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Editorial

 

 

 

Welcome to the 8th edition of the e-journal
MAP - Media | Archive | Performance

 

MAP #8   Transforming. Re-staging.

 

 

The eighth issue of MAP features two chapters on the transformation process of performances into media artefacts and on current re-stagings in exhibitions, art works, and debates on archiving performance-based art. A third chapter marks the first in the small series Archive. Analyses, which introduces the archiving practices of individual institutions, groups, and performance artists. How does the respective archive collect, order, and put to use its documents and artefacts?

Intermedial Processes: Film – Performance – Photography, the first chapter of MAP #8, investigates how performances are transformed into different film formats. The authors of this chapter consider films of performance art works in their own right, which cannot be reduced to mere documentations of a past event. Instead, they should be considered in relation to practices applied in contemporary experimental film. Whereas an initial point of view may be to focus on the filmic transformation of a performance event, a change of perspective proves productive: The question is why filmmakers chose theatrical staging modes to reflect on the medium of film. Susanne Holschbach examines the inter-medial status between still and moving image in Yvonne Rainer’s Lives of Performers. Sabine Nessel and Linda Waack focus on three films by Babette Mangolte and her signature style, which interconnects documentary and essayistic filmic strategies and is firmly anchored in a film historical and theoretical context. In a precise analysis of Stuart Brisley and Ken McMullen’s film Being and Doing, Ulrike Hanstein demonstrates how montage, sound recordings, and voice-overs are used to develop an aesthetic that transforms recorded performances and actions into filmic processes. Film and installation artist Anne Quirynen presents some of her works, which are based on a close collaboration with the Forsythe Dance Company. She also explores where her interest in the interconnection of dance and film is rooted. Viennese artist Mara Mattuschka – together with Chris Haring and the group liquid loft – has been working on a connection between choreographed mise-en-scène and filmic transformation for many years. Brigitta Burger-Utzer introduces three of her works and discusses how independent intermedial dramaturgies unfold between sound, image, and bodily movement. In the chapter’s final article, Barbara Büscher further examines the movement of transformation between performance and film by taking a closer look at how modes of theatrical and filmic staging are layered. Her investigation, which also includes films by Mattuschka, introduces the term masquerade as a descriptive model.

This first chapter of MAP #8 is based on a workshop held in Leipzig as part of the research project Verzeichnungen in April 2015. There, Brigitte Kuster first presented her project on colonial archives in three films, which she produced together with Moise Merlin Mabouna. Shifting into a written medium, we are happy to present an excerpt from her recently published book, which is also part of her research project. Kuster’s essay on how a singular version of the past is chosen illuminates various aspects and problems in how German colonialism is dealt with and investigated.

This essay is the first in MAP #8’s second chapter Archive. Histories – Re-staging and Presentation, which focuses on the circulation of media artefacts in different forms of presentation as well as the circulation of historical narratives in various media and re-stagings. These can range from critical analysis to playful borrowing, or to the appropriation of archives and histories. Usually developed as an artistic practice, the approaches and methods of re-staging addressed here allow a certain degree of movement. This, in turn, allows historical contexts – whether large time frame or individual biography – to become representable and aesthetically productive.

Every performance, every show, every artistic position also constitutes a collective event, a dialogue, or an exchange. The presence of the event, or rather what it brings to the present is one of the core tasks of archival practice – as opposed to the ‘transcendence of the ephemeral’ that Barbara Formis refers to:

“The myth of presence is […] based on an archaeological approach to the arts whereby ruin always prevails over experience, and authenticity lies in the no longer present.” (Formis, Barbara, “Performance Here and Then”, in: Mathieu Copeland and Julie Pellegrin (eds.), Choreographing Exhibitions, Dijon 2013, p. 56 – 68.)

 

In this light, Ulrike Krautheim portrays Japanese filmmaker and installation artist Meiro Koizumi’s Where the Silence Fails, a minimalist double projection on memory. The authenticity of an old man's recollection becomes blurred as its archiving and the critically inquisitive nature of the documentary view overlap with personal memory. The result is a parable on the unreliability of what is passed on. Lucie Ortmann explores the extensive and multi-layered documentation and archiving project Archive Box, funded by the Japanese Saison Foundation. Since 2013, groups of artists from Japan and the Pacific Region have been invited to create archives of their own work for future re-stagings. The results of each phase are documented extensively. Using a contemporary art project spanning 100 years, Nicole Haitzinger compares how the “homme contemporain” is addressed in the context of early modern dance and in today’s media dominated pop culture: Vaslav Nijinsky’s ballet Jeux from 1913 serves as the outset for New York artist Sergei Tcherepnin’s interactive sound installation Games (2015). It was one of the art works presented in the exhibition Art — Music — Dance. Staging the Derra de Moroda Dance Archives at the Museum der Moderne, Salzburg in 2016. Franz Anton Cramer provides a brief overview of the art works shown.

The second chapter concludes with two conversations on the re-staging of (hi)stories as a continuation of oral tradition and an essential medium in archiving performance art. Verena Eitel interviews the initiators of feminist film archive Blickpilotin, which passed its written records to Deutsche Kinemathek in 2016. Eric Morrill has a conversation with performance artist and art activist Jean-Jacques Lebel on the performance scene in Paris in the 1950s and 1960s, in which Lebel was one of the most prominent members. They also discuss how and whether at all performance can be documented.

The final chapter, Archive. Analyses, is the first in a series presenting the results of our on-going survey on various archiving practices. Next to a summary of our findings on the potential, boundaries, and challenges of archiving performance art, Franz Anton Cramer portrays the venue HAU Hebbel am Ufer in Berlin. The series will feature new archives in each upcoming issue of MAP.

Translation: Margarethe Clausen

 

The editors thank all authors for their generous cooperation. Comments and suggestions are always welcome.

Barbara Büscher, Franz Anton Cramer

March 2017

Editorial staff:

Barbara Büscher, Franz Anton Cramer, René Damm, Verena Elisabet Eitel, Elisabeth Heymer, Lucie Ortmann.

 

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We thank the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation, DFG) for support in the publication of this issue.

 

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