What is live art?



What is live art? Well, at its most fundamental, Live Art is when an artist chooses to make work directly in front of the audience in space and time. So instead of making an object, or an environment (a painting for example) and leaving it for the audience to encounter in their own time, Live Art comes into being at the actual moment of encounter between artist and spectator. Or at least even if they are not physically present, the artist sets up a situation in which the audience experience the work in a particular space and time, and the notion of ‘presence’ is key to the concerns of the work.’ –Joshua Sofaer


In my recent practice, I’ve been leaning towards the Live Art format, through my recent use of live streaming as a form of temporary documentation and as an online performance piece for my final examination project ‘Artist’s Statement’ http://cargocollective.com/radicallyvisible

This piece was an attempt for the performance to exist both URL and IRL at the same time in the same moment, it was a performance that couldn’t be replicated and/or take place again. It was to only exist for that moment and for that moment only. Live Art offers immersive experiences, often disrupting distinctions between spectator and participant and blurring the lines.


Artist’s Statement was an act of Encrypted Performance, of expanding oneself as a holding place.

Of a failed/successful attempt to escape representation as performance, performance as representation.

Of a failed/successful attempt to become Radically Visible, activating the viewer instead of passively receiving.

Through rhythm and interruption

Through vocalization as a summoning.

In comparison to performance art, which has been an established genre in the US since the 1970’s, the term ‘Live Art’ was an attempt to acknowledge the diversity of live based arts practices. Live Art, to me, has served as a new language for the representation of ideas and identities, and new strategies for intervening and/or disrupting the audience, whether it be subversive or direct in the public sphere.


‘The term Live Art is not a description of an artform or discipline, but a cultural strategy to include experimental processes and experiential practices that might otherwise be excluded from established curatorial, cultural and critical frameworks. ‘


Live Art has offered me a space in which, as an artists, I can take  formal and conceptual risks, create a context to look at different mediums of expression, explore ideas of process, presence and endurance, and investigate relationships with an audience. Creating sensory immersion, to shock, to break apart traditions of representation, to open different kinds of engagement with meaning. Resisting definitions, asking awkward questions and activating audiences.


‘Live Art has proved to be a potent site, where the disenfranchised and disembodied become visible, and where the politics of difference are contested.’


Live Art occupies a huge range of sites and circumstances, from the institutional to artist-led interventions; from actions in galleries and performances in theatres, to artists working outside of the constraints of official culture, within civic or social spheres, in challenging and unexpected sites, or at the points where live and mediated cultures converge.

Live Art can also span extremities of scales – from intimate one-on-one encounters to civic spectacles, to the mass participation of virtual events. Wherever they may take place or whatever shape they may be, Live Art practices are concerned with all kinds of interventions in the public sphere and all kinds of encounters with an audience.


Live Art offers immersive experiences, Live Art asks us what it means to be here, now. In the simultaneity and interactivity of a media saturated society, Live Art is about immediacy and reality: creating spaces to explore the experience of things, the ambiguities of meaning and the responsibilities of our individual agency.

Interested to find out more about Live Art? Check out the LADA organization and their current opportunities:


Established in 1999, the Live Art Development Agency (LADA) is the world’s leading organisation for Live Art, producing specialized projects, opportunities, resources and publications for those who make, watch, research, study, teach, produce, present, write about and archive Live Art, and creating conditions in which diversity, innovation and risk in contemporary culture can thrive.

LADA is a ‘Centre for Live Art’: a knowledge centre, a production centre for programmes and publications, a research centre setting artists and ideas in motion, and an online centre for digital experimentation, representation, and dissemination.

LADA particularly supports the most challenging artists, practices and ideas of contemporary culture, including emerging artists, and artists from culturally diverse backgrounds.

LADA is an independent organisation based in The White Building in Hackney Wick, East London. Run by Space Studios, The White Building focuses on innovation and creative practice at the intersection of art, technology and sustainability.

“LADA is an uncompromising, astonishing and vital resource in the field of Live Art in the UK and beyond.” — Tim Etchells, LADA Patron


Further Links:


LADA: http://www.thisisliveart.co.uk/about/