In 2008 the Live Art Development Agency and Tate Research instigated the Legacy: Thinker In Residence Awards as a one-off initiative to recognise artists whose work had tested the nature and possibilities of live practices and had had a demonstrable influence on the field of live art.
Live art is often an ephemeral and fleeting experience and the processes of archiving it and interpreting it within an art historical context pose many challenges to the artist, the archivist, the art historian, the scholar and the audience alike.
Legacy provided two artists with an award of £30,000 each and an opportunity to undertake periods of in-depth research addressing the legacies of performance in art historical contexts, examining the processes and challenges of archiving live work, and looking at their own performance practice in relation to these.
Following a national nomination process begun in August 2008, forty-nine artists were proposed for the Legacy Awards. Of these, twelve were invited to submit proposals about how they would approach the idea of legacy. The awards were offered to Anne Bean and Tim Etchells who in different ways saw archiving work as a creative process, a re-imagining of documents and words.
Anne Bean collaborated with Robin Klassnik and Richard Wilson on ‘TAPS: Improvisations with Paul Burwell’. The ‘TAPS’ took the form of an event at Dilston Grove, London, in September 2010, featuring specially commissioned films and performances that explored the impact of Paul Burwell, a London-based artist known for his exuberant fusions of fine art installation, percussion and explosive performance. ‘TAPS’ also involved the production of a double DVD, published by Matt’s Gallery, London, in 2011.
Tim Etchells created an artist book While You Are With Us Here Tonight (2013), a poetic and idiosyncratic reflection on questions of legacy, document and archive, drawing on aspects of Etchells’s solo work and his long-running collaboration with the performance group Forced Entertainment.
Legacy: Thinker In Residence Awards was supported by Arts Council England and the Live Art Development Agency. The selection panel comprised: Lois Keidan and Daniel Brine (Live Art Development Agency); Nigel Llewellyn (Head of Tate Research); Lizzie Carey-Thomas (Curator, Contemporary British Art, Tate Britain); Vanessa Desclaux (Assistant Curator, Tate Modern); Michael Morris (Director, Artangel); Stella Hall (Creative Director, Newcastle Gateshead Initiative), Claire MacDonald (Centre Director, International Centre for Fine Art Research, University of the Arts London); David A. Bailey (senior curator, Autograph); and Mark Waugh (Director, A Foundation).