Performing sand: A case for the abandonment of video documentation in Buddhist-inspired live art

Pema Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Downloads (Pure)


Documenting performance in the context of practice-based research has become the standard protocol for the assessment of live work in the academy as permanent document and archive. In contrast, the practice of Buddhism recognizes impermanence as the central doctrine governing all conditioned existence. What happens when these two fields are combined? In addressing the dialectic inherent in documenting a field of performance art that relies on its doctrinal foundations to convey principles that video documentation renders redundant, I offer an alternative method of documentation as part of the creative process that keep the work ‘live’ in the mind of the audience upon every subsequent engagement with the archive. Far from being a failure to document, Buddhist performance art demands a new approach to the documentation of performance.
The article includes a performance score inspired by my autobiographical performance art work At Sea:1980-2010.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-321
Number of pages13
JournalDance, Movement and Spiritualities
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


  • Buddhism
  • performance art
  • documentation
  • autobiography
  • archive
  • Lynn Redgrave

Cite this