Laurie Robins
Grace Phillips

Real Performance

REAL PERFORMANCE is a research project on contemporary labour and management pedagogy. It stages the Meisner repetition exercise - an acting technique designed to build authenticity by centering the emotion immediately and spontaneously available in performance - in a contemporary shared office space. In the video, the exercise is pushed beyond its normal time constraints, forcing the two actors beyond the controlled limits of their training. At regular intervals, a series of lines selected from management textbooks are incorporated into the otherwise improvised exercise. In the industry of workplace management, the "emotional capital" paradigm positions empathy as a tool with precise application for streamlined production and increased profit. REAL PERFORMANCE visualizes the distance between two very different visions of empathy: one a method of mechanically extracting value from labor, and the other an excessive and transformative force, nonlinear and revealing, spontaneously available to anyone as resistance to instrumentalization.

The work includes the text piece You Can Rebuild Him

Camera: Matte Chi
Sound: Shirlyn Wong
Acting: Michael Filisky, LaTonya Grant


Laurie Robins (b. 1988, UK) is an artist and filmmaker. He received an MA from the Centre of Research (Goldsmiths, University of London) and was a studio participant in the Whitney Museum of American Art's Independent Study Program. Currently he is studying at Temple University in Philadelphia. Robins is a 2019/2020 Artist in Residence at IMMA (Dublin) and was the 2018 recipient of South London Gallery’s postgraduate residency award, which culminated in a solo exhibition and publication. Other recent presentations include Transmediale 2019, 35. Kassel Dokfest, a radio broadcast on KBMF Butte Montana, and participation in a forthcoming group show at Temple Bar Gallery + Studios. 

Grace Phillips (b. 1990, US) is a writer. She is a graduate of the Centre for Research Architecture (Goldsmiths, University of London) and currently studies and teaches at Temple University in Philadelphia. Her most recent exhibition was at Kunstverein Kassel, where Real Performance (with Laurie Robins) was awarded the Golden Cube for best installation at Kassel Dokfest. 

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