Transgenealogies of Portuguese Performance Art

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3 Citations (Scopus)


The prefix "trans" is hardly new in art history. In the 1980s and 90s, a debate sprang up among art critics, such as Bonito Oliva, (1982) and theorists, including Lyotard (1987) and Latour (1991), that set out some of the key dilemmas of these "trans" practices that are still operating today. The roots of the conceptual dynamics surrounding trans can be found in notions such as the Richard Wagner’s "total work of art", as well as in the processes of structural hybridity and, more specifically, artistic and scientific hybridity.
From this conceptual framework, this article explores transgenealogies of artistic hybridisation in Portugal (Madeira 2007, 2012, 2015) by tracing different temporal cycles from the early twentieth century up to today: Futurism and Surrealism (1920s-50s), dimensionist poetry and experimental poetry (1950s-80s), performance art (1960s-80s), the transdisciplinary developments and new hybrid performativities, such as the new dance, new theatre, etc. (1990s), and the return to performance art and reperformance practices (from 2000).
This article will highlight the transgenealogies, i.e., the genealogical transhistory of hybridism and transdisciplinarity, their networks of transversalities or regularities, produced throughout the different temporal cycles of Portuguese performance art in relation to the international art world. In order to do so, and to understand the significance of this idea of transgenealogy, the article traces the significance of the “trans” as it has inflected discourses about art—for it is the trans that brings hybridity into the visual arts, thus opening the door for performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-46
Number of pages9
JournalPerformance Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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