6 minutes

Durational work, or Time Based Media as it is commonly referred to are contemporary artworks that include video, film, slide, audio, or computer-based media. They have duration as a dimension and unfold to the viewer over time. Which means that time itself is a medium which can be investigated as well.

Time based works can have every little element relentlessly choreographed such as with Matthew Barney’s Cremaster series.

Or they can have a strict set of rules and intersect with an artists personal life. Blurring the lines between documentation, and performance. Sometimes the documentation is just a result of a process and is considered to be less important than the performance itself.



“The performance artist made himself punch a clock every hour for a year, in a work now recognised as seminal”


Often we see that the human body is the main component of the work. Since we all have to have bodies and brains in order to experience time. Artists have frequently used their own bodies as a medium.

Early Marina Abramovic pieces, the ones with Ulay were almost always durational:






Other Resources:


Bruce Nauman



UbuWeb: http://ubu.com/film/nauman.html


http://ubu.com/film/nauman_beckett.html http://www.vdb.org/titles/stamping-studio ;


Tehching Hsieh: Live Art Development Agency in London will make available online from 12-26 October one important film:


“In his third one-year performance piece, from 26 September 1981 through 26 September 1982, Hsieh spent one year outside, not entering buildings or shelter of any sort, including cars, trains, airplanes, boats, or tents. As he roamed around Lower Manhattan he relied on pay phones and chance meetings to keep in touch with his friends. Each day, he recorded his wanderings on a map, noting in particular the places where he ate and slept. The film documents his activities over the course of the year.”

Kira O’Reilly, Stair Falling, originally the performance was about 4 hours long when she performed it in Manchester, but there is no good video documentation available really, there is an edited short video from another version from Ljubljana:

Kira O’Reilly from Cityofwomen on Vimeo.



Alastair MacLennan,

There is one video of a relatively recent performance available:



Monica Ross

During the last years of her life performing the entire Declaration of Human Rights, either solo or with other reciters, always memorised by heart, for 60 times in total between 2008 and 2013:http://www.actsofmemory.net/

You will create a durational piece. It is to be created in a time based medium, and will last 6 minutes. You are not allowed to use time lapse, or slow motion. If you wish to edit the piece, each clip should be 6 minutes long, which can then be edited into a 6 minute final work. If you do a performance you should document it with video or sound.

When you turn on the camera, or begin the performance, etc. you should be thinking of time as your medium. Before you begin sit still for 6 minutes, and just get a feel for how long it is and pay attention to everything happening around you. Small noises will be amplified and you may begin noticing things that were commonly ignored.


On Kawara

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