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Egl Budvytyt, Choreography for the Running Male, Mindaugas Triennial, 11th Baltic Triennial of International Art, 2012 | Photo Ieva Budžeikait_
Egl Budvytyt, Choreography for the Running Male, Mindaugas Triennial, 11th Baltic Triennial of International Art, 2012 | Photo Ieva Budžeikait_
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Discover the Most Cutting-Edge Performance Art Right Now

Picture of Freire Barnes
Art & Design Editor
Updated: 31 May 2017

Returning this Bank Holiday is the acclaimed week-long performance art festival, Block Universe, where London’s streets, landmarks and art institutions become the stage for a varied programme of dynamic performances by emerging international talent.

Bringing together creative practices that meet at the cross-section of contemporary visual art, dance and music, Block Universe has been a welcome addition to London’s art scene since its inception three years ago. Although coincidental, yet somewhat fortuitously timed ahead of the UK’s general election, the theme for this year’s festival focuses on ‘nationhood, inclusivity and identity politics set against Britain’s changing socio-political landscape.’

Alexis Blake, ‘Conditions of an Ideal’, 2016. Block Universe commission | Photo: Arron Leppard

Louise O’Kelly, Founding Director of Block Universe, said: ‘As Block Universe enters its third edition, it has been a pleasure to see what a vital platform the festival has proven to be in such a short space of time for both artists working in this medium and for audiences to experience exciting, relevant new work.’

Below are just a few of this year’s festival highlights.

Grace Schwindt, ‘Undead and Other Tales’, 2016. Block Universe commission | Photo: Arron Leppard

Pluto’s Kitchen by Işıl Eğrikavuk

The Turkish artist references the UK’s impending departure from the European Union and Pluto’s exclusion from the Solar system for being a dwarf planet with his newly commissioned performative dinner that considers what type of cuisine an isolated planet would create.

£35, excl. service fee, including a three-course meal. Venue will only be revealed to ticket holders.

Isil Egrikavuk, ‘Pluto’s Kitchen’, 2017 | Courtesy of Block Universe and Open Space Contemporary. © Martina O’Shea

Choreography for the Running Male by Eglė Budvytytė

Keep your eyes peeled for the UK premiere of the Lithuanian artist’s performance on the city’s streets. Budvytytė explores social control and activation of public space through his choreographed squad of jogging men, who whilst tracing a route around London will also carry out a set of gestures that allude to emotions ranging from shame to seduction.

Free, Sunday June 4 at 12pm at a location to be announced through the website.

Eglė Budvytytė, Choreography for the Running Male, Biennale of Sydney, 2014 | Photo: Rasa Juškevičiūtė, Sebastian Kriete

Software Garden by Rory Pilgrim

Considering care within a larger political arena, Pilgrim’s new commission for Block Universe explores our connection to technology and disability. Part Kabuki theatre and part pop concert, the performance will seek to nurture a social space of kindness.

£10; £7.50 concessions, Saturday June 3 at 3pm at The Light, Friends House, 173–177 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ. Purchase tickets here.

Rory Pilgrim, ‘Affection is the Best Protection’, 2015 | © Gert van der Wijk

Political Therapy by Liz Magic Laser

Ever wondered how your political views impact your wellbeing? Why not take part in Laser’s workshop that helps participants express their frustrations related to Brexit through meditation techniques.

£10;  £7.50 concessions. Monday May 29, 2pm and 4pm at The Showroom, 63 Penfold Street, London NW8 8PQ. Purchase tickets here.

Liz Magic Laser, ‘Primal Speech’, 2016 | © The artist

Shapes of States by Stina Nyberg

Through a sequence of choreographed dances, the Stockholm-based artist considers the conditioning of the body through historical Swedish public health ideologies and contemporary practices.

£12; 9 concs. Monday May 29, 4pm and 8pm at The Tabernacle, 34–35 Powis Square, London W11 2AY. Purchase tickets here.

Stina Nyberg, ‘Shapes of States’, 2016 | © José Figueroa

Block Universe takes place around London from May 29 to June 4, 2017. Visit their site for a schedule of events and to book tickets.