories to emerge also carry the potential to inspire as-yet-unthought--of reenactments of these new histories. I envision this situation like the young Orson Welles in The Lady from Shanghai standing in the fun-house hall of mirrors and seeing his reflection repeat infinitely in front and in back of himself. In 1991 the critic Stuart Morgan wrote an essay entitled "Homage to the Half-Truth." Throughout the writing of the present essay I have been reminded of Morgan's admiration for the critic William Empson's first book, Seven Types of Ambiguity, in which Empson returns again and again to the same Shakespeare sonnet--each time with a different interpretation, "like a conjuror pulling rabbits out of a hat." (n42) Empson's seemingly limitless study attempted to provoke an unfixed correlation to a central text. When Empson was shown, after the book was published, that he had misquoted the sonnet and therefore created interpretations that Shakespeare never intended, he merely wrote a footnote in the second edition calling attention to the fact and made no further change to his text: at once disregarding the rhetoric of authenticity and championing the autonomy of interpretation.
On June 21, 2003, the Norwegian government declared its own
On September 12, 2005, a people's election coinciding with the
Norwegian national elections decided the future of the Fusian monarchy. A
majority vote in favor of the viceroy would have made him a sovereign and
permanent leader of the
Elvis Presley can be described as
"Lost in the Mall" was a false-memory experiment devised
and carried out by Dr. Elizabeth Loftus and her students from the
To honor the bicentennial of the Lewis and
Our ability to remember and therefore to reenact previous experiences is thanks to the protein structure CREB (cAMP-response element binding protein) that is found in the nucleus of every brain cell. Since the discovery of this protein in 1963, medical science has been experimenting with ways in which CREB might be enhanced or repressed. Phophodiesterase-4 is a CREB enhancer that, in the future, might be prescribed to offset and reverse the memory loss suffered by patients with Alzheimer's disease. Conversely, CREB repressors are currently being tested that will block or "erase" traumatic memories.
Concurrent with the trend of historicism came the opening of many
personal collections of art and artifacts as public museums. The grandest
American donor memorial was the neoclassical Pierpont Morgan Library in
(*) Lauren Slater, Opening Skinner's Box: Great Psychological
Experiments of the 20th Century (
(**) Carol Duncan, Civilizing Rituals: Inside Public Art Museums (New York: Routledge, 1995), 93.
I once wrote or read (I can't remember which) that in 1994 a
German firm specializing in geological archaeology set out to prove that the
monolithic Easter Island figures known as moai came from neighboring Peru. To
demonstrate this claim the Germans constructed a Kon-Tiki-esque raft using
materials and methods available only to ancient Polynesian craftsmen and
ferried a three-ton concrete moai they had sculpted from the Peruvian mainland
Mail calls were a welcome reprieve for soldiers serving overseas during World War II. These letters (known as V-mail) were one of the only regular forms of personal communication between the front and civilian life back home; consequently these letters were often read and censored by the government for security purposes before being delivered to their rightful owners. Despite this intrusion the soldiers usually relished the mail, which could range from outstanding bills to love letters and care packages.
To faithfully re-create the personal experiences of those serving in WWII, reenactors often meticulously create their own V-mail and send it to themselves. These fictional letters are then distributed and opened at mail calls during reenactment weekends.
A poignant use of this reenactment device to bridge the potential emotional gap between a reenactment and the real world was highlighted in Jenny Thompson's book War Games. She describes how a father encouraged his children to write him V-mail. They responded with emotional letters that included messages like "I miss you, Daddy," and "I love you." These messages, which were rarely articulated at home, brought the father to tears.
In 2006 French president Jacques Chirac was battling a law that
required a standardized portrayal of its colonial past in school textbooks. The
purpose of this groomed history is to emphasize the "positive role"
In 1965 Yoko Ono performed Cut Piece at Carnegie Hall as a largely
unknown artist in the Fluxus movement. Looking back at the Maysles Brothers'
documentary film of the performance and the degrading way in which many of the
men viciously engaged in the piece, she subsequently said that she performed
the work with anger in her heart. Her feelings toward Cut Piece changed,
however, and in a 2003 reenactment of the performance, staged at the Ranelagh
Since 1946 zealous Roman Catholic
Filipinos have been crucifying themselves as atonement for their sins
during the holy week of Easter in a bloody imitation of the death of Jesus
Christ. In 2005 eighteen volunteers participated in one communal crucifixion at
the town center of Guagua (120 miles north of
In 2004, the artist Peter Richards created Live, Live Art Histories, a work that ingeniously illustrated a relationship between documentation and the performative act. Exploiting the fact that both pinhole cameras and performance art are "time-based media," Richards created a roomsize camera obscura. The audience of the "performance" was invited inside the camera, and its actions and impromptu performances were emblazoned on a wallsize sheet of photographic paper. This documentation of the human performance (compounded by the performativity of the gradual photographic-development process) was then installed in the gallery.
(n1.) We Could Have Invited Everyone
originated at Reg Vardy Gallery (
(n3.) The exhibition originated at Reg
Vardy Gallery (
(n9.) According to a 1970 survey by Dr. Elizabeth Loftus, 84 percent of psychologists agreed with the statement, "Everything we learn is permanently stored in the mind, although some details are not accessible." Philip J. Hilts, Memory's Ghost (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995), 209.
(n10.) For a detailed account of memory's place in legal testimony, see the chapter "Legally Live" in Philip Auslander, Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture (New York: Routledge, 1999), 112-57.
(n23.) This rule was made to exclude the transient oil-rig and fishery workers in Shetland. The Guizer Jarl is elected at the beginning of the year. He enacts the role throughout the year in preparation for the following January's Up-helly-aa. Holders of the office incur considerable and growing costs, and it is not uncommon for the Jarl's family to take out extra loans or mortgages to offset the costs.
(n30.) Mike Wallace, quoted in Spencer R. Crew and James E. Sims, "Locating Authenticity: Fragments of a Dialogue," in Exhibiting Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Museum Display, ed. Ivan Karp and Steven D. Lavine (Washington: Smithsonian, 1991), 162.
(n32.) This diversity of artistic intentions and approaches to reenactment is also what dissociates them from being considered as a formal movement or genre in contemporary art. Steve Rushton, in "Tweedledum and Tweedledee Resolved to Have a Battle," his preface to the catalogue Experience, Memory, Reenactment, cites Martine Kopsa's article "Reenactment as a New Phenomenon," published in Metropolis M, with making this claim. In the three-hundredth issue of Art Monthly magazine, the writer Adam E. Mendelsohn in his essay "Be Here Now" labels numerous works under a nondistinct umbrella of "reenactment art."
(n34.) Seven Easy Pieces was scheduled in
conjunction with Performa 05, a festival of performance art in
(n36.) The films from Seven Easy Pieces were exhibited at Kunsthalle Fridericianum in May 2006 with an accompanying symposium, "How to Perform: Reenactment and Documentation in Performance Art"; the subtitle suggests that Abramović's performances could be interpreted as either or both.