Introduction: Caring for Performance

Hölling, Hanna Barbara; Pelta Feldman, Jules; Magnin, Emilie (2023). Introduction: Caring for Performance In: Performance: The Ethics and the Politics of Conservation and Care: Volume 1. Routledge Advances in Theatre & Performance Studies (pp. 1-20). London and New York: Taylor & Francis 10.4324/9781003309987-1

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Can performance be conserved, and if so, how? And what does it mean to conserve performance? Performance works—ephemeral, sensitive to site, embedded in history and often tied to the body of the artist—have long been considered beyond the reach of conservation and restoration, which have traditionally focused on objects, rather than moving bodies. And yet, situating conservation next to performance offers an intriguing point of entry for theoretical and practical investigations. Examined through the lens of conservation, what is performance, and what might it become? What might this new disciplinary lens reveal about performance—and what about conservation? As an evolving practical-theoretical paradigm and a way of theorizing and bringing objects to conscious attention, how does conservation itself change vis-à-vis these new “objects”? Is conservation sustainable, as an imperative, principle and category, or do performative works necessitate distinct modalities of care? Our book begins with these questions. The authors in this volume investigate performance and performance-based artworks (henceforth abbreviated to “performance”) as material and conceptual entities through the lens of conservation.1 Employing diverse disciplinary, professional and personal perspectives, they both set and examine the conditions of possibility for the continuation of performance works.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


Bern Academy of the Arts
Bern Academy of the Arts > Institute Materiality in Art and Culture
Bern Academy of the Arts > Institute Materiality in Art and Culture > Contemporary Art and Media


Hölling, Hanna Barbara0000-0002-3063-4405;
Pelta Feldman, Jules0000-0001-8308-5174 and
Magnin, Emilie0000-0001-7160-1725


A General Works > AM Museums (General). Collectors and collecting (General)
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general




Routledge Advances in Theatre & Performance Studies


Taylor & Francis


[7] Swiss National Science Foundation


[198] Performance: Conservation, Materiality, Knowledge Official URL
[236] Performance: The Ethics and the Politics of Conservation and Care Official URL




Hanna Barbara Hölling

Date Deposited:

06 Sep 2023 10:12

Last Modified:

04 Oct 2023 09:31

Publisher DOI:


Related URLs:

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Performance, conservation, preservation, performance-based works, performative, museology, museums




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