Delfina Foundation

Theme: Performance as Process - Stage 1

A programme of artistic research and production

Performance as Process took place in Winter 2015 and returns to Delfina Foundation in Spring 2016.

The first stage brought together visual artists, curators, writers, film makers, and live art and other cultural practitioners to broadly explore how ‘performance’ – from daily routines to public protests to religious rituals – plays an inherent role in cultural production. The aim of the programme is to consider performance as a way of approaching and understanding the world, just as much as it is a medium of producing art or engaging with the public. Residents were invited to research, create new work, meet and collaborate, share skills, and reflect on the performative aspect of their artistic practice, which could range from ‘fine art’ or live art. Gabriela Salgado was Delfina Foundation's curatorial advisor to the residents over the 10-week programme from January to March 2015.

Performance as Process (Stage 1) followed our first thematic season The Politics of Food in Winter 2014 and our second season The Public Domain in Spring 2014. All programmes continue as undercurrents to our broader research and production at Delfina Foundation.  Stage 2 of Performance as Process takes place in Spring 2016.

As part of Performance as Process, Delfina Foundation launched Staging Histories, a specific initiative to document the history of performance art from, and in relation to, the Arab world.  The project has already produced two exhibitions: Echoes & Reverberations at Hayward Gallery Project Space and A Prologue to the Past and Present State of Things at Delfina Foundation.


Alvaro Ugarte (Mexico) is interested in constructing unusual situations and creating subtle artworks that are almost non-existent to the observer. He seeks to create a long lasting and unsettling effect on audiences through performative interventions that may be visible for fleeting moments. In his current research, Ugarte is exploring the concept and use of magic, with a particular focus on supernatural occurrences that have permeated culture throughout time. During his time at Delfina Foundation, he will continue this research focusing on audience perception of the inexplicable. With this in mind, Ugarte aims to develop and work towards an ephemeral, site specific performance.

In her work, Bona Park (South Korea) has been projecting and researching how social systems, including art systems, work and who works behind them. Her artworks are often reproduce social conditions in exhibition spaces and provide acute political commentary.  While at Delfina Foundation, she intends to spend time developing her research into the social systems at play within London as a specific context. The results of her residency are likely to contribute to a solo exhibition scheduled to take place in Seoul in early 2015.

Oscar Santillan (Ecuador/The Netherlands) has been developing a way of looking at the world that resembles that of the pre-modern lens. Taking the Enlightenment distinction between ‘speculation’ and ‘reasoning’ as a working principle, he blurs these concepts through playful and humorous performative experiments. In his performances, Santillan hopes to generate open-ended situations, a process of pointing out the unnoticed gap between two distant histories and producing sparks from their forced meeting. Santillan will use the residency as an opportunity for research and reflection to stage a new encounter.

Working in a variety of media including video and drawing, Jean-Paul Kelly (Canada) explores the relationship between materiality and perception. The images and objects he creates pose questions about the limits of representation by examining complex associations between found photographs, videos, and sounds from documentaries, photojournalism, and online media streams. By working through these documents, Kelly seeks to illuminate the gap between physical matter and the subjective experience of it in the world. For his residency at Delfina Foundation, Kelly will interrogate the idea of performing memory. Prompted by the UK’s Criminal Justice Act that prohibits recording and sketching in court, he intends to attend public court hearings for white-collar crimes and then use his own subjective recollection to perform the most objective account possible.


Yasmin Jahan Nupur (Bangladesh) has a performative practice that tackles a number of political struggles facing the world today, concentrating in particular on their impact on humanity. She creates conceptually based socio-political, cultural and environmental objects, installations and performances that take on broad subjects such as feminism, national identity, climate change, war and the economic crisis. Her time at Delfina will be a period of reflection on the idea of performance as process in relationship to her practice. As a result, the residency will provide her with the opportunity to develop ideas for future projects.

Jumana Emil Abboud (Palestine) uses drawing, video, performance, objects and text to navigate themes of memory, loss and resilience. She poses questions related to memory as read through the body, through folklores and folktales, through home and homeland, and through cultural ritual or practice.  Her residency will be a period of reflection on her practice to date, which has centred on video performances, to explore creating a live art performance.


Benjamin Abras (1975, Contagem (MG) Brazil) is a multimedia artist and dancer. 
He is disciple of the traditions of Candomblé, Umbanda and capoeira Angola, of which he is professor and disciple of master João Bosco's group 'I'm Angoleiro "and Yao Ilê Ogunfunmilayo directed by Babalorixá Erisvaldo Ogun.

Benjamin Abras (1975, Contagem (MG) Brazil) is a multimedia artist and dancer. He is a disciple of the traditions of Candomblé, Umbanda and capoeira Angola, of which he is professor and a disciple of master João Bosco's group 'I'm Angoleiro "and Yao Ilê Ogunfunmilayo directed by Babalorixá Erisvaldo Ogun.

Kate Strain (Ireland) is a curator who has been developing a project entitled The Centre for Dying on Stage, a research body and platform anchored to notions of disappearance and performativity, which includes an online archive that collates instances of public deaths that have occurred in performative settings. While at Delfina Foundation, Strain plans to establish the framework for the composition of a script, anchored conceptually to this project and developed using collaborative strategies.


Alex Baczynski-Jenkins (UK Associate) has an expanded choreographic practice with a queer politic. Often taking social, everyday performances that enact a fantasy, he amplifies and mutates them to produce affective spaces of re-imagining and undoing normativity. Performance is thought as a technology of other-worlding through affect, embodiment and desire. Baczynski-Jenkins develops subtle, queer interventions in public space. Describing his recent work as behavioural choreography, an idea that relies on a shared embodied vocabulary, he hopes to develop this notion while at Delfina Foundation.

Lawrence Lek (UK Associate) explores the physical experience of simulated presence through wearable devices, audio-visual programs, and immersive installations. His practice reflects the impact of the virtual on our perception of reality, in particular our altered sense of control over our environment. Creating interactive virtual worlds, the audience can freely explore Lek’s digital spaces, often based on real places. Shifting his focus from the spatial aspect of the virtual, Lek has recently been researching concepts of virtual time in relationship to ritual. While UK associate at Delfina Foundation, he will develop work that uses the participatory medium of video games to reveal the underlying forms of ritualised behaviour that govern how we inhabit digital and physical space.

In the practice of the collective I’m With You (UK Associates; Johanna Linsley, Christa Holka and R. Justin Hunt) flexibility, collectivity and alternative understandings of the domestic tend to be paired with provisional, temporary and precarious conditions to think through notions of queer domesticity. Their performative work often responds to the location and the relationship between the live, the collaborative, the documented and the individually authored is a key part of their work. Recently, they have been developing the project Gorge, a performance, meal, and conversation that brings people around a dinner table for a messy, politically charged encounter. They will continue to develop this project while associates at Delfina Foundation with a focus on sex and sexuality, exploring how the excess and overeating implied by ‘gorging’ might usefully open up thinking around bodies and eroticism, and more particularly, private experience and public space.

Young In Hong (UK Associate) develops site-specific installations, sculpture, painting, embroidery and photo collage as well as documentary film and video.  The main theme of her work lies in overlapping social and political issues and exploring the notion of utopia where public space and subliminal messages are brought together to break boundaries. Her experience of social norms in different cultures is an important subject in her concentrated, vivid but also highly allusive work. Born in Seoul and based in London, Young In holds an MFA in sculpture from Seoul National University, and a PhD from Goldsmiths College, London.  Young In's association with Delfina Foundation continues from The Public Domain - Season 1.


Venue: STUK, Leuven
Resident artist Oscar Santillan presents a new work that explores the relationship between a defective typewriter owned by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, psychic mediums and dance.

The politics of the visible and the invisible
13/02, 18:00–19.30
Venue: Spike Island, Bristol
Performance and panel discussion with Lois Keidan (Founding director of Live Art Development Agency), Chantal Pontbriand (independent curator), and resident artists Bona Park and Alvaro Ugarte, chaired by Gabriela Salgado.

19/02, 18.30–20:00
Venue: Delfina Foundation

Simultaneous performances throughout the home of Delfina Foundation by guest-artists Adrian Lee and Lydia Ourahmane with resident artists Bona Park, Jean-Paul Kelly, Oscar Santillan and Alvaro Ugarte.

The Mentalists
03/03, 18.30–20:00
Venue: Delfina Foundation

Performances from resident artists.

Xipe Totec Punk
13/03, 18.30–20:00
Venue: Delfina Foundation

César Martínez’s gastro-economic performance

Performance as process, histories and traces of a shifting field
16/03, 18.00–20.00
Venue: Chelsea College of Art Lecture Theatre

A panel discussion with RoseLee Goldberg (Founding director of Performa), Catherine Wood (Curator of Contemporary Art & Performance, Tate), Charles Aubin (Curator, Performa), Lois Keidan (Live Art Development Agency), Lawrence Lek (artist), chaired by Jo Melvin (Senior lecturer of Fine Art Theory at Chelsea College of Art).

The Centre for Dying on Stage
17/01, 18.30-20.00
Venue: Delfina Foundation
Curator-in-residence Kate Strain produces the second iteration of The Centre for Dying on Stage at Delfina Foundation. A promenade-lecture will take place throughout our building.

Staging Histories project
Also part of Performance as Process, Delfina Foundation has launched an initiative to document the history of performance art from the Arab world through Art Basel’s Crowdfunding Initiative. Under the curatorial direction of Aaron Cezar, two exhibitions were staged: Echoes & Reverberations at Hayward Gallery Project Space, in partnership with Hayward Gallery, Maraya Art Centre (Sharjah) and Shubbak, and A Prologue to the Past and Present State of Things at Delfina Foundation.