Saturday, June 17, 2017

CONTEMPART '17 - Contemporary Art Conference, Istanbul

Unable to travel to Istanbul to attend the CONTEMPART '17 contemporary art conference due to work commitments, I nevertheless submitted my paper for publication in the conference proceedings along with a 15 minute virtual presentation in the form of a recorded PowerPoint with voice-over.

Two years ago, when I attended the CONTEMPART '15 conference I introduced the concept and method behind my performance 'Going Round in Circles' and found a warm response from the other delegates. Although I am not an academic, I try to demonstrate that my performance art pieces are the result of a combination of background research and practical testing and I aim to maintain a balance between these two sources in my work.

For the 2017 edition of the conference I presented the development of my performance work 'Releasing Sisyphus', which was performed at Repulse Bay on the south of Hong Kong Island on 2nd July 2016. In the paper I examined the myth of Sisyphus, at his character and reflected upon various stories relating to his punishment and the justification for it.

Click here to view more details of the performance 'Releasing Sisyphus'.

Albert Camus examined the myth in his short essay 'The myth of Sisyphus' and concluded that due to the repetitive nature of his task, Sisyphus could find solace and respite in the regular breaks from the forced work that occur after each summit, as the stone rolls back down the hill and Sisyphus descends the hill in order to begin his climb once more. In these brief interludes he is free from toil and, as Camus suggests, may even be happy.

I resolved to symbolically climb the hill in place of Sisyphus and once at the top I built a cairn, a small pile of stones to mark the spot where the climb ends. With the stones I planted small saplings that would bind the stones in place as they grew thereby preventing them from rolling back down the hill. This gesture removed Sisyphus's endless punishment.
We are all carrying our stones to the top of assigned hills, we have our tasks to complete and often there seems no resolution. If I can propose a possible release for Sisyphus, perhaps I may also find a resolution for my own tasks?

Click here to view details of my publications.

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