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Dance as Performance as Art

Tahni Holt, Culture Machine, Portland2010

By Lisa Radon April 23, 2010


The issue raised a piece on recently, Can Dance be Performance Art? –, of the blurring of lines between dance and performance art puts the Portland2010 Biennial at the center of the conversation. Curator Criss Moss has included Tahni Holt’s Culture Machine in the biennial, with performances this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Disjecta.

The artinfo piece points to dancers making performance work (notably Tino Seghal), artists including dance in their works, and choreographers inviting artists to choreograph. It’s a chocolate-in-my-peanut-butter/peanut-butter-in-my-chocolate situation that leaves curator Ralph Lemon asking just, "what’s the difference between the performance art and the performing arts?"

PICA’s TBA Festival has long included contemporary dance and performance pieces that blur lines between dance and performance and theater. But the Oregon Biennial never included time-based anything, so Portland2010 is bold and refreshing (in more ways than one).

I was wowed by a preview of work-in-progress Culture Machine Tahni did with Thomas Thorson at Valentine’s for Through the Lens. She told the Mercury’s Matt Stangel that Culture Machine was inspired by, "Werner Herzog’s short documentary, The Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner," in which the Herzog "[blurs] the lines between director, documentarian and character." You will want to see this. Three performances: April 23, 6 PM; April 24, 5 PM; April 25, 4 PM at Disjecta.

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