Keywords: Choreography, Memory, Performative,
Public Art, Public Sphere, Remembrance.
MEMORY WORK is an interdisciplinary artistic research enquiry into the politics of remembrance and representation. It explores states of performative flux in which multiple temporalities, past, present and future, are entangled and coexist. Through probing into gaps or blind spots or unmarked wounds that affect us in the present (Phelan 1993), we artistically search for distinct ways to account for people’s location in history (Davis 2010: 149). We start from a critical research position that asks:
Whose stories are heard, retold, and given attention? What are we doing with our agency and privilege to perform? What are reiterated and repurposed performatively through our artistic work?
Our artistic concerns lie in the intangible structures that shape the way we perceive and remember the past and hence understand the world around us. The questioning is urgent both for the arts and society at large.
Our performative art practices share with politics the entangled relationships between power and agency as they both become manifest through public representation (Franko 2006). As W. Benjamin argues, similar entanglements form our understanding of history: By capturing fleeting fragments of the past, we reimagine and narrate our history that shapes the future (Benjamin 1968). MEMORY WORK is preoccupied with this potential: the ways to reactivate and re-contextualize memory in public spheres.
We want thematically to probe into the politics of remembrance and representation and contextually respond to the current entanglement seen in the public sphere while exploring new relationships between art-making, theory formation and research practices in artistic research.
The project is situated in the intersection between Choreography and Public Art, informed by post-colonial and intersectional theory, historical materialism, psychoanalysis and ethnographic tools, while drawing on insights from Memory, Trauma and Performance Studies in its artistic investigation and exposition. Performatively, MEMORY WORK explores the means to make temporalities, memories and spaces coexist and publicly embodied.
MEMORY WORK comes out of a research collaboration at Oslo National Academy of the Arts (KHIO) between the departments of Dance and Art & Craft. The project involves an international group of artist-researchers, including research fellows at KHIO, as core members. They will use some of their individual artistic research projects as source material for the core activity in MEMORY WORK: a series of thematic Project Labs.
In these Labs, the artist-researchers are joined by a group of associated research members, based at different international institutions, and other relevant guests and specialists.
The Labs offer events that are open for staff and MA students at our institutions and the public at large. The Labs will operate as a generator for sharing knowledge and experiences, discussing strategies, developing artistic and discursive contributions, and disseminating results.
The thematic Labs will be rendered artistically and discursively. This material builds the project’s repository, together with various documentation of the artist-researchers’ individual projects and the research material collected on the theme.