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Performance & Uncertainty



A hesitation, a mode of doubt, permeates the temporal experience of much contemporary performance, whether clothed in the rhetoric of liveness or consciously mining the archive.

This symposium brings together artists and writers to question the role of re- performance, to confront collective assumptions about authenticity and the changing role of the artist’s body.

Interweaving questions of politics, narrative and fiction, participants include: Kiff Bamford; Dora García; Rana Hamadeh; Harold Offeh; Casey Orr and Corin Sworn.

A video work by Vito Acconci will also be screened.

The symposium has been programmed by Kiff Bamford and Harold Offeh from the School of Art, Architecture and Design at Leeds Beckett University. Organised by Kiff Bamford, Naomi Colhoun, Harold Offeh, Simon Morris, Vicky Sharples and Zara Worth.

With thanks to Bryony Bond and Zoe Sawyer at The Tetley and Ben Roberts at the Artists’ Research Centre.


  • 11.00 Welcome & Introduction
  • 11.10 Casey Orr ‘Photographing Connotations: Fictional Performance Photographs.’
  • 11.40 Corin Sworn ‘Work Out’, Performance
  • 12.30 Harold Offeh ‘Covers’ 2008-2017
  • 1.00 – 2.00 Lunch The Tetley’s Bar and Kitchen is open and there are further food outlets towards the bridge. (A performance of Dora Garcia’s ‘Rehearsal Retrospective’ will be taking place in the upper gallery).
  • 2.00 Rana Hamadeh ‘Can You Make a Pet of Him Like a Bird or Put Him on a Leash For Your Girls?’
    8-channel Live Sound-Play / Performance.
    This performance is the live version of the sound-play ‘Can You Pull In An Actor With A Fishhook Or Tie Down His Tongue With A Rope’ commissioned by the Liverpool Biennial and co-produced with Steirischer Herbst Festival, 2014. This live version was commissioned and produced by Western Front, Vancouver, 2015.
    Sound Editing: Jorg Schellekens; Audio Research: Sara Hamadeh; Vocalist: Caroline Daish; Sound Engineer for Leeds: Kathryn Gray, Lumen.
    Please note this sound-play contains some loud sound, unsuitable for children, ear plugs are available.
  • 2.50-3.15 Break
    (A performance of Dora Garcia’s ‘Performance’ will be taking place in the upper gallery).
  • 3.10 Dora García ‘These books were alive; they spoke to me’, Artist’s talk
  • 4.00 Vito Acconci ‘Open Book’ 1974, Video, 10.09 min, courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix, New York.
  • 4.10 Kiff Bamford ‘Opening Uncertainty’
  • 4.30 – 5.00 Plenary
    # uncertaintyandperformance


Kiff Bamford

Kiff Bamford is an artist, writer and Senior Lecturer in the School of Art, Architecture and Design at Leeds Beckett University. His concerns relate to the history and documentation of Performance Art and the issue of writing about, with, and in response to such work.

The thought and writings of French philosopher Jean-François Lyotard have been an ongoing source of provocation, and were a dominant voice in his PhD research, undertaken at the University of Manchester. Publications include the monograph Lyotard and the ‘figural’ in Performance, Art and Writing (Continuum 2012, Bloomsbury 2014); chapters in Rereading Jean- François Lyotard (Ashgate, 2013), Traversals of Affect: On J-F Lyotard (Bloomsbury, 2016), Acinemas: Lyotard and Film (University of Edinburgh Press, forthcoming 2017) and articles in Performance Research and Parrhesia. His study of the life and work of Jean-François Lyotard is forthcoming in the series ‘Critical Lives’ with Reaktion Books (2017).

Dora García

Dora García is an artist and researcher on the parameters and conventions of the presentation of art, questions of time – real or fictional – and the limits between representation and reality. She uses various supports to generate contexts in which the traditional system of communication – transmitter, message, recipient – is altered, thus modifying the traditional relationship between artist, work and public.

In 2011 she represented Spain at the Venice Biennale with The Inadequate, and in the 56th edition of 2015 she presented the performance and installation project The Sinthome Score, based on a transcription of Jacques Lacan’s 23rd seminar Le Sinthome.

A reference in her recent work, she discovered Jacques Lacan through Lacan’s work on James Joyce, on whom she has reflected in works such as her film The Joycean Society (2013). She is currently working on Óscar Masotta and the notion of repetition and her ongoing project El café de las voces, which began in Hamburg in 2014 and is still taking place in different cities.

She participated in Munster Sculpture Projects (2007), Sydney Biennial (2008) dOCUMENTA 13 (2012) and Gwangju Biennial (2016). She is professor of contemporary art in Oslo Art Academy and HEAD Genève, and she co-directs with M. Villeneuve and A. Baudelot Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers.

Rana Hamadeh

Rana Hamadeh is a visual and performance artist from Lebanon based in The Netherlands. Drawing on a curatorial approach within her artistic practice, she develops longstanding discursive projects that think through the infrastructures of justice, militarism, histories of sanitation and theatre. Her work stems from an extended investigation into specific concepts and terms, treating the field of theory as fiction. In 2011, she initiated her ongoing project, Alien Encounters, which has since been operating as an incubator for a growing series of propositions that aim at complicating the notion of ‘alienness’.

Thoughout the project’s chapters (manifested through performances, choreographic/ cartographic works, sound and text-based installations-as- stage-sets, writing projects and conversations), the ‘alien’ turns into a discursive tool that allows for setting up alternative archives from which to locate corporate and state-sponsored forms of violence and their enabling legal apparatuses.

Previous solo exhibitions include The Institute of Modern Art (Brisbane, 2016); The Showroom (London, 2016); Nottingham Contemporary (2015); Western Front (Vancouver, 2015); Gallery TPW (Tonoto, 2015) and Kiosk (Ghent, 2014). Group exhibitions include a.o. The Moscow Biennial (2015), The New Museum (New York., 2014); e-flux (New York., 2014), The 8th Liverpool Biennial (2014), Wattis Institute (2014), The Lisson Gallery (2013), Beirut (2013), Witte de With (2013) and the Van Abbemuseum (2008/2011).

Harold Offeh

Harold Offeh was born in Accra, Ghana in 1977 and grew up in London, UK. He is interested in the space created by the inhabiting or embodying of history. His work encompasses performance, social practice, video and photography, often using humour as a means to confront the viewer with aspects of contemporary culture and history.

He studied at the University of Brighton and the Royal College of Art, London. Harold’s current project ‘Covers’ sees the artist embody images from popular culture in a series of attempts to transform music album covers from the 1970s and ‘80s by black divas. He continues to work in a number of diverse and situational contexts. He has shown widely both in the UK and abroad, including Studio Museum Harlem, USA, 2013-14;Tate Britain and Tate Learning, 2014-16; Abrons Arts Center, USA 2015, and is studying a practice-based PhD at Leeds Beckett University, where he is Senior Lecturer in Fine Art.

Casey Orr

Originally from Delaware, USA, Dr. Casey Orr has exhibited extensively as a photographer. Her work has most recently been shown in Look15, Liverpool International Photography Festival, The Observer Magazine, The Royal Photographic Society’s Contemporary Photography Magazine, as part of the Tour de France cultural program as well as The Yorkshire Sculpture Park and (the first time the walls of a prison have been used as a space for art) at HM Prison Leeds. Casey Orr is also Senior Lecturer and member of the feminist collective F= in the School of Art, Architecture and Design at Leeds Beckett University. In 1998 Casey Orr photographed a series of fictional performances by Hayley Newman which, together with their textual documents, constitute the series titled Connotations — Performance Images 1994-1998, featured in the publication accompanying the important 2003 event Live Culture at Tate Modern.

Corin Sworn

Corin Sworn (b. 1976) lives and works in Glasgow. She studied a BA in Psychology at University of British Columbia, Vancouver; a BFA at the Institute of Art & Design, Vancouver and an MFA at The Glasgow School of Art. Sworn creates films and installations deeply rooted in research, weaving together history with memories and fragments of true and imagined stories. Recent exhibitions include: a solo exhibition at Inverleith House, Edinburgh (2014), 19th Biennale of Sydney (2014), The Rag Papers at Chisenhale Gallery (2013), Art Now: Corin Sworn at Tate Britain (2011) and The Foxes (2012) was exhibited at the 55th Venice Biennale. She won the Max Mara Art Prize for Women 2013- 2015. In 2016 she was awarded the first ARC Fellowship, to focus on ideas of performance, politics and popular culture.