Environmental Performance: Framing Time

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review


Presence, attention and awareness are challenged in a cultural landscape with an overflow of media and information (big data, mediatization processes), an overflow of time scheduling (rationalization, effectuation), and an overflow of marketing for example of ‘live performance’ as a promotional slogan. This paper focuses on a selection of art projects that give access to the experience of time passing, by aesthetically framing unforeseen, unplanned and uncontrollable temporal processes unfolding. These projects may be seen as counterweight to contemporary overflow. The paper addresses overflow from the perspective of time and liveness as experienced in art on environmental performance discussing how environmental performances frame the temporality of the world. The paper engages with contemporary examples of environmental performances from various disciplines (sound, video, television, performance art), and seeks to contribute to the ongoing debate on the quality and status of live performance (Reason & Lindelof 2016). As a critical response to the above mentioned overflows these performances make their own overflow through their characteristically non-representational, unpredictable and durational character. The non-deterministic nature of these performances – from the slow rotting of a compost heap in Pierre Huyghes Untilled (Dokumenta 2012), to the changing of a skyscape in James Turrells Skyspaces (1974- ) – has an irreducible duration. Through framing this duration – quasi-theatrically – spectators enter into a relationship of liveness in which their attention, awareness and presence at once alters nothing, but yet is experientially vital. Emphasizing the flux of temporal experience, these performances seek to overflow their spectator with a specific quality of time experienced.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventPerformance Studies International Annual Conference: OverFlow - Kulturfabrik Kampnagel, Hamburg, Germany
Duration: 8 Jun 201711 Jun 2017
Conference number: #23


ConferencePerformance Studies International Annual Conference
LocationKulturfabrik Kampnagel
Internet address

Bibliographical note

Based on: Lindelof, Schmidt & Svabo (2017): “Environmental Performance. Framing Time” In Matthew Reason & Anja Mølle Lindelof (Eds.): Experiencing liveness in Contemporary Performance. Interdisci-plinary Perspectives. Routledge Advances in theatre and Performance Studies


  • environment
  • performance
  • nature
  • temporality

Cite this