May 14, 2014 - Tate Modern - Spatial Confessions (On the question of instituting the public)
May 14, 2014

Spatial Confessions (On the question of instituting the public)

Marta Popivoda, Yugoslavia, How Ideology Moved Our Collective Body (still), 2013. Film. Courtesy of the artist and TkH (Walking Theory).

“Spatial Confessions (On the question of instituting the public)”
Part of BMW Tate Live 2014
21–24 May 2014

Tate Modern
Bankside 
London SE1 9TG
UK

www.tate.org.uk

“Spatial Confessions (On the question of instituting the public)” is a four-day programme that examines publicness in places exhibiting contemporary art. The programme is comprised of a series of choreographic experiments staged within the unique public arena of Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, a performance of social choreography as part of the ongoing digital series Performance Room and a day of talks, debates and films. It inquires into social, political and choreographic forms of publicness arising in the institutional practices of contemporary art. 

Ever since it was established in nineteenth-century Europe, the bourgeois public sphere fosters the capacity of individuals to exercise and monitor the performative aspects of their own conduct in public. Museums have been the spaces in which actions, words, deeds, gestures, and bodily movements of citizens are the aesthetic expressions of ideology that constitute the public sphere. What kind of publicness is implicated by masses of visitors encouraged to develop a personal perspective or creative self-expressive response to contemporary art? What forms of collective behaviour and action do the supersized public spaces within the contemporary art museums stage? These questions are the point of departure of a choreographic and discursive inquiry into the formation of a public sphere by contemporary art institutions today.


“Spatial Confessions – Moving Part” 
Tate Modern, Turbine Hall
Wednesday 21, Friday 23 and Saturday 24 May

After the claim that ‘the public can only be performed’ in Public Sphere by Performance, co-written by Ana Vujanović, Bojana Cvejić investigates Tate Modern as a model of public institution that expands the practices of contemporary art by exhibiting performance and dance works, as well as creating participatory festivities and immersive environments. In order to observe how the Turbine Hall acts as a vast public arena where masses of people convene for art and other social activities, Cvejić, together with the choreographer Christine De Smedt, uses the instrument of choreography to question and redistribute the visitors spatially. 

At various intervals during the day, the flow of visitors through the Turbine Hall is filtered through by a choreographic inquiry. As a result of questions which discern citizens as they perform their individual selves in relation to each other, group movements, postures and formations spontaneously emerge in the open and unbarred space of the Turbine Hall. Tate Modern’s audience flow is reordered in choreographic patterns that reflect the visitors’ spatial confessions. The arising choreographic images reconfigure the appearance of the museum’s visitors as a public. 


“Spatial Confessions in Performance Room”
Online at tate.org.uk/bmwtatelive 
Thursday 22 May at 20h BST 

Bojana Cvejić, Christine De Smedt, Marta Popivoda and Ana Vujanović present a version of Spatial Confessions made especially for the Performance Room, Tate Modern’s online series of commissions. The performance stages social and choreographic forms of behaviour in response to the questions about the public and private aspects of a random mass of bodies in the situation of sharing a common space. 

Working together with members of the public, invited on the terms that their current living space is smaller or equal to the size of the Performance Room—9.5 x 5.5 meters, the performance presents a close-up view of social choreography in an enclosed room. The focus is to observe how individuals negotiate with each other as the expressions of their public and private concerns redistribute them spatially. 


“Spatial Confessions – Speaking Part”
Starr Auditorium, Tate Modern
Saturday 24 May, 14–19.30h

This conference addresses the question of the public with talks, debates and screenings together with Claire Bishop, Nina Power, Ana Vujanović, Marta Popivoda and Goran Sergej Pristaš.

Recently, venues of contemporary art have accommodated performance and dance into their spaces ranging from spectacular immersive environments to clandestine and politically controversial gestures. What is distinctive about how the public is performed in art institutions today? What are the terms and positions in which artists, dramaturges, critics, cultural workers and theorists, curators and public officials conceive of the public arising from contemporary art?


Spatial Confessions is conceived by Bojana Cvejić in collaboration with Christine De Smedt, Lennart Laberenz, Marta Popivoda, Ana Vujanović and other invited guests.

BMW Tate Live is curated by Catherine Wood, Curator, Contemporary Art and Performance, Tate and Capucine Perrot, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern.

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