Station#1: Symposium


Part of the project “Capturing Dance – Dance Documentation as Artistic Practice“

“Capturing Dance“ examines the productive fluid relationship between choreography/performance and documentation. Usually ontological requirements of authenticity are opposed to pragmatic demands. Rather than this, the symposium examined the artistic status of performance and documentation. From this perspective, properties that are often attributed to the document, such as ‘subordinate‘, ‘reductive‘ or ‘arbitrary‘ have to be re-examined. If one accepts that choreography and documentation are both artefacts each with its own authorial and medium-specific characteristics, then the question would be, what strategies allow a non-hierarchical relationship – a relationship that allows this supposed opposition to be overcome. Techniques from visual art are especially informative in this context where exhibitions with performative themes treat document and performance in a complementary way.

The symposium invited curators, artists and academics to examine the productive relationships between event and trace, authenticity and historicity, creation and dissemination.



 4.00pm        Doors open and introduction

4.30pm        Barbara Formis “Performing Lives“ | opening lecture

How can life be a source for art? And how can art be a way to archive and document the dynamics of the multiple forms of human interactions and vibrant transactions that we can find in life? The title “Performing Lives“ is inspired by three works: 1. The film “Lives of Performers“ directed by Yvonne Rainer (choreographer) in 1972; 2. The essay “Performing Life“ written by the artist Allan Kaprow in 1979; 3. The book “Performing Live. Aesthetic Alternatives for the Ends of Art” written in 2000 by the pragmatist philosopher Richard Shusterman. Dance, Happenings and Philosophy are the three main inspirations for this talk.

5.30pm       Introduction to the “Capturing Dance“ project (Phil Collins, Sigrid Gareis, Boyan Manchev, Ludger Orlok)

6.00pm        Barbara Clausen “The Becoming of Its Own Image“ | lecture

Barbara Clausen’s talk investigates how the abundance of art historical image and text based documentary materials have become integral to critical performance based art practices as an infinite source of knowledge and inspiration. Since the late 1990s visual artists and choreographers have via strategies of re-enactment and appropriation, embraced the history as well as the more nuanced historiographies of performance art in their work. This has led to an increasing critical reflection on the narrative linearity of performance art and its ongoing institutionalization as a performative process anchored in the tension field of its medial reproduction. This talk looks at how artists engage with the correlative relationship between the live and the mediated and consequently asks how the site and time specificity of the exhibition, as an inherently performative medium, is processed, acted out and reproduced within the becoming of its own image, between spectator and action.



10.30am      Doors open

11.00am      Babette Mangolte “New Perspectives on Filming Dance“ | lecture

I want to present a new perspective on the concept of “videodance“ as opposed to “dance documentation“ or “capture”. My analysis will be based on my three most recent dance films “Roof Piece on The Highline” (choreography Trisha Brown) 2011, “Staging Lateral Pass” (choreography Trisha Brown) shot in 1984 and edited in 2013, and my current film shot at WIELS in Brussels with choreography by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker (still untitled).

1.00pm       Lunch break

2.30pm       Susanne Foellmer “On Remnants and Vestiges. Strategies of Remaining in the Performing Arts“ | short lecture

The paper will give a brief introduction into the interdisciplinary research project under the same title. The project investigates the challenges inherent in remaining and preserving in the fields of dance, music theater and performance, which usually operate under the primacy of presence. Strategies of remaining are investigated with a focus on dance and its documents, on performance videos as a dynamic memory preservation that creates tension between the performance and its recorded remnants, and the object-based leftovers of 1970s performances, examining the challenges faced by performative approaches in between the process and the resulting artifacts on display. As an example I will focus on the documentation of performance events, namely the photographs of Trisha Brown’s “Roof Piece” taken by Babette Mangolte.

2.50pm Eric Morrill “Photography: Subject to Experience“ | short lecture

The lecture will focus on theoretical aspects of interpreting performance photography. It discusses ongoing research on performances by Wolf Vostell and Jean-Jacques Lebel.

3.30pm       Artists‘ Talk: Babette Mangolte, Christina Ciupke, Hannah Doerr

4.30pm       Short break

4.45pm       Philip Auslander “The Paradoxical Temporality of Performance Documentation“ | lecture

The paradox of performance documentation is that it functions simultaneously as a record of a past, ephemeral event that cannot otherwise be retrieved and as a means for prompting experiences in the present tense. These experiences can be either primarily mental and individual, like the beholder’s reactivation of a performance from its reproduction described by Benjamin, or collective and embodied, as in the practice sometimes called re-performance, in which historical performance events are reenacted from their documentation. Since performance documentation is a record of a performance intended to make the performance accessible in some way to an audience that was not present at its instantiation in real time, to document is inevitably to address the present as “tomorrow’s past” in Michael Kirby’s phrase.

5.45pm       Closing panel


Philip Auslander is a Professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication of the Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta/USA).

Christina Ciupke is a performer and choreographer based in Berlin.

Barbara Clausen is a curator and Professor for performance history and theory in the art history department at the University of Québec in Montréal (UQAM).

Phil Collins is a visual artist and Professor of Video Art and Performance at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne.

Franz Anton Cramer is a dance theorist and conducts the research project “Records and Representations” at the Inter-University Centre for Dance (HZT) Berlin.

Hannah Doerr works as a film-maker and as a video artist for theatre in Cologne.

Susanne Foellmer works as professor at the Theater Studies Department of the Freie Universität Berlin.

Barbara Formis is a Senior Lecturer in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art in the Department of Fine Arts of the University Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne.

Sigrid Gareis is founding director of Tanzquartier Wien and Academy of the Art of the World in Cologne and works as a curator and dramaturge.

Boyan Manchev is a philosopher, Professor at the New Bulgarian University (Sofia) and guest Professor at the HZT Berlin and at the Sofia University.

Babette Mangolte is a French-American cinematographer and film director.

Eric P. Morrill is a researcher in Visual and Performance Studies from San Francisco and currently Mercator Fellow in Leipzig.

 Ludger Orlok is dancer and choreographer and since 2008 artistic manager of Tanzfabrik Berlin.