Week One – Module Introduction

Lecturers Questions – What is and why archive? How can they be used for research and devising performances? What does an archive informed performance look like?

Today’s lecture started with an introduction to who is teaching this module, when it is taught and what the aim of the module is. The answer to these questions are Eve Katsouraki a senior lecturer at the University of East London will be teaching this module with the help of a current PhD student Rachel. The module with take place every Monday between the hours of 9am and 12pm, excluding the various visits that have already been planned. This module put simply plans to bring to life the hidden voices within the Archives through embodied performance. This module has two assessment components, the first is a group performance that will be developed and inspired by the archives that we study and the second this Blog that will document every discovery both theoretical and practical used to create my final piece.

What is and why archive?
When searching in a dictionary an archive is explained as “A collection of historical documents or records providing information about a place, institution, or group of people.” However to me they are so much more, archives provide a home for memories that may have been lost for many years but can easily be regained though a simple search in the right place. An archive can store books written documents and static objects but they can also house film, music and art in a variety of forms. For me an archive is a pathway to history which although it may seem tedious at first can provide the chance for creative questioning.
For our final piece we have been given three archives that we can choose from, these are-

  • LIFT (London’s International Festival of Theatre) Archive based at Goldsmiths University
    o http://www.liftfest.com/living-archive  the LIFT archive explores the Festival from its very begin up until modern day looking at its impact within society and the creation of contemporary theatre
  • The Women’s Art library based at Goldsmiths University
    o http://www.gold.ac.uk/make/  The women’s arts library looks at feminism, women’s rights and the role of women through theatre. This archive provides a platform for all the artefacts based around women and only women to be collaborated together
  •  Hackney Empire Archives based the University of East London
    o http://www.elta-project.org/hackney.html  This archive looks at East London through the lenses of historical theatre and how the area has changed and with it the styles of theatre.

With these archives we must research and find an area of interest which we can then further explore, concluding in a display of our findings though the medium of theatre.

How can they be used for research and devising performances?
Archives are normally considered in the written form but for this project we are going to have to consider the embodiment of archives and ephemeral repertoire. When embodying an archive you must stand against and for the facts, you must threaten the virtual space and question the methodologies to shift the focus from written archives to cultural embodiment. We must take an archive source and remain true to its facts unless we have substantial sources to question it; we must embody the story or written event and retell it using a range of methodologies that can explore it in a new and creative way. The best example of staying true to the original facts but interpreting it is the Royal Ballet who follow the same routines time and time again but appear to show a new piece every time.

What does an archive informed performance look like?
To answer this question we were shown a range of sources, the first was a video clip of an artist’s response to maps he found within an archive. The artist used his film to explain how we as humans fall in love with our surroundings no matter of their conditions and no matter how far we try to run we will always return to the place where we first began. The video was entitled “My Winnipeg” below is a link to the trailer of the piece, I am yet to be able to find the actual scene we saw.

The other sources we were shown were websites of other companies either working with archives or archiving their work. The first was a project called “Linked” by Graeme Miller (http://www.linkedm11.net/index2.html  the link to his website), this project was an audio walk along a stretch of motorway between Redbridge and Hackney Wick. The project allows audience members to walk along the motorway listening to audio stories from people who used to live within the area. The second piece was a company called React Feminism (http://www.reactfeminism.org/  the link to the website), this website is an archive of a company tour working around Europe from 2011 to 2013, and the company mainly deals with feminism and performing live art.

From today’s lecture I now know what is required of me through this module and how we aim to achieve the final outcomes, next week we are going to be set portfolio tasks that we must complete along with our wider research and performance group tasks, below is this weeks.

Portfolio Tasks for this week – Find and Record five Artefacts: Narrate search, Read and Précis Two Readings

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