Infinite Record: Archive, Memory and Performance
Can the archival marking of time be appreciated also as music, at once capturing and releasing data, memory and affect?
From 2012- 2014, the Norwegian Theatre Academy leads an international artistic research project, Infinite Record: Archive, Memory, Performance with Massachussets Institute of Technology, York St. John University, U.K. and Munthesius Kunsthochshule in Kiel, Germany. We question the role of the archive in relation to live art forms – in terms of both documentation strategies and how these performance forms harbor and transmit memory. Our project draws from 3 artistic residencies at NTA in Fredrikstad, and 4 international seminars. By the time of this presentation in Trondheim we have hosted two resident artists and two international seminars – with choreographer Wen Hui of Living Dance Beijing and Berlin- based artist/composer, Arnold Dreyblatt. Both artists realize site-specific works in our campus or within the city of Fredrikstad, dealing with the performative and ephemeral aspects of embodied and spatialized public memory. We begin by tying together the sensations of memory located in the sticky human body, the landscape, in “heaps” and in the performances of elders; and move into the implications of the “heap” as a demand to listen to and even unpack stacks of files, hidden spaces, discarded papers and institutional secrets yet unreadable to the next generation. Something calls out to us to face the unpacking, the secrets: there is a haunting that we follow like a rhythm or a sound towards a new definition of responsibility.
We are currently concerned with the archive as a phenomenon of resonance. Like bells ringing for generations from the tower, sound is also a call from / toward the archive. Through the peal and the touch, in sonic haunting and vibratory after-effects, sonic experience rings between the present body and the pulsating chamber of memory. How can acts of witnessing and listening can be appreciated as formative encounters with time? Both “oscillation” and “force” describe the work of the eardrum, and listening as action. The rhythm of repetitive sonic movement happens between states of past and present: the swing, the beat, the cry and the echo. Can the archival marking of time be appreciated also as music, at once capturing and releasing data, memory and affect? We are not only concerned with musical expressions, but rather the haunting vibration, sonority and musicality of forms across different art works, spaces, archival experiences and im/possibilities. We think about archives for rather than only archives of: where the collections of memory are not merely storage places, but situations of memory, vibrations that emit a call to listen and perform, again and again.