Impossible School Book

The Tate Tanks 

Tate Modern

London, U.K/

Read more at: 

The (Im) Possible School Book 

The Tanks: Art in Action at Tate Modern 

Published Works  

The (Im) Possible School Book

Artist Tom Estes contributed to The (Im) Possible School Book as part of the series The Tanks: Art in Action. Estes' contribution to the Five Years Tanks Summer School was to build on his existing practice but with one slight twist. In this instance, rather than stage the Live Art Action himself, Estes encouraged the participants to stage an action themselves as a form of ‘adult play’. 

The aim of 'Discursive Exercises' was to provide random objects and ask the participants to interact or ‘play with the objects'. The Play was to be a self-chosen activity, rather than a prescribed, active, self-initiated process, intrinsic, episodic, rule governed and symbolic. Learning Through Play is a term widely used in educational and psychology to describe how a child can learn to make sense of the world around them. In order for an activity to be considered play, the experience must include a measure of inner control, ability to bend or invent reality, and a strong internally based motivation for playing. Through play, children can develop social and cognitive skills, mature emotionally, and gain the self-confidence required to engage in new experiences and environments. There are critical differences between play and work by a parent or teacher. Although many educators and parents are beginning to understand the theory that Play is not wasted time, it might be difficult for the adult mind to understand the perspective of the child: That play is a process, but without a predicted outcome or product. Work, on the other hand, has a definite intent and a prescribed outcome. If parents and educators try to label experiences as play but in reality have a specific requirement for the activity, then it becomes work, not play. 

 Estes presented five elements to the participants regarding play:
 1. Play is spontaneous and voluntary.
 2. Play involves active engagement on the part of the player. 
 3. Play involves an element of make-believe.
 4. Play must have no extrinsic goals; there is no prescribed learning that must occur. 
 5. Play must be pleasurable and enjoyable. 
Working with historical records and contemporary precedents, participants worked individually and as a collective to re-enact, devise and document performance. The Tanks became a site for practical enquiry and intervention, opening up dialogue and exploring live art and the performative as modes for learning which also culminated in a live event. Since the 1950s contemporary art practice has evolved significantly in areas of performance and film, as well as through works that incorporate active social relations between artists, collaborators and audiences. Such works pose many questions for museums, not least because they are often complex to show and do not readily fit into existing frameworks, through space, audiences or context. But while live pieces naturally celebrate the moment in which they are performed, they also form part of a longer and more extensive history of gesture, movement, activism and physical action. 
The (Im)Possible School Book is available to purchase through Five Years



 Emergency Index

LIVE ART work by Tom Estes has been included in this new book of Performance Art. Ugly Duckling Press organised a Champagne launch to celebrate the inaugural edition of Emergency INDEX 2011 at The Kitchen- which has been called one of the "8 things to do in the New York Art world" according to the Observer's Gallerist NY. The first edition of Emergency INDEX was released on March 20, 2012, and is now available for sale on the Ugly Duckling Press website.  

Ugly Duckling Presse would like to introduce you to Emergency INDEX, an annual print publication documenting new performance in the words of its creators. Emergency INDEX is modeled after the “Artist’s Chronicle” of the magazine High Performance (1978-1997). In "Artist's Chronicle," early performance art in the 1970s defined itself through actual works as reported by the artists who made them. Though INDEX is not limited to performance art, it uses a structure similar to “Artist’s Chronicle” to allow makers of all kinds of performance to define the state of their field.

Every year, Emergency INDEX invites authors to document performances they made in the previous year. By including performances regardless of their country of origin, their genre, aims, or popularity, INDEX reveals a breathtaking variety of practices used in performance work as it actually exists today. For readers, INDEX offers a cutting edge view of performance as it is used in dance, theater, music, visual art, political activism, scientific research, poetry, advertising, terrorism, and other disciplines. For artists, INDEX provides an opportunity to document the most important aspects of new work, without the need for spin or salesmanship. For anyone interested in contemporary performance, INDEX is required reading.



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