spatial practice and 
artistic research

Bodies of Knowledge

Archival / Spatial Intervention

2020
What types of knowledge do archives embody and perform? What can’t they perform? Archives format what is knowable, preserve objects that materialise the past, index and systematise things. They are technologies that reproduce strict logics of categorisation and separation.

Bodies of Knowledge is an intervention within the The Temporary Slovenian Dance Archives, initiated by Rok Vevar in 2012 in his own apartment, and now hosted by the Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova in Ljubljana. The installation shifts the archive from a site of knowledge retrieval, to one of knowledge production. By dismantling and mobilising documents, technologies and institutional framings into new compositions, the intervention invites visitors to access, navigate and contribute to the content of the archive, through movements and gestures. In the spirit of contemporary dance, Bodies of Knowledge breaks the internal logic of the archive by releasing the emancipatory power of movement. Historiographic structures dissolve, allowing for the emergence of alternative associations. Digital data are opened up not only as research information but as a physical experience. 


Three screens feature fractured footage of archived videos from Slovene choreographers. Installed near each screen, video cameras record visitors’ movements. Each station is focused on a particular body part: Legs, Arms, and Head. The installation uses machine learning algorithms similar to those used in surveillance technologies to track and monitor the visitors' movements. The system identifies gestures and compares them to the documentation of the performances used to train it. When movements in the room are registered as similar enough, their recordings are saved and played back, mingled with archive footage. Visitors add their bodies and movements to the archive. The addition happens in real-time, but the fragments persist in the temporary archive until the end of the biennial.
Bodies of Knowledge is an installation commissioned by MAO for BIO 26| Common Knowledge, the 26th Biennial of Design in Ljubljana, and hosted by the Museum of Modern Art + Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, within the Temporary Slovene Dance Archive.
The Biennial was curated by Thomas Geisler and Aline Lara Rezende. Design Mentor: Paolo Patelli; Knowledge Mentor: Ida Hiršenfelder; Project Manager: Matevž Straus; Team: Cyrus Clarke, Giulia Cordin, Juliana Lewis, Luigi Savio, Monika Seyfried. In collaboration with Rok Vevar / Temporary Slovene Dance Archive.
Mark

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in construction