Stansbie, Lisa (2012) Testing the Limits: Contemporary Art and Channel Swimming. In: Endurance Sport, 11 September 2012, Wolfson Research Exchange, The University of Warwick. (Unpublished)

‘…in my search for texts on sports and art, I began to suspect at some point that , at least since the 1990’s the relationship between the two was one of mutual scepticism or lack of interest’ (Jahn 2006) Body Power: Power Play: Views on Sports in Contemporary Arts

This paper discusses how the rituals, apparatus and experience of channel swimming (and open water swimming) forms the basis of research that is developed into concept based contemporary art work, drawing parallels with time-based documentary processes for performance art and contemporary examples of endurance art.

The research draw two seemingly disparate disciplines together, art and sport. The relationship between art and sport is full of ‘tension and ambivalence ’. Artists that have worked in the realm of art and sport do so often through residencies and an attempt to ‘capture’ the essence of the sport they are researching through observation and documentation, the notion of sport ‘in’ art rather than ‘through’ it. Examples of how artists respond via direct involvement are less well documented. This paper sets up a methodology for the generation of artwork through sport.


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