Performing the Archive

Installation with two performers and accordion player, 2017

Performing the Archive, alteration 1 was presented within the context of the Jan van Eyck open studios in 2017, in Maastricht. During the four day exhibition, each performing day was divided into four intervals during which different part of the Archive was brought to light. Based on the research conducted between 2015-2017 in Maastricht, Performing the Archive is part of a diverse yet thematically interrelated body of work: The Regime of the Visible, Sedimentation of Memory, and Portrait of the Mountain. 

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After investigating the historical and geological significance of Cannerberg, it was surprising to see how little was known about it. As a result of two years-long research process, I have created an archive of this unrepresented yet, to my view, highly relevant part of Dutch and European history. My research methods have included interviews, on-site aural and visual field investigations, and searches through the various public and private archives. Through interviews and on sight conversations, I got to know an intricate web of stories from former NATO employees, anti-nuclear activist as well as the local stories from youth and elderly that frequent the area. These stories portray Cannerberg with a plurality of voices and sometimes conflicting perspectives. 



Performing the Archive, alteration 1 was constructed around the various research sources, filed in a large archive cabinet. The sources included a range of media: black and white and colour photographs, VHS tapes, scanned documents, natural history books, military brochures, tourist guides or the most recent unclassified records from the NATO Archives in Brussels. Some of these were used as a performance prop, while some stayed hidden. The two performers activated the large archive cabinet, dismantling it and exposing parts of its content during the performance. Performers: Jule Kurbjeweit and Caterina Antonaci. Accordion: Leo Svirsky.