The archive

- as a basis for research on performance art

- as a centre for documentation and inventories of contemporary performance art

- as a platform for discourse and knowledge transfer between generations

- as a place of encounters and education

- as a laboratory for researching physical models of continuity and updating

The Kunstraum Niederoesterreich endeavours to make its archive publicly accessible in the near future. The focus of the collection is derived from the work of the Kunstraum and is centred around young, contemporary positions in performance art: Thanks to its intensive explorations with performance, a unique stock of hundreds of video and photographic documentary materials has been compiled since 2006.

The Kunstraum’s documentation and archiving activities will be further developed and expanded in the next years. The collection ranges from performance-related archive records to sketches, notations, and concepts; from documentation of rehearsals, performances, and education projects to witness reports and interviews.

The Archive of Performance Art will be accessed via an online platform and an interface in the visitors’ lounge in the Kunstraum Niederoesterreich and is conceived as a “living” archive: Time and again, the archived objects will be reactivated, be it in the form of artistic appropriations, re-enactments, re-performances, discursive formats, exhibitions, or research projects. In turn, these projects will enter into the archive as different types of documents. 

The archive is not just the basis but also the site for the transmission, mediation, and research of performance art. As a platform for discourse and exchange, it is an open invitation to actively contribute to knowledge production about this art form. At the same time, it is a resource for scientific research in the fields of archives and cultural sciences.

A focus of the investigative approach is the body as an archive and knowledge carrier. Performance art works with the presence of the body – the key question whether and in what form performance art can be received, researched, and passed on via the body will be investigated with scientific and artistic methods.

Exchanges between different generations of artists play a central role in the process since personal encounters with the pioneers of performance art are still possible and they can directly participate in the knowledge transfer. International as well as regional networks are essential for the research work of the archive in order to build upon the findings of other institutions and to develop new standards together.

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