PERFORMANCE ART, ITS «DOCUMENTATION», ITS ARCHIVES
by art historian and freelance curator Irene Müller
published in /04 Revista de História da Arte, Instituto de História Da Arte, Faculdade de Ciências Sociais E Humanas – UNL Performing Documentation in the Concervation of Contemporary Art, 2015
abstract of conference input by Irene Müller
«PERFORMANCE ART, ITS 'DOCUMENTATION', ITS ARCHIVES ON THE NEED FOR DISTINCT MEMORIES, THE “QUALITY OF BLIND SPOTS” AND NEW APPROACHES TO TRANSMITTING PERFORMANCE ART»
Archives must be both actively appropriated and initiate action in order to remain culturally relevant as a medium of transmission. This applies to all archives but especially to those concerned with performance art. The project ‘archiv performativ: a model for the documentation and reactivation of performance art’ at the Institute for Cultural Studies in Zurich focused on the question of how to provide access to material from performances in order to facilitate the representation and understanding of this art form. This article illustrates two examples and with reference to archival and performance theory highlights some possibilities for dealing with both the medial diversity and the subjective ‘voices’ transmitting a performance. Furthermore the evaluation of the polyphony represented by different artefacts is also discussed.
Irene Müller on Dorothea Rust's performance «Re‑enactment», September 2, 2011
«Dorothea Rust, Re‑enactment, September 2, 2011»
The point of departure for Dorothea Rust’s performance was her interest in the potential of artefacts for inspiring creativity and memories, especially used objects and descriptions. Specifically, the artist drew on an eyewitness report on her performance of 2008 from the Kaskadenkondensator’s archive27 and, as a consequence, on some of the utensils she used at the time. Rust used the descriptive-interpretative report on the one hand as a script for dramaturgical action, on the other hand as functional material, involving it along with other items, such as green wellington boots, a potato fork, music from a laptop, bag of apples. The central elements of the approximately 40 minute-long performance were the text read out by the performer, her extempore speaking, and her different actions, which constantly contradicted her words.
Among other items, the following artefacts are available on this performance: a scan of the used performance report from 2008 with markings by DR; an unedited audio recording, made on a mobile recording device with a stereo microphone by the author; a picture series by Pascale Grau comprising 92 photos; a 2nd picture series by Urs Schmid comprising 38 photos.
The re-used performance report provides us with a script and most of the spoken text (fig. 8), while also filing the gaps in information left bby the photo series. But it ...
«Performing Documentation in the Concervation of Contemporary Art, 2015»