Charles Garoian, USA
Historically and theoretically, the political challenge of performance art has enabled artists to question the assumptions of traditional art and culture with respect to contemporary issues that are often considered subversive, controversial, or difficult. In doing so, they have been able to reaffirm the significance of some of those assumptions while creating new ones relevant to contemporary cultural conditions. It is this critical thinking dimension of performance art-the desire to experience, question and respond to contemporary culture and to create culture anew from interdisciplinary and intercultural perspectives-that is significant to a pedagogy of postmodern art education. A method of exploration and expression grounded in postmodern thought, performance art has enabled artists to critique traditional aesthetics, to challenge and blur the boundaries that exist between the arts and other disciplines, and those which separate art and life. With regard to cultural identity, it has provided artists with a position from which to engage historical ideologies, to question the politics of art, and to challenge the complexities and contradictions of cultural domination in the modern and postmodern worlds 1 .
Presented in the form of a live assemblage, my performance work serves as a site where ideas, images, and actions from my personal memories and cultural history serve as strategic metaphors to critique cultural oppression. I use autobiographical content to construct a politics of identity. A first generation Armenian-American, I grew up in a family environment hearing about the atrocities experienced by my emigrant parents and relatives who survived the genocide of 1915, about the persecution of family members, their friends, and their people due to their cultural difference. My parents' continual lamentations helped purge them of their pain and anguish. Directed outwards, their expressions fed my imagination, stirred my emotions, and shaped my thoughts. In today's world, the horrifying images of events born of cultural injustice continue to exist and, in doing so, influence the cultural identity issues in my work. Through performance art I expose, examine, and critique the oppressive assumptions of the body politic that have inscribed my body and shaped my identity. In doing so, the politics of culture is at the heart of my performance work.
1 Garoian, Charles: Performing Pedagogy: Toward an Art of Politics. Albany: The State University of New York Press, 1999
Regisseur an der School of Visual Arts at Penn State University, veröffentlichte in verschiedenen Kunst- und Pädagogikzeitschriften Fachartikel sein Buch "Performing Pedagogy: Toward an Art of Politics" wurde 1999 bei der State University der New York Press veröffentlicht Garoian ist Performer und Dozent er leitete an verschiedenen Orten Workshops wie dem San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, dem Cleveland Museum of Art, dem Hirshhorn Museum of Art, der Corcoran Gallerie, dem Studio for Creative Inquiry der Carnegie Mellon University, dem Cleveland Performance Art Festival, dem HERE performance space und dem Ohio Theater in New York zur Zeit ist er mit seiner Kollegin Yvonne Gaudelius Mitorganisator bei der "Performative Sites: Intersecting Art, Technology, and the Body," einem internationalen Symposium, das von der Rockefeller- und Fordstiftung finanziell unterstützt wird, und das am Penn State vom 25.-28. Oktober ausgetragen wird. Das Symposium untersucht die pädagogischen Folgen der Arbeit von Performance-Künstlern, die sich mechanischer und elektronischer Technologien bedienen, um die Technologie-Kultur und deren Einfluss auf den menschlichen Körper und dessen Identität kritsch zu betrachten.