Knots and Then – An Improvised Intervention

Meg Stuart
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01.10.2021

Organizing the past has been a historical ambition of the archive as an institution, present in the desire of regulating what has been said or done in history. The choreographer and dancer Meg Stuart proposes another perspective: to work in the space of lacking, the moments of silence in a narrative, the pause in the process of transmission of information, creating a parcours between what was not said and putting herself in a position of establishing the gesture and the body as a force against the rule of law in the archive.

“When I reach back – I look for the knots – when I

find them – I begin – acknowledging – untying –

undoing

– revising – reimagining – living the archive

through – a process of awareness – unfinished

invisible labor – weaving the promise of the past into

the reality of now.” (Meg Stuart)

The video shows Meg Stuart’s performance at the The Whole Life: Archives and Reality congress in Dresden in 2019.

Connected Material

Three videos are used in real time composition to explore the combination of the moving images – the edited sequence creates a non-existing-place.

The video explores the encounter (digital and analogue) between the body and the archive.

The audio map “biography of kecak” is an attempt to decrease this discrepancy between the singularity of archival knowledge and the multiplicity of individual realiities – using the sonic as its material.

These images were taken in the frame of The Whole Life Academy. Laura Fiorio accompanied the project as a photographer from the beginning in 2019 and developed her own approach of documenting archival sites and methods.

The Perverted Archival Image workshop centered on and tentacled off from Studio Baalbeck. The workshop participants created an audio montage of recordings to accompany some of the visual archive material.

This collective chain uses multiple entry points to reflect on the encounter of archival practices, objects and material with non-linear timelines.

Beyond the objects in any given archive is a myriad of people, encounters and exchanges. The desire to locate the human element beneath archives is challenged by new technology. As part of ‘Life Stories and Archives’, we began a virtual ‘common archive’. Our collaborative thread addresses pertinent questions arising from shared interests in how individual’s origins, biases, networks and political struggles fuel the need to collect.

Delving into the notion of the desktop as an archival site and methodology, this contribution presents two divergent outputs resulting from collaboration between the participants and co-conveners of the Academy workshop “Desktop Shortcuts”: an in-development simplified database of hyperlinks, and a poetic game of disorder.

Imagine these fragments are a response to a not-yet-written manifesto for a hedonistic archive. Then imagine they are a response to a manifesto which cannot be written at all and should not be either.

The emerging lexicon acts as its own active archive of a learning process. It serves as a tool in attempting to deconstruct the rich dictionary of memory and meaning held within Studio Baalbek film archive in Lebanon.