An investigation of the lecture in and as art

2017-02-28T00:22:32Z (GMT) by de Vietri, Gabrielle
Over the last decade, the term 'lecture-performance' has come to circulate widely in contemporary art discourses, as the practice has become increasingly popular with artists and within institutions. There is, however, a dearth of available texts which trace this specific subgenre of pedagogical performance art. This research paper examines the history of the artist as speaker and teacher, in an attempt to understand the provenance of this practice. Focusing on current practices that incorporate the lecture form into artistic output, it aims to identify the emergence of key terms, and the parameters that define the public speech of artists as a medium or art form. Utilising diagrammatic representations, the research samples a cross section of contemporary and historical practices that demonstrate the inter-disciplinary nature and broad span of artistic works that use the lecture as an art form. It places the lecture performance in the context of the establishment of educational institutions by artists, and the tradition of the artist-teacher. Through a timeline constructed of works that have been witnessed live, seen online, transcribed or reported through secondary texts, my research attempts to locate the practice within other forms, and under other names, prior to its current identification in contemporary artistic and curatorial practices. It suggests reasons for the form having been largely disregarded in historical and critical writing on art until recent times. This research runs parallel to my artistic project, which incorporates three distinct parts. Each part has evolved from the previous, in relation to findings made through my written and practical research. Back to Basics (2011) the first of these projects, sought primarily to examine the transfer of knowledge and information in the form of pedagogical workshops in the context of art practice. The aesthetic, lyrical and theatrical dimensions of performance in relation to the transfer of ideas in the lecture format were introduced in A Hawk Can Read a Newspaper a Mile Away (2012), a lecture-performance. Finally, A Centre for Everything (2012-13) developed a comprehensive, ongoing collaborative public programme of pedagogical events. Within the context of A Centre for Everything's exhibition at the Monash University Museum of Modem Art, I will present the lecture-performance A Hawk Can Read a Newspaper a Mile Away. This presentation is representative of one aspect of the creative research undertaken as part of this MFA, although aspects of the other projects will be also be exhibited in the space. 

Awards: Winner of the Mollie Holman Doctoral Medal for Excellence, Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, [2015].