Reading 1- Taylor, D. “The archive and the repertoire”

This reading is set out to explain the difference between writing archival sources and repertoire archival sources and the reasoning behind why we cannot have one without the other. Taylor uses this reading to address the two forms and examples of where they work together.

What is written sources and how have they been previously used?

Written sources include newspaper articles, books, scripts, statements, written law and anything that contains the spoken word on paper. In the beginning of archives the written source was one that was gladly used because there were only very few who could actually read and write and so the power of written word was something treasured. However with changes in governments or power systems some archival sources were not to the new powers approval and so another bonus of written sources is that they are easily burnt and removed from all living memory. Written sources such as scholarly books and works of academic interest have never been questioned for their value but they are exclusive in their mode so repertoire was created.

What is repertoire and why is it important?

Repertoire is visual, audio and sensory it is dance, music, theatre and art. The repertoire is the embodiment of society and its enactment through a mode of art. Although the written word is powerful so is the spoken for many events in history it is not what is written down but what was done, the power of action is endless. Repertoire is something that is passed on through teaching and memory unlike written where the skill was limited, in repertoire anyone could gain the knowledge through personal performance or experiencing the performance and then replay this back over time incorporating their own interpretations. An example of this is the Royal Ballet who teaches the same routines to Swan Lake every year but it is the interpretation of the dancer that makes it new and different every time.

The next point that Taylor addresses is why both forms of archiving information are vital in the modern archive and how they work simultaneously together. The first example he gives is of a wedding and how you can not have a wedding without the spoken words of “I Do” and the signed contract. This is the same for live performance, to archive a live performance we would record it and store the programme and the footage for ever on. However this cannot relay the atmosphere and emotional impression that a live performance leaves you with. For this you need embodied memory something that cannot be recorded or kept but passed on through human exchange. One of the biggest challenges for the archives is how to store the spoken word and this is something that is still unanswered.

This reading in conclusion reviews what an archive stores, the forms of information and how this impacts future studies both creative and theory.

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