AffiliationUniversity of Lincoln
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AbstractBeyond most ephemeral artwork a memory remains in the mind of the observer and this forms part of the legacy of the fleeting event. However, memory is mostly a personal experience, that shifts, mutates, and fades over time to become distant, different to its origin, and in this way its archival potential is unreliable. To overcome this dilemma a variety of lens-based archival methods have become the tradition of recording the ‘actual’ event in as far as it is possible. Although a recorder, of any variation, can provide footage that gives place and context of the archive document, they present a dilemma – how much do they indicate what it was like to ‘be there’. For recordings are mediated and translated for posterity through the direction of the person holding the device and document their viewpoint and subjective encounter with the work. This creates an archival document open to subjective discussion, as a memorial and work in its own right, and of which alternatives are often sought. It is in this way that the disciplinary ghettos of event and documentation are abandoned in favour of a mode of practice that allows for a greater level of mutual critique. For documentation is also subject to the same vagaries of time as the event itself. Concerned with the ephemeral and how it is perceived Peggy Phelan represents a position on this subject of “you have to be there” in order to understand the ephemeral. Phelan acknowledges that a performance “become[s] itself through disappearance.” This argument draws empathy, but in practice is a less than pragmatic account of the reality of experiencing ephemeral works, for how is the work to exist beyond the moment if not recorded in some way. The Alternative Document symposium, which accompanies the opening of the exhibition of the same name at University of Lincoln, seeks to expand on the idea of the ephemeral and its loss, by offering a platform where different acts of legacy can be witnessed and discussed. A guest edited edition of Studies in Theatre and Performance will be published from the project as a whole in the near future. The symposium was originated and led by Angela Bartram. The day coincided with the launch of the exhibition of the same name, and featured presentations by the artists in the exhibition (plus others). Tim Etchells delivered the symposium's keynote paper, and Jordan McKenzie gave a keynote performance to open the event at the same time as the launch of the accompanying exhibition on the evening of Friday 12 February 2016. Presenters: Tim Etchells, Jordan McKenzie, Annalaura Alifuoco, Hector Canonge, Ana Carvalho, Rachel Cherry, Luce Choules, Emma Cocker & Clare Thornton, Stewart Collinson, Kate Corder, Rochelle Haley, Min Kim, Sophie Kromholz, Anya Lifting, Chiara Passa, Andrew Pepper, Louise K Wilson. Created and led by Angela Bartram as part of the Alternative Document project. The symposium took place at Lincoln Performing Arts Centre, 12-13 February 2016.
CitationBartram, A. (2016) ‘The alternative document symposium’, Lincoln Performing Arts Centre, 12th-13th February.
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