Stuart Brisley | Conference Ouro Preto | Brazil

Hales Gallery is pleased to announce a conference presented by Dr Sanja Perovic on “History as Live Action - Performing the Past with Stuart Brisley”.


The lecture takes place in Ouro Preto, Brasil between 23 and 26 August as part of the 2nd International Network for Theory of History dedicated to the topic “The Practical Past: on the advantages and disadvantages of history for life”. 


Analysing the relation between history and performance studies, which are often considered antithetical terms, Perovic raises questions about the epistemological claims of performance: “How and in what way can performance reactivate a relation to the past?  What is the role of physical, lived time in this experience?  And how can performance be used to think critically about history?”.


The presentation aims to investigate the matter through the work of Stuart Brisley. A key formulator of performance art as it emerged in the 1960s, Brisley became well-known during the 70s for a series of actions, some of long duration, that were also feats of endurance, as he subjected himself to hunger, extreme discomfort and exhaustion. But he is equally known for engaging with a number of well-known historical conflicts, as well as his pioneering work in public history.  The archival “Peterlee Project: History within Living Memory” (1976-77) attempted to extend performance into the social field and is an acknowledged precursor of today’s archival art projects.


As stated by Perovic: “My paper takes this failure as a starting point to ask: what is the relation between history understood as a future-oriented ‘live proposal’ and as past event?  I begin with Brisley’s analysis of Peterlee Project’s failure.  I then consider two virtual institutions he formulated as a response to this failure:  the Georgiana Collection (1981-86), a fictitious institution, featuring his own street and the homeless people who lived there as the subject of the collection, and the Museum of Ordure, a virtual museum whose mission statement is to examine the ‘cultural value of ordure, shit, rubbish’. I conclude by considering how Brisley’s performative museums illuminate occluded aspects of our own historical practices, including the conventional opposition dead history, live art”.




Stuart Brisley 

“History as Live Action - Performing the Past with Stuart Brisley”

Conference Ouro Preto, 23 -26 August 2016

2nd International Network for Theory of History

Parque Metalúrgico Augusto Barbosa Centro de Artes e Convenções da UFOP

Diogo Vasconcelos n° 328 Pilar

Ouro Preto – MG

35400-000, Brazil


23 - 26 August 2016


For more information please click here.

June 21, 2016