The National Review of Live Art is as old. ironically. as the 'l‘hatcher government. In 197*). the Midland (iroup arts centre in Nottingham hosted an event called the ‘Performance Platform’ — a small event intended to give a platform to new. young artists working in and around the realms of performance art. Since then it has grown year by year. hccoming. a few years ago. the National Review of l.ive .-\rt. llowevc r. as Nikki .\lilican director of this year‘s Review explains. the Platform remains the core of the event (unlike this year’s Iidgc 'S’ts' festival. for example. which hrought together an international array of more estahlished artists) ‘It really is about the promotion of new young artists' work. The invited and commissioned artists are to some extent the icing on the cake -’ and it's nice to set the platform work alongside professional and international work.‘
'l‘hose taking part in the Platform are selected from a huge range of artists up and down the country . who put themselves forward to their local arts centre. This year there were more than ever before. and Nikki Milican spent a day at each centre watching the work. from which she selected the In artists who will appear in (ilasgow. For those who are chosen. it offers an opportunity to see and discuss other work. as well as show their own ~ .\lilican points out. for example. that most of the issue-based. political pieces are found from the Midlands northwards. She feels. though. that the process is helpful in itself. even for those who don’t quite make it to the Review: ‘lt does have a snowhalling effect — it puts major arts venues up and down the country in touch with local artists.‘
The Review has expanded each year. This year. in addition to the Platform there will he new commissioned work from more estahlished artists (such as DVS Physical Theatre) and invited artists (such as Stephen 'l'aylor Woodrow). Some artists who appeared at last year's Platform have hcen invited hack to show how their work has progressed. and there are several formal talks. as well as plans for more spontaneous discussion. and a
This month Glasgow‘s Third Eye Centre hosts the National Review of Live Art. Sarah Hemming talked to director Nikki Milican about the changing face ofthc Revie ' and to performers Stephen Taylor Woodrow and Lloyd Newson. Complete listings overleaf.
suhstantial video input. .‘vlilican explains that when the event changed its name a few years ago. it was partly with this encouragement of a hroader range of events in mind — 'live art' as opposed to purely performance art’: ‘lt makes one feel responsihle too.‘
‘l.ive art' is also perhaps a rather less loaded term for the general public than is ‘performance art'. which can suggest something navel-inspecting and self-referential. .‘vlilican feels that some of the negative images that have built up round work on the boundaries hctw een visual arts and performance have to do with history: 'l think performance art put people off in the sixties hecause it was often had. technically. Now you get people who are much more proficient. which makes it a lot more accessihlc for the audience. Basically. performance art is about a hody in a space.’
Pointing to the hroad local audiences that the platform days attracted round the country. and the large contingent who turned out for last year’s National Review at London‘s Riverside Studios. she suggests. however. that there is a growing audience. particularly among the younger generation. for performance art. and the uneategorisaLle fields of very visual theatre. dance. video and other houndary-hlurring work. ‘(‘onventional theatre can he so boring. hut performance can really do something for them. This is an image generation: they watch a lot of video.‘
There will. of course. always he a sprinkling of fashionahle interest in such events. hut. says Milican. "l‘he National Review has survived all the fashions that performance art has undergone so far‘. and she is hoping that bringing it Io(ilasgow. building on what the Third [iye (‘entre is already doing in the field of live art. will help foster hoth audience and performers in Scotland: ‘We hope it will he successful ~ and will encourage a lot of new work in (ilasgowf
The National Review nflJt'e ar! runs 5—9 ()(‘I a! the Third live ( eitlrt’. Glasgow. For details see listings over page.
8‘t‘he List 30 Sept >— 13 ()ct fuss