The Slippages of the Present and the Stage Presence in the Long-durational Performance − A Deconstructivist Perspective in the Context of Post-theory



The present paper proposes a questioning of the ways in which, in the long-durational performance, there occurs an overestimation of the temporal regime of the present, to which a “stage” presence of the performer corresponds, understood as a “live”, in corpore, unmediated presence.

Starting from the practice of artists such as Marina Abramović, Marlyn Arsem or Tehching Hsieh, but especially from the curatorial/institutional discourse, which legitimizes their performances, this study initiates a critical evaluation of the “mystification” of presence in the long-durational performance, but also of the hyperbolization of the regime of the present. In the conditions in which these performances are using remembering/archiving/ recording instruments, a “fetishization” of the present/presence is a paradox. In this paper, I bring up the topic of the manifestations of the performer’s presence, either as an auratic presence, a literal presence or a co-presence − aspects which sometimes end up being mutually contaminated.

Thus, I analyze the long-durational performance using Jacques Derrida’s theory of traceability, but also the under-standing of the duration as a “constitutive piece” for this typology of performance, as analyzed by Gilles Deleuze, starting with Henri Bergson. I therefore argue, in their wake, that the present works as an “impure” regime of time, in juxtaposition with the past and the future, thereby cancelling a present-oriented ontology of performance art. At this time of post-criticism and post-theory, I assert the vitality of the two theorists’ thinking, but especially the discrepancy, the antithesis between the theoretical discourse on performance (especially that developed by Philip Auslander) and the purist practice of the long-durational perfor-mance, anchored, in fact, in a “nostalgia” for the present.

Keywords: long-durational performance, temporal turn, pres-ence/absence, trace, repetition, critical theory, defetishization

DOI: 10.24193/ekphrasis.19.6