Where once Performance lived only in the fleeting, transitory time between an artist taking to the stage and the work’s final bow, in 2011, performance has become incorporated in corporate notions of mass-production and staid syndication. To reclaim Performance’s rightful, impermanent place atop the fugitive stage, La Scatola Gallery is pleased to present Channel.

Rather than providing their audience a television equipped with a programme-guide, for just one night, three artists refuse to condition their crowd with any description of what they will broadcast. In doing so, the performance strips away the comfort that accompanies knowing exactly what is to come. Armed only with their curiosity, Channel’s spectators will indulge in a privileged calamity. Confronted by a raw, one-time-only showing, both passers-by and those invited will be taken back to Performance’s unrepeatable roots.

In signing a contract with La Scatola, the artists have legally agreed to never reproduce the night’s performance. In doing so, the weight of the performance is shifted to the exclusive event, and value is given to the occasion rather than its impotent copies.

As much a homage to the Happenings of Conceptual Art’s heyday as the evening will be an uprising against current ‘performers” desires to recycle, Channel situates itself both in the untamed past and a feral future of its shaping. Playing on reality-TV’s infidelity to what it reinterprets as ‘true’, the night offers a blinding glimpse into the unpredictable space between spontaneity and script.

In viewing Channel, the audience is written into the limited-edition, one-run Performance, and forever intertwined within the fleeting night. Please join La Scatola as it reunites Performance with the rapture of impermanence.

The performance will be documented by Olivia Humphreys, winner of the Best Postgraduate Factual Film, Royal Television Society Awards (2010) and the Best Documentary, Exposures Film Festival (2010).

A multimedia artist, Soheila Sokhanvari incorporates found objects into rich and bizarre narratives that question the magic of realism and the converse. Sokhanvari completed a postgraduate diploma in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art & Design, London before attending Goldsmiths College, University of London, where she was awarded an MFA. Channel coincides with her solo show, The Storyteller, also at La Scatola.

Hannah Catherine Jones is an artist, musician, composer and performer. She received her BFA from Ruskin, University of Oxford. She is completing an MFA at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

João Nôro Caldeira is a Portuguese artist based in London, with a strong focus on performance. He received his BFA in painting in Lisbon. This year he completed his MFA at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

An exhibition curated by Valentina Fois.
Words: Chris Piegza

One-Run Performance
Thursday 01.09.11
6 – 8.30pm


Words on Channel

Performances were conceived as a means of stimulating a critical consciousness in the viewer / spectator and, in that respect, the formula Art = Life possessed a far more concrete significance. Life as experienced in a Happening was no longer a presented mere reproduction or symbolic interpretation of our existential reality. It was rather a confrontation with our alienated existence in late-capitalist society, a discourse on the conflict between our real self and its alienated state. Through the performance the audience was encouraged to experience the authenticity of their existence in opposition to “life unlived”. The advantage of performance over painting/sculpture/environment was that it could draw the audience into a live experience of their social surroundings. Günter Berghaus

What does Performance mean today?

What is it?

Sometimes when I look at a performance, I feel like I am in a “movie”. I watch a show that someone has prepared for me, I struggle to find meaning in what I see most of the times. However it is even worse, if someone will explain it to me in advance, I will end up to get even less content about that specific performance.

I mentioned the word “movie” because very often all these performances are recorded to be replayed several times, they are recycled for other exhibitions in museums and galleries. Even in the days of dear Vito Acconci, back in the core of Conceptual Art and Happenings, performances were recorded, but this was an act devoted to the documentation, a performance was a way to make sure that their art could not be collected! Nowadays it seems to me that instead of documenting, an artist wants to recycle his/her work, use it over and over again to the point that nothing remains. The saddest fact is that the message behind the performance also gets recycled several times.

Why does this happen?

Have we got no more to say?
Yet there are so many things to be said and so many things to be changed.
What about the political conflicts around the world?
What about the alimentary problems and all these kids who were born “already fat”?
What about Facebook and other social networks that make the majority of the population live a virtual life?
What about the fact that if you are poor you will die poor and if you do not have the money you cannot study?
What about the devastation of the natural environments…

Need I say more?

I am stating the obvious, but unfortunately they are major problems for some, and may be unknown problems for others. Many of us are absorbed in the virtual reality and we end up living in a box, in a TV screen. Everything takes on the connotations of a “movie”.

Today I am wearing this shirt because it’s a trend according to the mainstream.
Tomorrow I am going to see the exhibition someone suggested because it’s what everyone is talking about.

With this performance, we do not mean anything in particular. (True? False?)

We want to offer a TV show inside a TV. Giving the viewers the right and the freedom to decide what to think. They can chose which message they want to draw from this exhibition, how to engage themselves with us, the space and the artists.

This show is my polemic against the world, and my expectations on Arts.

A call to a mental rebellion, wake up and take what you deserve, stop following the masses and instead live your life and not the virtual one. Close your laptop and come over to speak about ART with us, share your ideas and aspirations, you do not need to be on the ‘Guest list’.

Yours ideas are all you have, give them away and nothing will belong to you.

Valentina Fois


Watch the video of the Private View