rehearsal, Joanna Zielińska

narrator Joanna Zielińska
term rehearsal

Today, we no longer view artwork as a static object defined by a single prescribed meaning that is communicated to a universal viewer. According to Amelia Jones, the notion of performativity highlights the open-ended interpretation of an artwork – which must be understood as a process. Performativity opens up the process of reinterpretation and revision of discourses, artistic practices, and artworks. Such a critical strategy offers the means to open up the possibilities of the artwork's reception, through multiple readings of one work, which introduces the possibility of ambivalence, confusion, subversive, and non-normative interpretation of artworks, collections, and archives. The phenomenon of performativity is also associated with systems of production and labour, models of collecting, and a type of institution that is different from previous, traditional models, and which is based on a methodology derived from disciplines other than the visual arts. Artistic practices and time-based media require different care strategies and production systems. In the context of contemporary art, the practice of rehearsal is becoming a new way of approaching research-based projects and exhibition formats. It is evolving into a very relevant format in the context of time-based media such as performance. The methodology of rehearsal in the visual arts has its own characteristics, different from the context of theatre. The process of rehearsing in classical theatre aims at perfection and virtuosity; whereas in contemporary art it appears as a contradictory model of practice where the final outcome is open, improvisational, and dialogue-oriented. Rehearsal becomes a tool for questioning the foundations, routines, restrictions, limitations, and instrumentalised genres. Rehearsal represents zones of transition, collective agency and authorship, and distinct relationships. It becomes a medium of collective formation. The methodology of rehearsal introduces innovative labour structures and productivity. What does this mean for institutions, audiences, and cultural workers? Does rehearsal hold a transformative power or does it constitute a risk for institutional stability?