Top Pick by Thomas John Bacon, Artistic Director Tempting Failure 2016

Tempting Failure have created a collection for Unbound. The collection contains publications written by/featuring artists who are in their 2016 programme. Additionally they chose 4 of their favourite publications. Thomas John Bacon, Artistic Director of Tempting Failure describes his choice.

The Art of Living: An Oral History of Performance Art 
Dominic Johnson

Performance Art is somewhat ethereal when we attempt to ascribe it to anything other than the live moment.  What may often be lost in academic studies is what makes it in/tangible, tenuous, testing and often thought provoking in a way that defies attempts to describe or document it. The Art of Living: An Oral History of Performance Art, was released only recently and towards the end of my own doctoral studies in the phenomenology of performance art.  It therefore was perhaps a little too late to be fully incorporated in my own research but what it does is something unique in capturing the phenomena of ‘life art’, as Anne Bean would call it, through twelve oral accounts.  

Here Johnson interviews a range of wonderful artists, giving us access to their personal perspectives, philosophies and preoccupations with a tenderness that allows each to express quite rare insights into the nature of their practices and the lives behind.  Of particular wonder is the interview with BREYER PORRIDGE entitled Positive Surrender, that I first read in Johnson’s Contemporary Histories of Performance in the UK and is reproduced here.  It offers a raw and honest account of love and identity like no other and I defy anyone not be moved when reading it. This is one of my favourite books published by Johnson and I hope we are lucky enough to have further volumes in this same series in the future.

Buy The Art of Living: An Oral History of Performance Art

See the Tempting Failure Unbound Collection

June 14, 2016

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Areas of Interest: The Almanac Series

The Live Art Almanac is a collection of 'found' writing about and around Live Art. These titles bring together texts which are representative of the most engaging, provocative, thoughtful writing around Live Art and the cultural landscape in which it is set. The Almanac Series is available to buy on Unbound.

The Live Art Almanac
Ed. Daniel Brine
2006 - 2008





The Live Art Almanac Vol. 2
Eds. Lois Keidan, CJ Mitchell and Andrew Mitchelson
2008 - 2009

The Live Art Almanac Vol. 3
Eds. Lois Keidan and Aaron Wright
2010 - 2011








The Live Art Almanac Vol.4
Eds. Harriet Curtis, Lois Keidan and Aaron Wright

June 07, 2016

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Areas of Interest: Activism and Live Art

Be energised by this selection of publications from the subject of Activism and Live Art on Unbound. Including:

Artwash: Big Oil And The Arts
Mel Evans

Artwash explores the murky world of oil sponsorship of the arts, focusing on the deep-rooted relationship between our art institutions and the multinational corporations that fund them


Truth Is Concrete: A Handbook for Artistic Strategies in Real Politics
Eds. Florian Malzacher & Steirischer Herbst

How can art play a role in social and political struggles? Can it be a tool with which to shape the world?

May 31, 2016

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Areas of Interest: Audience

Check out our collection of handpicked publications on the theme of performance and audiences:
Playing Up
Sibylle Peters
Playing Up is an artwork by Sibylle Peters, exploring the potential of Live Art to bridge generations. 

Many Headed Monster
Joshua Sofaer
An original and inventive resource for anyone interested in contemporary performance practices and their relationships with audiences. 

Museum of Water
Amy Sharrocks
A collection of publicly donated water and accompanying stories. 

May 23, 2016

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Areas of Interest: Photography

Check out our collection of titles from Unbound that have been handpicked, all surrounding the theme of performance and photography

Live Art on Camera: Performance and Photography
Ed. Alice Maude-Roxby
Live Art on Camera showcases the work of photographers who documented a selection of seminal performances from the 1950s to the present. 

Johnny Amore
A catalogue containing 58 portraits accompanied by quotes from the artists, unfolding their thoughts on the relation between performance art and photography.

 Manuel Vason
 A collaborative venture between Manuel  Vason and forty of the most visually arresting artists in the UK.

Manuel Vason
Encounters is a new and extensive collection of Manuel Vason's photographic collaborations with artists working in performance.
May 17, 2016

Books › Top Picks ›

Areas of Interest: Digital

Interested in digital performance? Take a look at our selection of handpicked publications on the theme of 'Digital' on Unbound.

Vacuum Days
Tim Etchells
Vacuum Days is a publication based on the online project by renowned UK artist, writer and theatre director Tim Etchells.

Intimacy Across Visceral and Digital Performance 
Eds. Maria Chatzichristodoulou and Rachel Zerihan
An edited collection addressing a diverse set of critical responses to the practical interrogations of the notion of being intimate in emergent and hybrid performance practices

The Dinner Party Revisited
Katherine Araniello 
Araniello's most audacious, ambitious and large-scale live-work to date , combining improvised performance with live streaming technology.

Digital Performance
Steve Dixon 
A comprehensive survey of the history of new media in relation to theatre, dance, performance art and installation. 


May 09, 2016

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Areas of Interest: Queer and Live Art

Be intrigued by a handpicked selection of publications on the theme of Queer and Live Art on Unbound.

Glorious Catastrophe
Dominic Johnson

Glorious Catastrophe presents a detailed critical analysis of the work of Jack Smith from the early 1960s until his AIDS-related death in 1989.

Otherwise: Imagining queer feminist art histories
Eds. Amelia Jones & Erin Silver

While feminist art history and queer theory both have a strong presence in academic discourse, there is no clear existing queer feminist art history.

April 25, 2016

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Areas of Interest: Participation and Live Art

Find an inspiring selection of books on the subject of Participation within a Live Art context on Unbound.

The Many Headed Monster
Joshua Sofaer

The Many Headed Monster is an original and inventive resource for anyone interested in contemporary performance practices and their relationships with audiences.  


Playing for Time: Making Art as if the World Mattered
Lucy Neal

This groundbreaking handbook is a resource for artists, community activists and anyone wishing to reach beyond the facts and figures of science and technology to harness creativity.

April 18, 2016

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Unbound Subjects: Feminism and Live Art

Be inspired by a wide range of publications on the subject of Feminism on Unbound. Including:

re.act.feminism #2 - a performing archive
Bettina Knaup and Beatrice Ellen Stammer

Based upon the touring exhibition project re.act.feminism #2 - a performing archive, is an expanding and living performance archive that travelled to six European countries from 2011 to 2013.


The Only Way Home Is Through the Show: Performance Work of Lois Weaver
Eds. Lois Weaver and Jen Harvie

Exploring Lois Weaver's collaborative work with Split Britches and Spiderwoman as well as her solo projects.

April 11, 2016

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Unbound Subjects: Disability and Live Art

Enjoy a selection of books and DVDs that push the boundaries of disability and performance from the LIve Art and Disability Collection on Unbound.

We're people who do shows': Back to Back Theatre
Eds. Helena Grehan and Peter Eckersall

This book documents and responds to the work of Back to Back Theatre by providing artistic and critical viewpoints on one of the leading theatre companies of our times.

The Dinner Party Revisited
Katherine Araniello

This publication and DVD draws together documentation of the Dinner Party Revisted - Katherine Araniello’s most audacious, ambitious and large-scale live work to date. 

Access All Areas: Live Art and Disability
Eds. Lois Keidan and CJ Mitchell

Access All Areas reflects the ways in which Live Art has represented issues of disability in inventive and radical ways.  








Bite The Hand That Feeds!
The Disabled Avant-Garde (DAG)

17 short films featuring the work of DAG - a satirical organisation formed by the artists Katherine Araniello and Aaron Williamson.