Capturing a Moment: Where net art and performance meet

LIMA and the Stedelijk Museum recently presented the forum event, featuring a performance and talks, titled "Capturing a Moment: Where net art and performance meet". During this event Annet Dekker (independent curator/researcher), Gabriella Giannachi (University of Exeter), and Vivian van Saaze (Maastricht University) addressed the issues surrounding the documentation and preservation of ephemeral artworks, such as net art, performance, and live art.

With the arrival of ephemeral, conceptual, performance, networked, and processual works of art, documentation — a work’s physical remnant or trace — has become the focus of conservation and presentation strategies. These artistic practices, however, also challenge existing forms of documentation, resulting in new ways of thinking about documentation practice. Documenting a performance artwork is about capturing a moment. In that moment, many things happen simultaneously, forming layers of experience. Much of this experience is intangible, particularly when electronic and digital media is involved. Currently, institutions of contemporary art are working on procedures for conserving performance and other ephemeral artworks. What knowledge and new methods for the documentation, transmission, and preservation of these works are under construction? What can be learned from other practices within and outside of the scope of the museum? Moreover, what do these changes imply for the role and function of the museum?



Prior to the keynote talks was a live performance by the artistic duo Joan Heemskerk and Dirk Paesmans, also known as JODI, who presented the work "THIS PAGE CONTAINS...". Seven people from various backgrounds (research, artists, registrars) were asked to document this performance from their own perspective. Annet Dekker and Gaby Wijers, who invited the documentors, encouraged subjectivity, and collaboratively the documentors created an unusual yet informative representation of the evening. The results of these efforts are available below:

Lucas Battich (AR): Written account of the event, combining presonal impressions with objective script logs

Molly Bower (US) & Nina van Doren (NL): A folder containing technical and subjective information in human-readable form

Michaela Lakova (BG): Video reinterpretation

Hélia Marçal (PT): Written personal impressions of the event

Thomas Walskaar (NO): Video record of the event from the audience

Julie Boschat Thorez (FR): A folder compiling the documentation of JODI's performance THIS PAGE CONTAINS and its dissemination. The compilation is available as a download and also via a torrent file.


This Public Program was a collaboration between the Stedelijk Museum (Margriet Schavemaker, Head of Publications and Research, Britte Sloothaak, Assistant Curator), LIMA (Gaby Wijers), and Annet Dekker. Learn more about the speakers, artists and the event here.