Paulo Luís Almeida
Faked Acts: Aspects of the performative dimension of drawing
This study aims to explore one simple idea: that drawing processes are frequently determined by the transference of practices that belong to other performative domains. By ‘transference of practices’ I mean the creative and cognitive mechanisms from which drawing borrows or appropriates patterns of action from other processes, substituting them by its own means and supports.
These mechanisms are common phenomena in daily interaction. Their manifestations are probably more evident in iconic gestures – gestures that are based in a formal resemblance with that which they refer to, or on the imitation of a procedure (McNeill, 1992). In a way, they are implied in what George Lakoff and Mark Johnson referred to as mataphors we live by. The gesture of [waiving] as a celebration of a goal scored in soccer; the gesture that simulates [cutting] to induce the end of a conversation; or, the mere possibility of making a knot on a tie to asphyxiate someone – these are all examples of appropriation of contextual marks and of an act and its displacement to another perfomative field. Nevertheless, in these cases, the gestures are simply a manifest part of a perfomative process which is wider and linked to more complex ramifications.
While simple, this idea is fundamental in two aspects.
First, it allows us to understand the exponential interest in the use of drawing in performative contexts. And this is the main hypothesis which I aim to expose here: within a performative context, drawing becomes a faked act – an act which is generated by the substitution of another act that is not aimed to take place or is not possible to be undertaken.
Secondly, this idea exposes the fact that the performative dimension of drawing largely surpasses the disciplinary space of performance, while integrating it also, making part of a conceptual system that filters certain properties of the real through acts that are put forward in order to understand it.
Paulo Luís Almeida is a drawing Lecturer at the Faculdade de Belas Artes da Universidade do Porto. He is currently developing a PhD at the Facultad de Bellas Artes de la Universidad del País Vasco, Bilbao, funded by the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia through the Program POCI 2010 e FSE. In 2002 he obtained a degree in Advanced Research Studies - grau de Suficiencia Investigadora – by the Facultad de Bellas Artes de la Universidad del País Vasco. Some accomplished activities: exhibition “Sinonímia: Drawing, painting and video” at CUBIC – contemporary art, Lisbon (2005); co-organizer and commissioner of the exhibition “100 Drawing: friction, impression, dilution” at Maus hábitos, Porto, and at Convento de Corpus Christi, V.N.Gaia (2005); Commissioner of the series of exhibitions CUBIC – contemporary art, at CUBIC, Lisbon (2004); Organizer and commissioner of the project White Spaces (a platform with the aim of confronting the image-video with the public space through window projections) at CUBIC contemporary art, Lisbon (2004).