Tactical Moves in Strategic Places: Performing Val, The Invisible in the MCA, Australia

Julie-Anne Long


Throughout April 2012 dance artist Julie-Anne Long undertook a durational performance intervention, Val, The Invisible, as part of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia’s (MCA) Launch Program following redevelopment of its landmark building at Circular Quay, Sydney. Quietly traversing the floor and subversively circulating throughout the building in a mode of walking, cleaning and dancing, the performance interrogated the multiple strata of visibility in operation within the spaces of the gallery. Through a combination of textual fragments, this essay examines the performance-making decisions and spatial choices made by the artist to shape Val, The Invisible. This work is analysed utilising Michel de Certeau’s theory of strategies and tactics to frame the choreographed moves, activities and behaviours of the performer as Val employed practices of “making do”, working in a tactical way, not necessarily aligned with the impressive institutional setting and organisational structures of the MCA. This represents a personal understanding of the tactical process and moves through which the performance's meaning activated, and was activated by, the space and the materiality of the strategic place of the gallery.


performance; gallery; tactics; place; space; maintenance art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia; Biennale of Sydney

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