An interdisciplinary endeavor in the form of a performance presented to an audience within the realm of fine arts is termed as Performance Art. Scripted or unscripted, random or systematically executed, spontaneous or intricately planned with or without audience participation, there are a world of different kinds when it comes to performance arts. This performance may be live or through a particular media where the artist may or may not be physically present. Essentially four basal elements constitute a work of performance art – time, space, the performer or the artist’s body, or presence in a medium, and a relationship between the performer and audience. The venue or location for the performance art, the setting, and even the duration are all variables and depend on the artists’ concept. The work is basically the act or action of an individual or a group of individuals at a particular place and in a particular time frame.
Beginning somewhere in the mid-1960s and right up to the 1970s, performance art derived its concepts form the visual art and came to be described as an antithesis or obverse to theatre. Performance arts set out to challenge the conventional art forms and the cultural norms and traditions. The underlying idea had been one of a transient and genuine experience for both the performer and the audience alike. The unique defining feature was that this event could not be repeated, captured or purchased, it was simply a pure experience. In quite a controversial manner, concepts from the visual arts and those from the performing arts were employed and determined the layered interpretations of performance art presentations.
The term Performance Art is usually reserved to refer to a work of conceptual art that conveys a deeper meaning through a theatric environment, instead of simply being an act of entertainment and frivolity. There are no fictitious characters or plots, no formal scripted interactions and the performance does not seek to demonstrate a traditional entertaining performance with a linear chronicled format. There is an element of unpredictability where the performance may include the artist interacting with the audience as a part of it through the spoken word, or they may completely ignore the expectation or existence of an audience. During the entirety of the performance there is rarely if ever any formal script to follow.
It is characteristic of performance artists to dare the audience to break down the conventional ideas about art and its meaning, think in a new innovative manner, and to break the conventions of traditional arts. A performance art can employ tools of satire, utilize machines and technology as performers, engage in ritualized elements, or even borrow elements from the conventional performing arts, taking care to not become a player who repeats the role to predictability. Performance arts have also been known under alternative terminology like live art, action art, art actions, art intervention, or art maneuver.