written by Tara Carroll

‘Read the text multiple times. Become comfortable with it. Why did you choose this text? What does it mean to you? Think of the memory attached to it. Take a word, a sentence, a paragraph or the whole text. Embody it. Focus it in to a single gesture. Repeat it. Exaggerate it. Slow it down. Move the gesture through out the space.’

Above is a sample of what we asked of the students of the Institute of Art Design and Technology, Dun Laoghaire last month during a 4D Space performance workshop. The students came from different disciplines, such as psychology and model making, each bringing something original to the table. Some students had never come across performance art let alone performed it. Their curiosity transformed into appreciation and an openness to explore a new medium. Trust and unity continued to develop throughout the day as our exercises focused on translating their memories into pieces of performance and presenting them to the other students.

One student used a megaphone to confess the intimate yet comedic writings of their junior infant diary to the whole courtyard. Another student led us on a journey around the college while they tried to keep us quiet, they said ‘shhh’ to any door squeaking, any passer-by that mumbled and to loud footsteps creating the feeling we were naive children. One stood in front of a mirror in a crowded toilet inviting us into their world as they transformed their distinct appearance to a more accepting societal norm.

The transitioning period into Art College should allow performance art to be more accessible.

Performance art can be a very taunting and confronting medium to approach. It is a medium one rarely falls upon as school programs often concentrate on traditional art forms. The transitioning period into Art College should allow performance art to be more accessible. Each year performance art is less and less likely to be seen at grad shows, as facilities and classes are not provided. Áine and myself had the privilege to attend performance workshops during our time in college. They drastically changed my approach to art making as an exceptional teacher brought me out of my comfort zone. My practice may have swayed towards performance art eventually but I believe the challenges I faced in workshops, the boundaries I surpassed and the ongoing support from an encouraging teacher made me discover my craft.

This is why one of our collective’s main aims is to provide workshops. We want to encourage students to explore the raw and provocative medium that is performance art. Create a platform for them to express their curiosity. One day of performance workshops led many students to gain a new appreciation for the medium. The workshop even gave two students the confidence to submit their work to our zine launch night open call. We are honoured to be showcasing the debut performances of artists Darragh Matthews and Adele Marikar, two blossoming students who attended our workshop at IADT. I hope the night will help them develop a thirst and eagerness to continue in the pursuit of a new craft.