What is the essence of a live act?  Setting a tone of curious enquiry Anne Marsh introduces her book with thought-provoking questions that navigate the ephemeral medium of performance art, and the critical dialogues that debate its changing nature.

Focussing on case studies that are primarily Australian and post-1990, each chapter reveals key themes from the philosophy of live performance and the role of documentation, to the elements of shamanism and ritual in performative theory, and the body’s entwined relationship with the practice.   Marsh assesses the tension between the live performance and its documentation, asking whether the nature and impact of the live act is sustained or if this is even a critical focus for artists today.

Astute and well-researched, the book is multifaceted in its exploration of this enigmatic art and its multiple interpretations by artists, institutions and audiences in contemporary art.   It is a highly revealing portrait of an art practice that defies a single definition.

Author: Anne Marsh
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
RRP: $89.95

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