Performative Work – An Academic Reflection

According to performance artist Amanda Coogan in her writing What is Performance Art?, there is an important distinction between live performance art and performative work; the former being a durational presentation that takes place in a location involving an audience to witness it, and the latter a recording or representation of a live performance work or a presentation made without an audience (ibid, n.p.).

The durational temporality of live performance art has it’s challenges when it comes to disseminating the work. Coogan argues that representations of a live performance in the form of still image and moving image works are ‘…unavoidably dislocated from the context of their live presentation’, but also that these works can ‘…hold their own potency independent of the live moment’ (ibid, n.p.).

One contemporary artist that makes great use of disseminating their live performance art through potent performative works is visual artist and dancer from the Philippines, Eisa Jocson.

In her public performance project Stainless Borders: The Deconstruction of Architectures of Control (Fig. 1), Jocson performs pole dancing moves on steel poles that exist in the urban landscape such as flagpoles, signposts and handrails, as an exploration of how the body can move within these ‘architectures of control’ in a playful manner. She has produced a series of photographs to capture moments from these performances, which are currently disseminated online on her website and social media.

Her 2010 live performance work Death of the Pole Dancer took place in a gallery setting and also produced performative works. These performative works of the original performance continue to be disseminated on the artists social media and website. These were also included in a newer work by Jocson, Corponomy, in which she reflected upon and repurposed previous performative pieces. This was exhibited as recently as January 2020 following its selection for the prize of Hugo Boss Asia Art Award 2019.

It can be argued that there is an importance in creating quality still and moving image works in order to best represent the intention of a live performance after it has occurred. Not only does creating high quality work lead to the ease of exhibiting resulting performative works in physical and online settings as artworks in their own right, it can act as a container for carrying the potency of the original performance with longevity. It also gives rise to creative opportunities for repurposing previous work.


Coogan, A. (2015) ‘What is Performance Art?’, IMMA Magazine [online]. Available at: [accessed: 4 December 2022].

Hugo Boss Asia Art(2019) Eisa Jocson Wins The HUGO BOSS ASIA ART Award 2019 [online], November 6, available: [accessed: 11 March 2023].

Jocson, E. (2013) 2010 Stainless Borders, Eisa Joscon [online], available: [accessed: 11 March 2023].