How This Site Works
This website functions as a database for the research that I am conducting for a book on performance art in Central and Eastern Europe. I consider it a virtual notepad/rough draft of the book I am currently writing. The writing on this site is admittedly journalistic and sometimes anecdotal, but it is meant to be so. Eventually all of these thoughts and notes will turn into a more more rigorous academic piece of writing.
The idea for the website came from a conversation I had with Baiba Tetere, a friend and colleague who is a researcher of Latvian and Baltic photography. I told her about a blog entry I wrote for IB Tauris, "The Trouble With Living Artists," documenting some of the adventures I had interviewing artists for my first book. She suggested blogging the adventures that were yet to come.
From there I had the idea to include not only a blog, but an entry about each artist that I met, to create an impromptu database of artists who do or have done performance or performative works in the region.
For each country that I cover in my research, I created a folder for that country, with a page about each artist I met, and sometimes also about the art and cultural centers I encountered in the field. The choice to organize the artists by country stems primarily from the limitations of the template I am using. I didn't really want to reduce artists to being representatives of their countries, especially in such a global age (and my research aims to break down borders rather than keep them firmly in place). But then, it might make it easier to use as a resource. And I hope that it will be used as a resource by others who share my interest in performance art.
For the entries about the artists, I draw on my experience as a freelance journalist when I was living in Latvia. The entries are meant to be enjoyable to read, not necessarily academic. They also constitute my impressions following my meetings with the artists. I invite comments and feedback from the artists themselves, and anyone who knows their work. I hope that these entries will spark a discussion that will then feed into my own writing of the book, and insure that I have not only gotten the facts straight, but that my interpretation is as nuanced as possible, having considered a variety of different approaches and ideas. I consider it a living archive, as I would like to add to it and change it as I receive feedback.
The blog is meant to chart my travels and note my impressions along the way, and keep me constantly reflecting back to the issues relevant to performance art in the region and in general.
Starting in June 2013, I traveled to over twenty countries in search of performance art, and those journeys are recorded here. Now that my field research is complete, I continue to build the archive, add new artists that I encounter and interview artists who I was unable to meet in my travels. Eventually, I hope to include audio and video recordings to provide a more vivid picture and archive of performance art in Eastern Europe.
Thanks for reading!