1808: Performing Museum

By Myer Taub.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In 2008, I received a request from Iziko Museums, Cape Town to begin an exploratory process of how to activate Iziko’s museum spaces through performance strategies. These strategies were similar to those explained by Charles R. Garoian, who justifies his reasons for activating museum spaces with performance and performance art as a way to provide accessibility and attract an audience beyond traditional museum demographics, to rupture the privileged institutional structures inherent within the museum and to transform the museum space from a repository of objects to that of aesthetic contemplation and contestation (Performing pedagogy: towards an art of politics, Garoian 211-212: 1999). Four performance projects were specifically created for the museum. Each project occurred at specific museum sites related to their various museum displays and commemorative days and incorporated themes of identity, slavery and HIV/AIDS. These projects included Miss Nothing (2008), 1808 (2008), Implantation (2009) and Christine’s Room (2010). Each of these projects demands their own explication. And since undertaking a course of reflection surrounding these projects, this has occurred. For this presentation I would like to concentrate on one project as a case study 1808 (2008). The work of 1808 was intended to combine historical re-enactment of the 1808 slave rebellion in the Cape with themes around contemporary Cape identity and alternate notions around performance. It is an example of how a project’s histories, its making and its redisplay, can be considered as a demonstration of the performing museum.

Keywords: Performance, Theatre, Art, Historical Re-enactment, Slavery

International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp.29-40. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.110MB).

Dr. Myer Taub

Post Doctoral Research Fellow, Research Centre for Visual Identity and Design, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

Myer Taub is a post doctoral fellow at the Research Centre for Visual Identity and Design, University of Johannesburg. He was awarded a PhD in drama from the University of Cape Town in July 2009. His Doctoral thesis is called: ‘Lessons from an aftermath: recovery of self through trans-disciplinary applied drama practice’. Soon after, he was awarded a Research Fellowship at the Research Centre: Visual Identities and Design, University of Johannesburg and an interdisciplinary artists residency at The Bag Factory Artist’s Studios, Fordsburg in order to create several interdisciplinary projects, exhibitions and workshops for the Studios. And thereafter he was awarded a Post Doctoral Fellowship from the University of Johannesburg’s Research Centre, Visual Identities in Art and Design and the National Research Foundation of South Africa.


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