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


MAP #4   Archive / Processes 1



The documentation, recording, transmitting and reconstruction of performance-based art forms must be viewed as a process. The link between the event and the archive is dynamic and reciprocal: while different forms of storing, recording and ordering make up the archive, the archive in turn generates different interpretations and configurations, which themselves gain an event-like character. The fourth edition of MAP focuses on these processes linking performance art and the archive.

In the process of recording, events and realities are transformed into media and materials different to those by which they once appeared. These artefacts – the result of medial transformation and inscription into moving formats – serve to generate new methods of appropriation and discursive exploration. In this sense, the event’s functional reciprocity with the archive is constitutive but does not follow any primary hierarchy. Even if a chronology can be asserted, it is often impossible – or only possible at the cost of ontological reduction – to differentiate between origin and corollary, question and answer.

However, artistic strategies for working on and with the archive are not necessarily those of history-writing or developing curatorial concepts in exhibitions, events or discourse, even if they apparently refer to similar formats (“retrospectives”, “installations”, “reenactments” etc.) How can such differences be made productive in the sense of securing fluid access? How do performance, archive and exhibition interact? Can different methodical approaches complement each other? Can processes of transformation – presence in performance, performance in history, performance history approached from a contemporary perspective – be conceived and examined independently from one another?

Work on the archive that is dedicated to its formation – i.e. recording, documenting, collecting etc. – does not necessarily have to be retrospective. It intersects with work in the archive that makes the collected artefacts accessible; that presents, re-contextualizes and transforms them. These areas of activity connect if the archive is not only constituted of its holdings (objects, documents, artefacts, sources) but also of its usage (questioning arrangements, recombining elements, historical or thematic attributions). One must, then, consider both what is put into the archive and what is taken out of it, and for what purpose the two actions are performed. The articles in this edition are concerned with issues related to these questions.


I. Recording and Preserving

To open, Jana Horáková gives an overview of different concepts of memory media and remembering processes, focusing on a web-based art project on Walter Benjamin’s essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. She presents aspects concerning the relationship between remembering and medial storage, between analogue and digital forms of preservation.
Next, Knut Ebeling asks how best to formulate the relationship between performance and recording. His point of departure is an inversion of the usual premise: it is not the recording that lends a past event materiality but the event becomes materialized in – and as – the recording.
Artist Debbie Guinnane summarizes her experiences of recording performance by the medium of automatic writing/drawing in the Transversal concept. Here, the result is a multiplication of traces rather than a reproduction of the former event. Ulrike Krautheim reports on a video archive project initiated by Hikaru Fujii to explore the effects of the earthquake disaster in northern Japan in March 2011. The author investigates the connection between witnessing, art production and medial publicity in the face of a very real – yet only individually experienced – trauma.
The archive of Hannah Hurtzig’s “Mobile Akademie”, on the other hand, pursues a strategy of boundless proliferation, since the “black market for useful knowledge and non-knowledge” is not based on isolated experiences but on a variety of intimate and dialogue-like encounters. The production, which uses profusion in an ironic manner too, has been transformed into a digital archive, profiled here by Juliane Männel.


II. Exhibiting and Performing

In the second section, Barbara Büscher considers the complex relationship that exists between exhibition and performance formats. Arranging materials and artefacts into a spatial machine in order to conceptualize or generate knowledge is an important factor in mounting exhibitions. Another one is the understanding of movement as the basis of perception; the routes visitors are encouraged to take aim at activating their understanding of movement as a means of perception.
Franz Anton Cramer looks at the concept of the work, which is defined in museological terms on the one hand yet has inherent ontological blanks on the other. He shows how in the choreographic museum project “’Retrospective’ by Xavier Le Roy”, Le Roy’s project inhabits the concept of work in a contemporary sense. Lucie Ortmann’s comparative consideration of two feminist-inspired archive surveys extends the ambit of this edition to consider collecting and critical presentation. By the example of the installation and publication project entitled “’Weibliche’ und ‘männliche’ Körpersprache” (‘Female’ and ‘male’ body language) by Marianne Wex, Ortmann looks at the body’s figurative role and its “citational” status. French choreographer Gaëlle Bourges also refers to standardized representations of the (female) body but confronts and challenges them in a performance context.
Sven Bergelt reports on the “copy culture” arising from the new media and internet instruments such as YouTube, which is leading to a new form of archival formation and a synchronicity of archival entering and transforming.
The – now also internet-based – practice of Voguing has undergone a change too, as Jasmin İhraç shows. But while the social context has shifted, the effectiveness of its gestural and physical repertoire continues. To conclude, Masahiko Yokobori presents the theatre project “Record of a Journey to Antigone” by Japanese director Masataka Matsuda. In this project, which also refers to the events of March 2011, a journey by the players and protagonists forms an installation-performance, and is presented in various formats on the internet and via Twitter. The long-term process of the production is integrally inscribed in the performance and its dialogue media, which draws attention to and generates its archive at the same time.

Some of the articles in this edition stem from the workshops “Performance Geschichte Kuratieren” (Performance History Curating) and “Performance Geschichte Ausstellen” (Performance History Exhibiting), which took place on 13 and 14 December in Leipzig and on 23 and 24 April 2013 in Berlin as part of the “Verzeichnungen” research project. The next edition of MAP will present further articles from this context.


We would like to warmly thank all the contributors to this edition and look forward to your comments and suggestions.

Barbara Büscher
Franz Anton Cramer
René Damm
Verena Elisabet Eitel


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


If you would like to receive regular updates on our work, please send us a short eMail under the ref “Newsletter” to >>

If you would like to receive regular updates on our work, please send us a short eMail under the ref “Newsletter” to >>



translated from German by Charlotte Kreutzmüller