Existing since the 1960s as a subgenre of performance, the lecture-performance is an art form currently undergoing a strong resurgence worldwide although still relatively underexplored here in Spain. The lecture-performance is an expanded art practice, a specific kind of presentation that goes beyond the academic format of the lecture. Artists (and other cultural agents) use the lecture to turn it into a performance space which, in fusing aspects of drama and of education, enables a greater intellectual, emotive and affective commitment from the audience. It is, on one hand, an educational or mediation format, and, on the other, it engages with performing arts and the spectacle. For this reason, it is generally an experimental and hybrid praxis which wishes to expand beyond the already codified formats of the installation, the performance or the happening and, in consequence, takes on a promiscuous and heterogeneous quality. In response to this hybrid nature, lecture-performances often include elements from the world of the spectacle, storytelling, the mass media, internet and even advertising.

Its varied functions and elements operate like a form of visual rhetoric that employs strategies of advertising and propaganda to explore the often dubious or polyvalent relationship between the image and the text or between consensus and the facts, and to investigate the relativity of perception and of understanding. Many of the artists who use the lecture as a form of creative expression interweave visual and narrative wefts that recycle images culled from the mass media, satirise many of the outrages and excesses of the current moment of crisis and call into question the conventions of certain cultural and scientific fields, in some working formats and in certain institutional forms.

Seen from this perspective, the lecture-performance is no longer just an academic instrument, but also a form of cultural production and an entertainment product, which explicitly dwells on the relations between art and knowledge, between art and research and between art and forms of mediation and/or dissemination which are generally used to engage diverse audiences with art.

Manuel Olveira, Curator