Live Performance from the visual arts in Ireland is currently a vibrant practice, grounded in responding with the physical body and psychological self.
There are many theories on how and why this kind of practice has developed,: with suggestions that such evolution is closely connected to the Troubles, amid which artists felt conventional forms of art making failed to express the experiences happening outside the door of the studio.
Coogan is a formidable practionner of this genre of Performance, putting her body to through demanding experiences in a quest to understand our embodied self. For further information on Coogan’s practice see http://www.amandacoogan.com
Time, or what is called duration in Performance Art, is a critical element to the practice. Performance Art is a time-based practice. Durational work, generally anything over three hours, is a particular strand of practice and inevitably brings with it elements of endurance. Endurance comes in different forms; from, the grande endurance or masochistic performance to the petite endurance, occurring in performances that explore everyday life.
It is this particular quality of ‘Time’ that Cahill and Coogan are exploring with Yellow the Film. The metabolisim of the film is the antithesis of our normative screen consumption. There is only one take for each performance. The evolution of the ‘story’ of the perfromances happens in real time. Yet, when framed and pinned on screen this quality of real time, seconds, minutes, hours, meld into each other with the hypnotic quality of the sounds the performers make lapping over the viewer.
Performance Art is contingent on the presence of the body. The body, site, audience and time are it’s four pillars, with corporeal action the central axis. Artists turned to the physical body and brought an ‘aliveness’, a temporality and instability to artworks. The typical understanding of Performance Art is as a solo practice with the artist’s body-as-medium at it’s core;, an embodied practice. It is the action of the body, the authenticity of an activity, that frames a work as Performance Art.
For a further information on performance art practice see Coogan’s essay What is Performance Art?
Yellow is a collision between Live Performance Art and Film. How do you explore Live Performance Art with Film? Cahill and Coogan have, for the past number of years, worked together recording Live Performances from the Visual Arts. (Seven Steps for the Irish Museum of Modern Art and Accumulator for VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art). It is out of these experiences they began to explore methods of doing justice to what they see as fundemental elements of Live Performance; duration, and the evolution of the physical experience of the performer. To this end Cahill constructed a rig for his camera that allowed freedom of movement with the camera and to record each four hour live performance in one take. Cahill became the seventh performer in the project, reacting to the live performance in an, immediate, embodied way.