Open Performance Academy (OPA) is a research programme for young and established artist whose  work engages, intersects with, discusses, draws upon, or is indebted to performance art. OPA organises lectures, workshops and try-out sessions, aims to create a platform for the exchange of ideas and the production of knowledges and provides artists with an opportunity to receive feedback on their work.



This early spring 2018 OPA starts with a first series of meetings dedicated to an exchange of thoughts, ideas and practices. The first series take place on Thursdays between 7:30 pm and 11 pm. The dates are: February 15, March 1, March 15, March 29 and April 5.

The Open Performance Academy is open for everyone interested in the event.


February 15        Introduction and presentation of 4 projects, including feedback sessions

March 1                Collective reading and discussion of key text about performance art.

March 15              Presentation of 4 projects, including feedback sessions

March 29             Collective reading about audience engagement

April 5                   Opening for the general public with presentations

Collective reading

The readings will be circulated prior to the meetings.

Application presenters

Interested in presenting your performance project during OPA’s spring programme and receiving feedback on your work, please send an email before January 31 to: info.performanceartnl@gmail.com


Include: A short description of your work (max 250 words), technical requirements and your date of preference:  February 15 or March 15.

Application all others  

Interested in taking part in OPA spring programme, without presentation, please send an email before January 31 to: info.performanceartnl@gmail.com

Please state which dates you plan to join.

The readings will be circulated prior to the meetings.

Public presentation: On April 5 the artist that have presented their work will be given the opportunity to share their work with the larger audience at Wolfart Projectspace Rotterdam.




Performance theory:

Some Thoughts On Teaching Performance Art in Five Parts

by Marilyn Arsem

Marilyn Arsem, Water Falling Pepper Rising. Image Credit: Kristina Lenzi/Bob Raymond Performed for In the Context of Art: The Difference International Festival, Warsaw, Poland, 2006.


1.1. Real Time

In the classic understanding of the medium, performance art is the act of doing.  It is not representing, not recounting, not re-enacting, but simply doing.  It is live and it is real.  It is direct action.  It is not about rehearsing a text or recreating a narrative, but rather it is an experiment with a portion of one’s life.   It is not about entertainment, but about the desire to learn.  Ideally, the performance artist is always generating a new challenge for her or himself, never repeating an action.  It is driven by curiosity, and the quest is discovery, transformation, knowledge.

Working directly with the elements of time, space, materials, and actions propels an ongoing examination of what might be considered art and art making.   Since the work cannot be separated from the body who makes it, a number of questions continually surface about the medium of performance art. For instance, what distinguishes an action as art?  Is it different from an every day action?  If so, what signals the difference? How does one know when the art begins and ends?

The context in which the action is done strongly influences whether or not it is considered art.  An action done in a gallery cannot help but be read as an intentionally constructed work of art.  But what of an action done on the street?  What kind of framing allows a viewer to interpret it as art?  And, if they assume that it is art, how does that change the way the action is viewed?

Those considerations lead to the question of what actually constitutes art.  A live action can’t be an investment object.  It occupies space and time only temporarily.  Nevertheless, it can challenge someone to imagine operating in the world differently, as they witness another body in action.   What is true is that a live action can be generated nearly instantly in response to a situation, and it can happen anywhere.  The performance artist is able to infiltrate and respond to a broad range of contexts.

Read more on: Some Thoughts On Teaching Performance Art in Five Parts by Marilyn Arsem (free PDF).