Embodied Memory

By | September 16, 2014

This week’s readings brought up a new concept for me, the repertoire.  In Diana Taylor’s “The Archive and the Repertoire” she states that the repertoire is the “ephemeral repertoire of embodied practice/knowledge (i.e. spoken language, dance, sports, ritual” in other words, “embodied memory,” an experience that is not based in the written language but “requires presence: people participate in the production and reproduction of knowledge by “being there” being a part of the transmission” (19-20).
The concept of reclaiming the body, especially in the digital age, reminds me of a performance/video art by Jesse Malmed, that I attended at Spectacle Theatre about two months ago, where at one point audience members stood up and sang lyrics that flashed in the screen.  I am personally very interested in not only the materiality of film/video itself but also how an embodied cultural experience, like going to see a film/performance in a specific space at a specific time etc. engages in knowledge production.  This type of performance definitely draws from the material (of the archive) and also the embodied aspect of the repertoire.
This type of piece also brings up the fact that the archive and the repertoire are constantly feeding off of each other. The Archive inherently cannot store lived experiences of specific performances or protests, but it can hold the artifacts relating to them, and therefore what these documents/artifacts “represents is part of the repertoire.”  The repertoire runs heavily at The Interference Archive.  Although no one can relive specific work strikes “the posters, pamphlets, books, images, jokes, memes, and other labor-related ephemera” imply an embodied memory, and a place to all of these events which involved thousands of people (Interference Library Website).

One thought on “Embodied Memory

  1. shannon Post author

    Very nice, Ariana. I’m glad you appreciate the *complementarity* of the archive and the repertoire. It’s important to recognize that we can’t expect any one institution to serve a comprehensive intellectual or mnemonic function; we can’t ask the archive to be the embodiment of *all kinds* of history and knowledge. The archive is best suited to perform some kinds of memory work, and the repertoire serves other functions — and we should engage them in relation to one another.


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