What is LANA?
The Live Art Network Africa (LANA) is a network of African artists, researchers, academics, curators and writers practising and/or researching in the field of live art.
LANA was launched at the Institute for Creative Arts (ICA), University of Cape Town (UCT) at three-day event, held from 17–20 February 2018, comprising a symposium, performances and networking sessions.
Read more about the February 2018 LANA symposium, performances and networking sessions.
Download the February 2018 LANA programme.
Why was LANA established?
Live art is an ephemeral art form, which often does not live beyond the few minutes of its performance. Artists have difficulty sustaining careers in performance precisely because it is momentary and unsellable. As a result of this inherent fragility, there has tended to be a lack of infrastructure on the continent to support the growth and longevity of live art. LANA was established to create a platform for live art practitioners to connect with one another and support the development of live art in Africa.
What is live art?
Live art is not a broad term for all or any of the conventional performing arts, although live art certainly blends disciplines such as dance, music and theatre. But its roots are much more diverse and radical.
In Africa, live art is borne of extremity. Its syncretic form has evolved in response to rapidly changing social climates, colonial imposition, cultural fragmentation and political upheaval; its affective tenor of excess and irrationality embodies the unpredictability of crisis. Many artists on the continent – artists like Nora Chipaumire, Jelili Atiku, Christian Etongo, Albert Khoza and Chuma Sopotela – connect contemporary live art with classical African traditions, demonstrating that the presence of live art on the African continent long predates its coinage as a form in the West. LANA proceeds in part from the need to recognise this lineage.
In Europe at the turn of the twentieth century, visual artists, writers, musicians and architects responded to the rise of Fascism with disruptive actions and enigmatic, illogical, often shocking constructions – forming a kind of non-sequitur movement which became known as performance art.
More recently, as artists of all disciplines transgress disciplinary boundaries in new and ever-changing ways, the definition of performance art broadened to include, not only body art, but digitised works whose ‘liveness’ might exclude the living body altogether. So it was that the more contemporaneous and inclusive term ‘live art’ came into being. Transcending boundaries of visual and performing art categories, live art is best approached as art making in the moment. Much live art is also characterised by opacity – on first viewing, performances often appear inaccessible and enigmatic.
See more information below about:
Intentions for LANA, why the Network is needed, and how the goals of LANA will be taken forward:
2) FESTIVALS AND PLATFORMS FOR LIVE ART ON THE CONTINENT
Live art (or multidisciplinary) festivals on the continent – where these festivals are taking place and what are the institutes/organisations that run them?
Festivals and platforms
A non-exhaustive list of some of the interdisciplinary arts festivals and organisations supporting interdisciplinary work on the continent:
Live (or performance) art is a paradox. Transient and anarchic, live art lives inside of its time; it is disruptive, anti-establishment and non-commercial. However, artists have difficulty in sustaining a career in performance precisely because it is momentary and unsellable.
4) THEORISING LIVE ART: PUBLICATIONS AND CONFERENCES
Conferences on the continent that focus on live art, African journalists, writers and academics who are reviewing and reflecting on live art in critical, generative ways, and books or collections of essays about African live art
5) LIVE ART EDUCATION
Curricula that include the study of live art on the continent, and the success of these courses/syllabi in terms of take up from students and the impact on the quality of work being produced.