Intro

Premiere 4 March 2011, Kaaitheater, Performatik Festival. Concept and performance: Myriam Van Imschoot. Set: Nadine Van Imschoot.

For English and full credits text scroll down.

Dutch text: “Living Archive situeert zich op de grens van hoorspel en performance. Een uur lang worden mixed tapes, songs, found footage, ingesproken dagboekfragmenten, professionele interviews en performatieve acties tot een grillig tableau versneden. In deze solo treed ik als performer voor het voetlicht, met boomboxen, walkmans, hifi-torens, magnetische bandopnemers en minidisc-players als medespelers op de scène. Wars van high-tech en technologische vernuft, roep ik met deze ‘household utensils’ een leven op doorheen klank. Het is een voorstelling met en van een ‘girl next-door in the age of reproduction techniques’.

De voorstelling heeft een autobiografisch karakter doordat ik werk met materialen die afkomstig zijn uit mijn persoonlijk archief. Maar of het nu om de kindertijd aan zee, de puberjaren in de ‘no future’ doem van de 80’er jaren, of om de onderzoekingen van een jonge danshistorica gaat, de bio-epic wil vooral een trigger zijn voor het publiek. Op het kruispunt van ‘petite histoire à moi’, ‘petite histoire à toi’ en ‘Histoire à nous’ bespeel ik de wissels tussen singulariteit enerzijds en collectieve auditieve herinnering anderzijds. Ik schets een archeologie van luisterwijzen en omgangsvormen met registratietechnologie, zoals deze tijdens de voorbije decennia onze auditieve cultuur hebben vormgegeven.

Living Archive is een ode aan de stem en aan het luisteren. Met steeds wisselende registers en stijlen laveer ik tussen audio-fragmenten, liedjes en verstilde acties. Identeiten liggen nooit vast, maar verglijden. Transformatie en de breuk voeren de hoofdtoon. Drie figuren vormen evenwel een driegdraad: het gestamel, de schreeuw en het recitatief.”

Concept & performance Myriam Van Imschoot | set Nadine Van Imschoot | coach: Kristien Van den Brande & Dimitry Masyn |  production assistant Ingrid Vranken | technique Nico Van Der Eeken (Vooruit), Chris Seghers (Kaaitheater)|production Kaaitheater (Brussels) | co-production Kunstencentrum BUDA (Kortrijk) |

Special thanks to Joris Van Imschoot, Jo Huybrechts, Johan Reyniers, Jorge Leon, Alexandre Roccoli, Vladimir Miller, Meg Stuart, Ivo Dimchev, Igor Dobricic, Gérard Kurdian, Jack Hauser, Sabina Holzer, Dianne Weller, VGC, Denise François. Première Kaaitheater, 4 March 2011. Also performed at Buda Kortrijk (extract), Vooruit in the Intimate Strangers Festival in 2011 and De Grote Post in Ostend in 2013.

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Living Archive, Intimate Strangers Festival, Vooruit (Ghent). Photo: Chris Van der Burght

English text:

Living Archive is an hour long sound and performance piece in which Myriam Van Imschoot invites the audience into a memory theater of sorts. What do we collect during a life and how do we recollect a life through sound?

Myriam Van Imschoot takes up the challenge of literally ‘giving a voice to’ her sound archives collected over thirty years, jumping freely between autobiography and collective memory,  songs and found footage, pirate radio programs and a professional legacy of interviews and conversations with dancers and choreographers. Personal and materialized, Living Archive evokes also an archeology of listening and recording, as it designed our sonic memory during the last decades.

Living Archive is a tribute to the voice and to listening. Identities and registers are never stable. Transformation and the rupture make the order of the day. Three figures are woven throughout: the stammer, the cry and the recitative.

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RELATED MATERIALS

  • It’s like this changing landscape. In this audio-piece (10’49”)  I speak about the role of the voice in Living Archive. I made this piece for writer Ixiar Rozas, who presented it in her extended lecture on the voice in contemporary dance and performance (Barcelona, March 2012):   It’s like this changing landscape.
  • Storyboard. I made a storyboard that translates the performance Living Archive – from stage to page. Written for people who want to have an idea about the performance, it’s a chronological description of the actions, step by step. The storyboard is a substitute for the distribution of video registration and honors the fact that Living Archive makes sound and imagination the primary motor.”Imagine the piece like this. You enter a space. It’s not a theatre space, in fact, it’s ‘any space’, that is minimum 11 meters deep to 7 meters wide. You enter and you go and sit on one of the 30 chairs in the designated audience area. So basically you are sitting in a small group of spectators and from this, and from the fact that the audience area is close to the performance area, you know: this is going to be an intimate piece. As you are one of the first to be seated you have time to look around. This is what you see when you look in front of you. You see a set that consists of curtains, wooden pedestals and all sorts of musical machines.” (continue reading? please contact me)
  • Photos by Chris Van der Burght; text by Marianne Van Kerkhoven

“It is possible to identify someone by means of a fingerprint. One can also recognize a voice. A voice comes from within the body, it floats on the breath and in that sense it is one of an individual’s most personal instruments. Myriam Van Imschoot has had ‘a voice’ in the world of dance for many years: when she was a critic she wrote about William Forsythe, Steve Paxton, Marc Vanrunxt and others; as a historian she published work on Le Sacre du Printemps and on improvisation, and as a dramaturge she worked with Meg Stuart, Benoît Lachambre, Philipp Gehmacher and others. She is also the founder of Sarma, the digital platform for dance-related criticism, dramaturgy and research. From 2007 she started to develop her own artistic work and presented a series of sound installations, performance and video. In two productions by the theatre group Tristero, Living and The Search Project, she acted as coach and (co)director. Her career has moved from theory to practice, from spectator to maker. With Living Archive she creates an associative poem of sound and image, a collection of voices and sounds in which she herself appears as the guardian of the voices, as a ventriloquist who brings the archives to life.”
Marianne Van Kerkhoven in Kaaitheater brochure

 “Encerclée de rideaux de bandes magnétiques et d’appareils audio design ou désuets, la performeuse nous invitait au voyage dans le temps. Dans l’intimité de cette chambre d’écoute chaleureuse et calfeutrée, les voix du passé surgissaient, se mêlaient pour ouvrir des mondes parallèles, réveiller des atmosphères et, par bribes, raconter, parfois en chanson, l’Historie. Et de constater que le son est assurément un médium aussi puissant que l’image.”
Cathy De Plee in Nouvelles de Danse, Printemps 11, n° 51, p. 8-9

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