A Manifesto is a document that seeks to pass certain information about a certain issue as viewed by somebody. Personal performance Manifestos as such, are therefore documents that consists of an Individual’s views, about how an artiste presentations should be created and presented.
Performance Manifesto history can be traced back to the early 1910’s when groups of artists which included futurists, Dadaists and the likes, used them to express their views on what art really was and what it encompassed.
There after performance manifesto have been recurrently used with main embassies associated to avant-garde Modernism. Thus rise in the use of personal performance manifesto can be also associated to the emergence of internet technology which has created a potential world wide audience.
According to Tristan Tzara (A historical artist), A performance manifesto is like a communication made to the whole world, whose main pretension is on the discovery of an instant cure for political, social, astronomical, economical artiste and literary syphilis. (Lee Scivner ). Performance of artiste presentations since their start hundreds of years back has undergone a series of transformation.
This has been occasioned by things like, changing level of technology and preferences of people among many other reasons. Performance of hundred years back is very different with contemporary performances in many aspects ranging from the styles, genres among many other aspects.
However, these changes are not enough to satisfy the needs of the contemporary society. Worse still the rapid change have caused some other valuable aspects which were common in historical performances to be ignored. Due to the above two reasons personal performance manifestos have been on the increase especially from critics and friends of theatre.
A keen scrutinization of majority of this performance manifesto shows a uniform, a similar and a common argument, that the contemporary society is becoming more informed day by day and hence needs retirement and competency in general theatric performance.
To begin, it would be fair to say that the contemporary society is dying to see a performance that is socio-political, economic, and erotical, mystical, that does not just make people amused for exchange of their hard-earned cash.
The contemporary society needs performances that grows up not knowing it is performance at all, a performance given the chance of having a string point of zero.(Harron, C. and Wood, P (2006) Art in Theory, 1900 – 2000 an anthology of changing ideas. 2 ed. USA Blackwell Publishing).
The above things can only be achieved by doing away with bourgeois sickness, commercialized culture, work of dead performance, imitation, artificial performance, Abstract performance, illusionist performance and Mathematical performances. Inn addition all people including both materially and morally (Fluxes manifestation by George Meckonaz – 1963).
Once more contemporary society is desperate for performance that will integrate many cultures of the world. We are living in a world full of socio-political and economic injustices and therefore any avenue which seeks to take us away from these injustices is highly welcomed.
In many instances performances have been staged with the main aim of addressing these injustices but sincerely speaking it has not been enough. Therefore there is a great need form performance which will integrate the diverse cultures in view of addressing the above injustices which in most cases are brought about by cultural differences.
Art, Music and Poetry the three mean genres of performance need to be fully recognized by the relevant authorities. It is only by due recognizers that the quality of performance will be improved. This is because potential and practicing performances will start taking their work seriously and therefore give a performance which is in line with 21st Century performance expectations. The relevant authorities have included Ministries in charge of social affairs and governments.
The above views and opinions about the fate of performance in respect to 21st century expectations do not mean the state of performance as of now are pathetic. This is only an eye opener to the stakeholders in the performance industry so that they can pull up their socks and live to the standards of the changing world.
As a matter of fact contemporary performance can be said to be among the very many sectors which have struggled to stay in level with changes of time and technology. It is not a surprise therefore new styles of performance have sprouted all over.
For instance in Music new styles have come up with the latest being hi-hop music. Contemporary artists (sculptors, painters) Writers, Poets are also doing a commendable job but t is imperative that they put more efforts in their work to stay in level with the 21st Century demands.
Another area sensitive to performance industry is production of artistic works. This is where contemporary performance is failing as compared to historic performances. With emerging technology it is obvious production of artists work is done with care and without any problems arising, but it is sad to not that unscrupulous pirates are making use of improvement in technology to come up with illegal publications of these artistic works without the consent of the artists producer.
This needs to be done away with once and for all, so as to let the real beneficiaries of royalties coming from the sale of their music.
This manifesto also covers the improvement of performance instruments and equipments as another key method of taking performances in general to a higher level in relation to 21st Century. Most of artistic performances require the accompaniment of instruments. As such, therefore latest instruments and equipments need to be invented and pt into constant use. Many are time when potential performers are limited to the option of producing their items. This is sometimes due to lack of enough funds to access the equipments.
There is dire need also to change the mode of presentation of performances.. A new mode or language of presentation should be introduced so as to help save the audience of the usual common place methods of performance presentation.
Lastly it is important that the actors and the audience collaborates and share ideas as to what really needs to be addressed in the contemporary performances. This will enable actors and artists to come up with only those performances that are morally upright and help the contemporary society in solving mysteries of nature.
This manifesto is not in any way exhaustive as to what needs to be done or not in contemporary performances to meet the 21st century demands. Therefore the above listed views and opinions may be challenged but of importance to note is that they were arrived at after a careful scrutization of the current and historical performance trends. They are practically possible to implement and therefore result driven.
A Critical Reflection of the above Personal Performance Manifesto
Once again it is in order to note that the writing of Manifestos is not a practice which has started just the other day as explained above.
Manifesto writing has been with us over the last one hundred years. Critics and artists write manifestos so as to relay a message of dissatisfaction of a previous practice and therefore put forth a correctional course of action. In relation to the above manifesto for the 21st century it is crystal clear that the previous practices employed in performance industry needs to be overhauled if the 21st century demands and expectations are to be realized.
The manifestos recommendations are therefore not in any way hollow, they are commonplace…. Yes but greatly serves to put the level of performances in the right track towards the 21st century expectations.
The Manifesto talked of performances that are in themselves informing. It is just sad to note that even today people continue staging performances which are substandard despite many efforts by other people who are determined to take performance industry a level higher.
This point seeks to bring out the difference between what contemporary performance should give its audience as compared to the historical performances when things were very different from what they are today.
In respect to Karen Finley who is currently based in New York, performance need also to take a different dimension if they will continue being used as a tool for informing, educating and also entertaining.
Karen has pushed beyond the boundaries of normal practices and natural acts and as a result her works have drawn a lot of attention.
Although this much attention led her in to waling along the corridors of justice following low suits filed against her work by politicians it is a nice piece of work for the 21st century.