London’s annual festival of performance art ‘Block Universe’ is presenting cutting-edge performance art at the cross-section of contemporary visual art, dance and music. Following a successful launch in 2015, Block Universe returns for its second edition across major institutions and unique venues from 30 May to 5 June 2016, with an expanded public programme.
This week-long festival aims to create an accessible entry point for audiences to experience challenging and creative performance work, celebrating a new generation of artists in the UK performance art scene and positioning London at the forefront of the international dialogue about performance art. Block Universe also introduces a number of international artists to premiere new work in London’s most respected venues, with some showing in the UK for the first time. Block Universe aims not only to celebrate London’s role as a hub for the best in contemporary performance, but to create sustained public engagement and support for the growth of performance art to ensure its legacy.
With new performance commissions and presentations taking place at venues from the ICA to the Royal Academy of Art; the British Museum to Sadler’s Wells, Block Universe presents work by some of the most exciting UK-based and international performance artists practicing today. With the theme of The Future Perfect, performances will explore expression of self in an increasingly technologically sophisticated society, the construction of identity alongside body enhancement, ageing and immortality. Using the motifs of shared experience, individualism and anonymity as experienced online to locate the virtual in physical time and space, artists will focus on historical and future representations of the self as embodied in the present.
Louise O’Kelly, Founding Director, Block Universe says: “Following a successful launch last year we are excited to return with extraordinary work from both UK-based and international artists, and an expanded network of institutional partners. Block Universe is a space to test, challenge, experiment and inspire audiences, presenting dynamic performance that explores the space between the visual arts, dance and music. Working with internationally acclaimed museums, galleries, foundations and performance spaces to bring this year’s festival to life is a pleasure and we look forward to highlighting London’s vibrant scene once more this Summer.”
Artists performing new commissions and exclusive UK premieres of their work include niv Acosta, Alexis Blake, Jesse Darling, Philip Ewe, Lina Hermsdorf, Grace Schwindt and Mårten Spångberg, with further names to be announced. Taking a fresh look at what performance in contemporary art can mean today, works span a wide range and include sculptural elements, song, choreography, movement, video, image, text and the spoken word.
Block Universe collaborates with foundations and institutions that share the same visionary ambition to support cutting edge artistic practices today. This year’s festival has been made possible thanks to the generous support of its venue partners, Gaia Art Foundation, Delfina Foundation, Violette Editions, and other sponsors and funding bodies to be confirmed.
Block Universe 30 May – 5 June 2016 Various London Venues