Lecture by Sharon Lehner (TWM Forschungskolloquium)
Lecture by Sharon Lehner (Director of Archives, BAM Hamm Archives New York)
"Emerging Performance Archives"
As Part of the TWM Forschungskolloquiums
Time: Wendsday, 13. Juni 2018, 12:15 – 14:00 (s.t.)
at the "Institut für Theaterwissenschaft" Georgenstraße 11, Raum 109
Performance is an ephemeral, impermanent experience. It is also typically collaborative, formed from a web of people, their relationships and ideas. Collecting and describing performance is fundamentally different from describing a physical object. That static repository model– archives as dusty, 19th century curio cabinet–has been replaced by a more contemporary living archive. A recent Google search for "Living Archive" brought up many thousands of hits. The term, appropriated by numerous disciplines, describes everything from open data projects in computer science programs to Asian Art Museums. While the use of the term Living Archive is applied differently across these projects, all seem to crave live-ness and who understands this better than those who create performance? Performance archives mirror the collaborative process they describe, creating webs of knowledge that can be connected back to the original event. Archiving performance is also practical, working with a dizzying array of media to collect, organize, describe, preserve, and make available objects related to performances, history, and people. We work with creators, performers, designers, photographers, videographers, subject area specialists, and numerous others. The process is open and creative, with discussion about how best to document and share work. Performing artists already understand the limits of representation and the power of embodied experience. In performance archives we attempt to reflect the complexity.
Sharon Lehner has directed the BAM Hamm Archives in Brooklyn, New York since 1999. She holds degrees in Performance Studies and also in Historical Editing and Archival Management from New York University and has presented at conferences and published in both disciplines. She has served as a consultant to performance archives and acted as advisor to the Pina Bausch Archives from 2009-2017. Recent projects include the launch of The Leon Levy BAM Digital Archive, an encyclopedic resource documenting the history of BAM, In Terms of Performance at BAM, Co-produced by BAM, the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, and UC Berkeley, an interactive installation exploring the terms that describe contemporary art and performance. Most recent publications include How to Create an Archive? Inheriting Dance: An Invitation from Pina ([transcript] Press, Verlag 2014) Forthcoming, BAM: The Next Wave Festival edited by Susan Yung and Steven Serafin and interview in the Routledge Companion to Digital Humanities in Theatre and Performance edited by Dr. Nic Leonhardt.