[-empyre-] empyre Digest, Vol 71, Issue 6 (experience from Chile...)

fer mccoll fenygirl at gmail.com
Fri Oct 8 04:14:54 EST 2010

Hello everybody,

I’m a MPhil student in Performing Arts Research at Brunel University,
London. I’m from Chile and I would like to share with you my own experience
about the idea of archiving and documenting especially in relation with
dance, but also including performing arts in general.

The actual scenario in my country is: there's no governmental or private
institution or organization interested in dance or performance in a
permanent way, just Universities with an unique economical focus....
+students, +money. Therefore there is no place for documentation or research
and most of my work (writing and publishing books and organizing conferences
and festivals) has being developed with small grants from the government
(where they push you to focus on charity or education).

I used to work as a teacher in different institutions in Santiago and
Valparaiso, and also collaborated with the Chilean arts council in several
projects related with dance and theatre. Almost 4 years ago, we (4
colleagues from different fields like sociology, history and aesthetic
studies and myself, with a common interest in dance) created CIM/ae [Centro
de Investigacion y Memoria/artes escenicas], a group dedicated to research
and documentation for scenic arts, although we have no support of any kind.

We already published a collective book about post-dictatorial independent
dance in Chile (Danza Independiente en Chile: Reconstruccion de una escena
1990-2000) and we constantly give lectures and participate in any sort of
cultural event related with performance. Our main interest is to
create a *platform
for documentation, creation and discussion for dance and performance*.  Thus
we constantly work in collaboration with other independent groups in Chile
(like Plataforma Cultura Digital http://www.plataformaculturadigital.cl/  /
MOV6 http://www.hectornoguera.cl/movimiento6/index.html), and in South
America, specially Mexico and Argentina.

Another interesting project was the creation of a web page [proyectoram.cl /
Constanza Cordovez] where the idea was to constantly upload information,
videos and any possible documentation about new and old dance pieces…. A
constantly upgrading file for dance. The website worked for a couple of
years, but then the financial support from the government (yearly public
competitions) was cut off because they preferred to support new and more
visible projects.

Archiving and documenting is not a priority…

Therefore we have collected information, interviews, videos, and pictures
for 4 years now... and we're fighting for creating an official archive for
dance and performance in any cultural centre, but the lack of support makes
it almost impossible (so we have great pictures of dancers and chorographers
like S. Leeder, E. Uthoff, and loads of Chilean choreographers in boxes in
our houses...)

I’m aware that this is a common problem in almost all South American
countries... the lack of institutions and constant support for performance
art and contemporary/digital/independent dance creates a big hole in our
memories... (For example, short performances in the street and underground
centers were extremely relevant political demonstrations during the
dictatorship and now it's impossible to collect and store all this data and
to think in real terms about the history of the country, specifically for
performing arts)

Well… I’m glad to hear all the diversity of opinions and possibilities that
appear around this topic.

Best for all of you

Jennifer McColl

On Wed, Oct 6, 2010 at 2:00 AM, <empyre-request at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>wrote:

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> Today's Topics:
>   1. Re: Culturally specific archives (Craig Dietrich)
>   2. Re: The archive (Johannes Birringer)
>   3. Re: "Archiving New Media Art: Ephemerality, and/or
>      Sustainability."  translation approach (Yann Le Guennec)
>   4. Re: The archive (Yann Le Guennec)
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Message: 1
> Date: Mon, 4 Oct 2010 11:54:24 -0700
> From: Craig Dietrich <craigdietrich at gmail.com>
> To: soft_skinned_space <empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
> Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Culturally specific archives
> Message-ID:
>        <AANLkTimXkP0mhyKPKhT+4bbdnULkq8T5xGxAnD4-hzuo at mail.gmail.com<AANLkTimXkP0mhyKPKhT%2B4bbdnULkq8T5xGxAnD4-hzuo at mail.gmail.com>
> >
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252
> Hi Jon, Vanina, et al,,
> It's been great following the discussion and thank you for mentioning
> my work with culturally specific archives.  A relevant project is the
> Mukurtu Archive (http://www.mukurtuarchive.org), a content management
> system that bases its access to material on embedded Aboriginal
> cultural protocols.
> Jon mentioned the goal of respecting local difference in archives and
> standards.  A big part of Mukurtu project development has been keeping
> flexible the means by which system administrators can define cultural
> protocols including family, country, a scared status.   It's been a
> challenge to model the software's database and logic in such a way
> that overlapping cultural protocols can be managed; attributed to
> individuals, groups, and media; and hopefully soon, shared between
> archives to preserve protocols as content is exchanged.  In practice
> we've found that the task is greater than defining standard fields
> (for example adding "family name" to compliment Dublic Core or MARC
> fields).  Instead, we need a way to represent the stories that are
> present with each piece of content, and how stories reveal content to
> viewers based on their profile.
> As described by Warumungu community members in Southwest Australia, a
> piece of content kept in a safe keeping place shouldn't open up
> (become available) unless certain family, country, gender or sacred
> affiliations are present in the viewers.  From a Digital Rights
> Management (DRM) perspective, a user attempting to view a file can't
> gain access unless they can prove certain digital requirements.
> However, for implementing in the Mukurtu Archive, we see a
> metaphorical difference.  As project director Kim Christen describes,
> many Aboriginal communities we've worked with aren't concerned with
> 'restricting' files on an individual bases, instead wishing to
> 'reveal' to the proper audience a collection of files based on one's
> user profile.  The software is therefor less concerned with
> heavy-handed DRM that keep people out and more concerned with creating
> a safe place for users to browse --  where content reveals itself --
> to facilitate people coming in.
> Describing protocols that reveal rather than restrict might seem
> technologically trivial, but it's a difference between implementing
> DRM (which puts all sharing power into the hands of the publisher) and
> folksonomy (which empowers individuals to accept, reset, or add files
> and sharing protocols).  Much like other folksonomy archives, in the
> Mukurtu Archive each file is "tagged" with categories, metadata, and
> protocols.  But writing the code that manages the display of content
> based on the this information became more hierarchical than
> folksonomic.  As an example, below are a set of comments in our PHP
> code from the first version of the Mukurtu Archive (from 2007) that
> demonstrates how it determines which files can be displayed to the
> user,
> //  add public items that are described by categories in the user's profile
> ?
> //  add non-public items that are placed in categories that are in the
> user's profile
> ?
> //   add public items who's categories match the user's based on root
> categories
> ?
> //  gender and sacred status
> ?
> //  other user profile matches
> ?
> //  family and country affiliation
> ?
> As you can see from the comments, the code is specific.  The system is
> therefore dependent on the code to transform data into meaningful
> protocol-aware content.  This isn't uncommon in software, but to share
> or preserve elsewhere data in this version of the archive would
> require the code's logic to be represented when passed to the receiver
> system.
> We're working with new strategies to create a flexible system that can
> more easily interact with other systems and archives.  I'm
> particularly interested in semantic web technologies.  For example,
> using RDF-XML (a core format of semantic web systems), one can store
> metdata such as Dublic Core fields, and attach one or more classes to
> each data node. Then, using a RDF schemas one can define properties of
> each class that can in turn be attached to user interface elements or
> mapped to ontologies that describe sharing protocols.  However, the
> difficulties of using semantic technology in the field muddy its
> promise.   Though, perhaps certain aspects can be gleaned over others.
>  Ignoring inference (the predictive algorithms that can recommend you
> buy a book based on your previous purchases) the structure of RDF and
> its corresponding ontologies could be a useful standard format for
> storing data in a way that safely maintains local nuances.
> Thanks, and looking forward to the conversations ahead,
> Craig
> --
> Craig Dietrich
> Institute for Multimedia Literacy
> School of Cinematic Arts
> University of Southern California
> On Sat, Oct 2, 2010 at 10:02 AM, Jon Ippolito <jon.ippolito at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > Hi Vanina ?et al.,
> > On Sep 29, 2010, at 7:49 AM, Vanina Hofman wrote:
> >
> > -Taking into account the scarce resources of media art conservation in
> > literature, we have decided to make Taxonomedia in Spanish. We thought
> that
> > producing and translating information in this language can be itself a
> > contribution to the topic....We decided to focus in managing cultural
> > activities centered around the Latin America context.
> >
> > It was great to read the blog post?about Forging the Future in Spanish. I
> > think well-meaning standards bodies have wasted too much time trying to
> > pound differently shaped pegs into the same square holes, instead of
> > devising software that respects local differences.
> >
> > Craig Dietrich of Still Water and USC has done some extraordinary work on
> > culturally specific archives, so I'm hoping he'll chime into this
> > discussion.
> >
> > I'm also curious what Mona learned in Ghana about the preservation
> practices
> > of oral cultures. I believe re-telling and re-performance is a better
> > paradigm for preservation in the 21st century than the storage paradigm
> that
> > came of age in the 20th.
> > Finally, I sent this query earlier but am not sure it made it to the list
> > due to the vicissitudes of my listserve membership:
> > On Sep 30, 2010, at 8:53 AM, FILE_Arquivo wrote:
> >
> > This made way to organize this amount of information; it?s facing the
> > instabilities, errors and ephemeralilties as inherent part of the complex
> > electronic/digital art archive ambiances....This is a philosophical point
> of
> > view, which we are trying to put in practice, working hard on interface
> > design and in the database structure.
> >
> > Intriguing,?Gabriela. Can you give us any more of a glimpse--via a
> prototype
> > or just textual description--of how this ephemerality-friendly interface
> and
> > database might work?
> > jon
> > ______________________________
> > Forging the Future:
> > New tools for variable media preservation
> > http://forging-the-future.net/
> ------------------------------
> Message: 2
> Date: Mon, 4 Oct 2010 17:06:30 +0100
> From: Johannes Birringer <Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk>
> To: soft_skinned_space <empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
> Subject: Re: [-empyre-] The archive
> Message-ID:
>  <DF657B70CB20304DB745D84933F94B1E0168D39DD8 at v-exmb01.academic.windsor>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
> hallo all
> thanks, Ricardo , for your very considerate response, much appreciated. And
> I agree with all you, necessarily, and had almost anticipated that you would
> raise these distinctions, but also recommendations on the significance of
> recording such encuentros, and the need for access to such workshops/blogs
> or documents to those who may not be able to attend many of these workshop
> or have dedicated media arts etc,  facilities and studio. From my experience
> of having worked in Cuba and Brazil, the differences  in availability of
> resources were wide ranging at times and at other times negligible, and in
> Belo Horizonte we worked with about 70 participants in a "media lab" that
> was held in a wonderful old fashioned theatre in the park - Teatro Francisco
> Nunes- , the municipal park being as important to us as the stage.
> If you are interested in the 2008 laborat?rio [Performance e Tecnologias
> Interativas] here is a modest documentation:
> http://interaktionslabor.de/lab08/index.htm    > workshop
> i enjoyed the first  version of Cynthia's posting where she explained the
> creative "l' archive recombinante" she was generating after "Layered
> Histories: the Wandering Bible of Marseilles".  The limitations of recording
> or documenting interactional digital art and performance works are pretty
> much expected, and thus inspire various kinds of fantastical 'solutions.'
> Some may indeed also be mundane,  like make up redressing parts of the stuff
> that could not be filmed or sound-recorded because of bad lighting
> conditions etc.  When i put up a film excerpt from a performance, into the
> public domain, i try not to use footage from the actual performance, but
> only specials we shoot under different light in the studio. Of course often
> we don't have the right lights for these shoots either, when we have combine
> lighting design for the live performers with projection design for the
> digital images/3d worlds.
> with Cynthia's last post, i cannot help wondering (and differing) what is
> imagined here  and where this will be the case/place, who will have these
> high end capturing technologies at their finger tips?
>  I sense that this month's discussion is also about unquestioned archival
> "privileges,"  if we read Ricardo and what he says about the discussion here
> often being perceivable "as mainly North-Western cultures/societies
> centered, not in the scope maybe but in the way of understanding other
> people's contexts."
> with regards
> Johannes Birringer
> ________________________________________
> From: empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au [
> empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au] On Behalf Of Cynthia Beth Rubin [
> cbr at cbrubin.net]
> Sent: Monday, October 04, 2010 4:14 AM
> To: soft_skinned_space
> Subject: [-empyre-] The archive
> Melinda and all:
> In my previous post I used the term "fake" to describe recreated elements
> in the documentation of an inter-active work.  I was referring to
> compensating for poor documentation which is the result of the quality of
> video recordings.
> In a very few years we will have video cameras which easily capture intense
> color in dim light, which simulate the instant adjustment that our eyes make
> as we shift our focus from one kind of light to another.  We will have sound
> recorders that can replicate the complexity of stereo sound bouncing against
> walls and back again and mixing subtlety in the space (of course by then
> stereo will be distant memory).  We will have 3D cameras which capture the
> spatial relationship of audience to installation, or performer to projection
> (if those distinctions exist then).
> Are distortions which are the result of the technological limitations of
> our time acceptable as the standard of documentation?  Is there something
> more pure about misrepresentation by machine?
> best wishes,
> Cynthia B Rubin
> http://CBRubin.net
> ------------------------------
> Message: 3
> Date: Mon, 04 Oct 2010 19:58:45 +0200
> From: Yann Le Guennec <y at x-arn.org>
> To: soft_skinned_space <empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
> Subject: Re: [-empyre-] "Archiving New Media Art: Ephemerality, and/or
>        Sustainability."  translation approach
> Message-ID: <4CAA15D5.2030003 at x-arn.org>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
> hi empyreans
> Thanks a lot for all these translations! I enjoy the idea that this text
> is submitted to the process it describes. Just a point about the
> possible meaning of the last sentence. I believe that we are
> constructing, or building, the archive, but also, that *we are* the
> archive, from a biotechnological, and also from a spiritual, critical
> and political point of view. It's the meaning of 'nous constituons',
> which in french means something like : shaping as a whole, while being
> an element of this whole. In other words, there is no archive than the
> world itself, in its actual and sensible, perceptible, state.
> best,
> yann
> Le 02/10/2010 22:21, Johannes Birringer a ?crit :
> >
> >>> l' archive recombinante<<
> >
> >
> > [File 5   tr.1 ]
> > archivo que estamos construyendo
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > regards Angeles Romero aliennation co. houston, tx
> > http://www.angelesromero.com/
> > _______________________________________________ empyre forum
> > empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au http://www.subtle.net/empyre
> >
> ------------------------------
> Message: 4
> Date: Mon, 04 Oct 2010 21:41:25 +0200
> From: Yann Le Guennec <y at x-arn.org>
> To: soft_skinned_space <empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
> Subject: Re: [-empyre-] The archive
> Message-ID: <4CAA2DE5.9090500 at x-arn.org>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
> I think documenting a process is not the same thing than documenting a
> piece. In fact you can document everything, and mostly document the
> document. Some consider an art piece should be a document about society
> or contemporary times. I believe we should learn about processes out of
> the paradigm that consitutes the project approach where you have to plan
> a process, document the plan of the process, the realization of the
> process, and finally, its result.
> If you consider that any art practice is a global process, you can see
> every piece as a document about this practice (think about Niele Toroni
> for example, where all installations are pointing to a single process).
> Why should you document the document? And what is the art piece, seen as
> a document, pointing to as a reference ? An originating point ? What is
> archiving what ?
> I believe that there is no archive, but only things pointing to other
> things, lost in compressed and always reconsidered times. Archiving is
> an utopian capitalistic concept. Preservation does neither act on the
> past or on the future, it's a posture trying to understand the actual.
> cheers,
> yann
> Le 03/10/2010 20:20, Melinda Rackham a ?crit :
> > Lynn
> > Yes I agree- I've seriously tried to stop making art through injury or
> > circumstance several times and I just keep being drawn back into some
> > form of creative practice.
> > Faking documentation is an art in itself - quiet acceptable when
> > presented as practice, but it gets slippery when, for example, one is
> > assessing a PhD, and the process documentation has obviously been
> > constructed to prove a point after the fact.
> > Yet we are not disturbed at all when books are written from screen plays
> > after cinematic releases to capitalize/augment the experience.
> ------------------------------
> _______________________________________________
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> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
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> End of empyre Digest, Vol 71, Issue 6
> *************************************

Jennifer Mc Coll Crozier

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