Translating the Archive, 2016

Live performance with projected diptych media

Collaboration with Natalie leFebvre Gnam

Script notes from performance with Natalie LeFebvre Gnam at The Western Front, Vancouver, Canada, October 20, 2016.

Remembering the dance, the living archive, the memory of the performance, the body, the dancer, the document, the photo, the video. Does an archive gain more value the older it is? Translating the archive from memory to body. Who is the archive? What is more authentic? The memory of the performer, or the audience, or the video? Ephemeralness. Does anyone remember any telephone numbers anymore? Technology, like memory, changes. And fades.

16mm, Super 8, Video 8, ¾ inch tape, Beta max, Beta SP, Hi8, ½ inch tape, VHS, HDV, DIGITAL! H.264 files, Apple Pro Res 422 files, codex, file transfer, uncompressed, what is your compression? NO, that’s so last year. Ben says it needs to match the projector. It’s HD 1920 x 1080. Otherwise it’s not archival.

Once I had to learn an ensemble dance from an archival tape. The dancer was ill and I was to go on in her place, that night. No-one was available to teach me the dance in person. I spent all day, 5-6 hours with the TV, rewind, fast-forward, rewind, fast-forward. Fuzzy small figures in the background. Had to reverse everything. Their left foot was my right foot. Stage left meant stage right. Mirroring the movement, that extra cognitive step. 6 hours to learn 10 minutes of movement. But I needed the tape. And I learned the dance from the archive. Sort of. Finally another dancer came in and we went through it together. In 15-20 minutes I had learned the whole dance, sort of. Copying, flocking, following. Body to body.

It was stored within me. A lived archive.



Vancouver, Canada October 2016