Performing Resistance: Contemporary American Performance-Activism


  • Pia Wiegmink



Deriving from the question whether performances have the capability of marking forms of public intervention and socio-political action this paper examines contemporary performance-activism. Thus, my article explores three artist-collectives who perform their social, political and economic critiques in the different realms of public space. All three collectives relate to Augusto Boal's method of an "invisible theater" which transforms public space into a public stage and in which the audience is not aware of being part of a theatrical situation. Regarding the artists presented in this paper, the actual notion of "public space" ranges from the streets of New York to national television and the virtual sphere of the internet.By comparing these three activist groups this paper explores on the one hand the liminal zone in which political protest and performance creatively collaborate, and on the other hand, how - within the scope of this interrelation of performance and activism - different realms of public space are utilized, subverted, and potentially transformed.

Author Biography

Pia Wiegmink

CVPia Wiegmink received an MA in Performance Studies and Anglistik from the Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz in 2004. Since January 2005 she is research assistant (wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin) at the University of Siegen (American Studies) and associate member of the IPP Performance and Media Studies at the Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz. Pia Wiegmink is working on her dissertation on The Aesthetics of Protest: Performance, Activism and Media in Contemporary US America which explores the intersection of contemporary forms of popular protest, performance and the use of 'tactical media'.


How to Cite

Wiegmink, Pia. “Performing Resistance: Contemporary American Performance-Activism”. Current Objectives of Postgraduate American Studies, vol. 7, Mar. 2012, doi:10.5283/copas.86.