Black Box at Playground Exhibition, Stuk, 2009. Concept: Myriam Van Imschoot. Records: Myriam Van Imschoot, Ayméric De Tapol & Kristien Van den Brande (composition), Fred Alstadt (mastering), (record press). Production: Stuk. Co-production: Sarma.

Drawing from an archive of interviews, Myriam Van Imschoot injects a jukebox, the popular icon of hit parades and bar-entertainment, with contents and voices of a different kind. Together with Kristien Van den Brande and composer Ayméric de Tapol, she has cut 20 vinyl singles with testimonies of artists, musicians, producers and technicians. Once they participated in Crash Landing, an improvisation series curated by choreographers Meg Stuart, Christine De Smedt and David Hernandez between 1996 and 1999; now they enter a growing sonic mosaic for meandering thoughts about improvisation, history, and the ephemeral.

What and how do we remember a performance, what goes onto and off the record, who speaks in whose name, and when does the disk flip to the B-Side of History, ‘des petites histoires’ and silences? In Black Box the said and the unheard, the fragment and the hiatus are equally important triggers to activate collective reminiscence.

Concretely, visitors of Black Box can select their choices directly on a jukebox in an interactive listening situation. A ‘menu’ is available with extra information on the sound sources. In contrast to the more individualized listening experience offered by headphones, the jukebox make the situation social, relational and durational.

Black Box at the Playground Exhibition in Stuk, Leuven, November 2009.

Myriam Van Imschoot is preparing new Black Box editions in 2013:

“My art work over the past years was invested in unorthodox historiographies, situated on the borders between various cultural fields and practices. How can we smuggle methods over the borders, enhance experiences but most of all refracture the institutionalized roles so clearly defined as who is entitled to speak, to write, and finally to construct history?

Black Box is an important work in an expanding family of works (cf. my solo Living Archive, the duet Picking up Voices in collaboration with Christine De Smedt, or the video Fax Film) , that although different in form shares common questions and prioritizes speech and sound as the trigger for imagination and collective memory. I look at phenomena of forgetting/erasure and remembering, while at the same time inquiring into the poetics and politics of improvisational performance and the relevance of the artist archives for transmissive acts.

Black Box was made for the exhibition in Playground at Stuk (2009) and was presented again in Recyclart (October-November 2011). In 2013 I want to make further editions under the label ‘Black Box Editions’, including more sound compositions, records and a collaborative publication. During the installation’s opening hours, the space of exhibition will thus merge with the logics of the recording studio, publication atelier, open for encounter with the visitor.”

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