Body Archive // Archive Body
Memory Exchange As Artistic Method
After I graduated from the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama in 2014, I went on to attain my MA in Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Copenhagen. For my MA thesis Body Archive // Archive Body – Memory Exchange as Artistic Practice (2015) I took my newly started cross-disciplinary project I remember… as the starting point and used the thesis as a tool to investigate my own performance practice.
I wrote my master’s thesis on the human archive and the connection between senses and the memory, and I continue to experiment with how best to use my academic background in my performance practice. As I remember… developed, I wrote some articles to support and further my practice. These are available here. Hopefully there are more to come…
Thesis - University of Copenhagen
The hypothesis of my dissertation is that the body remembers, and that we, through senses and movement, can retrace and retract some of those memories. My dissertation is based on work that I have conducted – and continue to conduct – in collaboration with Norwegian dance artist Karen Eide Bøen through the art project I remember….
In my dissertation I examine the method of Memory Exchange that we are developing through the following questions: How can an exchange of memories be used as a performative method of triggering memories in both the giver and receiver of the memory? Does the method hold a potential to “relocate” memories through re-archiving – meaning, does our reenactment of memories have potential to affect our personal narratives? I also investigate what this exchange offers in terms of a performative meeting relating to the term relational art1, as well as asking what kind of body we are assuming through our strategies: How can I define the body as an archive of our memories?
Through my research I have appropriated the term archive-body from dance artist Ea Sola. It relates to the body of the individual; the body containing all memories, practices and experiences from past and present. In my use, it is also the link between the body and the world: it is the relational archive that affects and is affected by its surroundings – physically as well as mentally. The other term I use extensively is the body-archive, which is our inner archive. The archive-body engages with the world through the content of the body-archive. These terms are predominant in my investigations of our work and help conceptualise the relationship between body, world and archive. I have found that through our method we preserve the ephemeral – the memories – through the ephemeral – the body – by sharing the memories and re-archiving them in several body-archives.
My discoveries so far conclude that our preliminary method for Memory Exchange works. This dissertation accounts for numerous trigger strategies tested through performance and it offers a general terminology for memory exchange work. We have managed to trigger memories through movement, smell, re-telling and performing, to mention a few, and we found that the Memory Exchange was a strong base from which to facilitate meetings between strangers.