Artist Talk

Conjuring the Archive: performance-lecture by Jess Dobkin

Wednesday, September 18

Doors: 7:30pm
Performance: 8:00pm

The Commons @ 401
401 Richmond Street West, 4th floor
Jess Dobkin

Conjuring the Archive
A performance-lecture by Jess Dobkin


In 2018–2019, Jess Dobkin received a Chalmers Art Fellowship in support of her current on-going research project looking at the performance art archive—her own personal archive and the archives of notable organizations and artists in the USA, UK, Mexico, Hong Kong and Canada.

Jess Dobkin approaches the archive as both site and material to investigate the lifespan and spirit life of performance art. Building on her ongoing research in international performance archives, she interrogates the relationship between live performance and documentation to explore the dynamic ways that performance can exist before and beyond the live event.

Dobkin invites us to consider:

What happens when boundaries blur and the documentation becomes the performer? 

What happens when an audience creates an archive, or when an archive becomes a space for performance?

How might artists use physical, digital, and energetic archival materials in the creation of new artworks?


Jess Dobkin has been a working artist, curator, community activist and teacher for more than 25 years, creating and producing intimate solo theatre performances, large-scale public happenings, socially engaged interventions and performance art workshops and lectures. Her practice extends across black boxes and white cubes, art fairs and subway stations, international festivals, and single bathroom stalls. She’s operated an artist-run newsstand in a vacant subway station kiosk, a soup kitchen for artists, a breast milk tasting bar, and a performance festival hub for kids. 

[Photo credit: La MaMa archive, Lesbian Herstory Archives]



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