The common turn in performance

Gavin Butt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores ideas of the 'common' in recent London-based art and performance, focusing on the work of Mel Brimfield and Bird La Bird. I argue that such artists might be understood as pushing against the boundaries of Live Art tastes, and might be understood as cultural commoners in their use of references and expressive resources culled from across the divides of genre and cultural level. The essay focuses first upon the expansive and inclusive history suggested by Brimfield's irreverent and imaginative refashionings of performance archives, followed by an analysis of common publics in recent queer and feminist performance in London, with particular reference to the work of Bird La Bird. Methodologically the essay draws from sociological work on taste and social distinction, and recent debates about the creative commons, and brings these into dialogue with close readings of work by these artists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-61
Number of pages16
JournalContemporary Theatre Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes


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