ARchive Live

Archive Live

June 17th and 18th, 2016

Museum of Performance and Design (MP+D, SF) 

In collaboration with The Museum of Performance + Design, we developed and performed a 10 hour site-responsive performance based on materials found in the Museum’s performing arts archive. The project brought together artists devoted to creating theatrical performances within non-traditional environments and a rare collection representing the rich history of the San Francisco performing arts. We aimed to present an innovative response to bringing an archive to life while redefining the boundaries of theater-making and dramaturgy.

From the MP+D: Four researcher-artists from The Collected Works activated materials from our archive through performance. Guided by pre-determined rules, they explored our stacks and pulled materials from our diverse collections. These materials were intermittently activated by the performing artists through speech, movement or play. Through this real time activation, impromptu narratives formed invoking people, places and histories of the past, and evoking new connections, situations and conditions of human and dramatic interest. Through the durational performance, journals, correspondences, rare books, programs, unpublished manuscripts as well as recordings and visuals from the archive accumulated in the performance space, leaving a visual incremental trace of the remnants of history and the passing of time. Audience members were immersed in an environment charged with history and had an extended, novel and three- dimensional experience of words, sounds and images from our archive as re-imagined and brought to life through the artists’ performance methodology, actions and use of space. The durational performance accommodated a wide and diverse audience and allowed for those in attendance to come and go and experience the transformation of the site and of the performers’ engagement on their own time and over time.

This project was funded in part by the Zellerbach Family Foundation and W & F Hewlett Foundation.

Creative Team: Ryan Tacata, Tonyanna Borkovi, Renu Cappelli, Michael Hunter, and Derek Phillips. 

Video by Nicholas Berger.

Photos by Nicholas Berger and Yula Pauly.