Art is a discipline that approaches infinite subjects in infinite ways. Visual artists have represented, investigated and referenced all manner of subject matter, from psychology to horse racing to astrophysics to a lowly coke can. And the manner in which artists present their work has become just as varied. The dominance of painting and sculpture has long since given way to esoteric or ephemeral forms that no longer demand the sanctity of the gallery. Some artworks are happy to rub shoulders with the world from which they derive and in acknowledgement of these tendencies this year's Beacon Art Project concentrates on live performance, inviting artists with a dizzying range of concerns and formats to present their work throughout the town of Mablethorpe.
The town is a hard-working, hard-playing seaside town in the northeast of England. It boasts all the facilities of a holiday resort - bars, clubs, beach huts, gaming arcades, curiosity shops - while maintaining the infrastructure of everyday life. Artists have suffused these areas of leisure, learning and work, adopting and often adapting each venue's usual function to new ends. A football ground, for instance, will host a three-sided match, a pub will screen videos that subvert sporting genres, a large walk-in shower will be economically converted into a police interrogation room and a public address in the Methodist church will differ wildly from the usual Sunday sermon. In a weekend of contrasts, artworks might be encountered quietly and thoughtfully in a dark or secluded space, or presented grandly on stage with a sense of drama or stumbled across in a pub or shop.
Although performance art has roots in avant-garde theatre, dance, activism and vaudeville, much of this has been forgotten since, in the latter half of the 20th century, live art placed an emphasis on the immediacy of the body and authenticity of the gesture. This year Beacon reflects a noticeable wind change in the visual arts, and has selected and commissioned artists working in live formats that employ a broad spectrum of formats and influences, running the gamut from brazen theatricality to near invisibility.
Tim Bailey 's work will melt into the fabric of Mablethorpe, perhaps lurking on a wall in a pub or the library bookshelves or roaming the streets of the town.
Mel Brimfield & Sally O'Reilly will work with local football teams to recreate an historical three-sided battle.
Lucy Harrison has been feeding bingo callers new lines to call on the Beacon bus.
Seth Kriebel & Zoe Bouras invite the audience to take part in a Kafkaesque interrogation.
Cees Krijnen & Greta Blok are working with Julian Maynard Smith on a new performance that continues to delve into Greta's divorce from Cees' father.
Simon Pope will construct new networks of translation in the social realm.
Sue Tompkins will perform an evocative spoken word piece in the Methodist church.
Jessica Voorsanger brings glamour and a whiff of celebrity to proceedings.
A programme of films and videos, screened around the town, riff on the venues in which they are showing, as artists extract the poetry or absurdity from mundane objects and project criticality or celebration into overlooked quarters.
Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla , 'Returning a Sound'
Sean Ashton, 'Faded Blue Objects'
Alan Currall, 'Word Processing'
Rosalind Nashashibi, 'Eyeballing'
John Smith, 'Om'