MAKING TIME: Mark Franko

The Arts Research Center at UC Berkeley is sponsoring the symposium MAKING TIME: Art Across Gallery, Screen, and Stage taking place from April 19-21, 2012. Participants have been invited to respond to the prompt “what does the phrase ‘time-based art’ mean to you?” in advance of the event. This posting is by Mark Franko, Professor of Dance and Performance Studies at UC Santa Cruz. 

The debate over Michael Fried’s “Art and Objecthood” some time ago raised an awareness that sculpture could be a time-based art, and that the time of art belonged principally to the beholder in a situation of viewing that Fried characterized negatively as “theatrical” but that was also reclaimed positively by others. Since then I think the term “theatricality” has given way to the term interdisciplinarity.
I have thought about these issues in the context of the Center for Visual and Performance Studies at UCSC where we have staged seminars and conferences on related to the interdisciplinary methodologies and of the visual and performative. In an article I co-authored with Catherine Soussloff, “Visual and Performance Studies. New History of Interdisciplinarity” [in Social Text 73, 20/4 (Winter 2002): 29-46] we examined the epistemologies of interdisciplinary art practices both historically and institutionally. One other pertinent publication that emerged from our conferences is the collective volume I edited Ritual and Event: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (Routledge, 2007).
With respect to dance, I have long felt time operates as the “space” for reflection. In particular the slowing down of dance, which I have long practiced in with my own choreography, brings the sensation of time in viewing and interpretation to the fore. This was particularly true for me in my collaboration with photographer Ernestine Rubin, Le Marbre Tremble (Toulon Art Museum). Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett has spoken of the museum theatre and of the “slow object” and “performing museology”.