Think Tank I: Archives of the Ephemeral and Databases[Bearbeiten]
23.03.2018 Academy of Art and Design FHNW Basel
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Guests: Heidi Eisenhut (Schauwerk Trogen, Kantonsbibliothek Appenzell Ausserrhoden; represented by a video document), Jürgen Enge (HGK FHNW Basel), Irene Müller (Zurich), Birk Weiberg (SAPA Bern)
Participants: 31 Persons
Databases play a central role at the interface between digital (often institutional) archive practices and (public) access: they not only index and manage archived content, but the systems also provide access for research purposes. They can potentially be linked to other databases or platforms and inscribed in (artistic, administrative, scientific, etc.) networks. Therefore, artistic reflection and production processes increasingly lead to databases or fail because of them.
The spectrum of topics discussed in the first think tank ranged from the question of how to get into the archive as a performance artist and who should do all the work (continuously / when) that favors a later admission, to the visionary demand for web-based (database) interfaces that themselves produce performative narratives.
Irene Müller presented the documentation of research results of the project archiv performativ (ZHdK). In her presentation she focussed on the mutual relationship between performance, documentation and archive. In the contribution about the Schauwerk in Trogen, the eponymous concept was presented by René Schmalz. At the same time, the institutional challenges that emerge in practice as a result of the consolidation of a living archive which encourages use became tangible.
Birk Weiberg presented the newly developed data model that SAPA had developed together with the Berne University of Applied Sciences for performing arts.
Jürgen Enge illustrated the networking potential of non-hierarchical databases using the Integrated Catalogue (Integrierter Katalog) of the HGK media library as an example.
At the same time it remained noticeable that – despite all admiration and fascination – the interpretive sovereignty implemented by archives and the production of historical truth(s) provoked resistance in performance art. Thus classifications, genre characteristics and vocabularies are perceived as (oppressive) definitions rather than descriptions, as constricting rather than consolidating. On the other hand, digital systems make networking and publication potential technically viable, which in turn supports the decentralized, mutually correcting and relativizing flow of information in a global world and therefore was deemed as forward-looking.