We did some reading and had a discussion in the DevisingHub. Random thoughts on this topic came about when I was running around the lake. I hope I still remember some of them.
Normally a key feature of performing art is repeatability, although some productions vary every day and some only get performed several times. It is hard to repeat many performance art pieces, especially those extremely intense events. Repeating them is either impossible or making the observers or participants feel fake. Repetition will ruin the suspension and sense of danger because there is no limitation of how sincere and severe the event could be. Of course there are also repeatable performance works. Some of them are slow-paced in the nature, and some create states of being instead of events.
The emphasis of performing arts is not just put on what to present or represent, but also on how to present. The latter is sometimes much more important. It has been a great joy for people in the theater who share the knowledge and skills to appreciate the how. For some styles, finer performances are usually less realistic. It is hard to say how much pleasure come from the subtle appreciation and how much from the shared secrecy of a insiders’ group. On the other hand, such skills or knowledge do not conventionally make up a part of performance art. Ideally, people dive into water of unknown each time. It makes performance art easy to comprehend from the surface level. It also lowers the threshold for artists. The trade-off is to face more difficulties in creating effective experiences.