Midgelow, V. (2008) TRACE: articulating improvisation, challenging ‘the document’. Performance at: Society of Dance History Scholars Thirty-first Annual Conference Saratoga Springs, New York, 12-15 June 2008.
What are the ontology’s of improvisation? Is it possible to ‘document’ improvisation? How might the nature of improvisation enable us to challenge the notion of ‘the archive’ and historiography? What are the politics of documentation? What are the implications of in/exclusion? Through this presentation the inherent slipperiness of improvisation combine with processes of documentation to create a complex nexus – a nexus in which elements often resist each other and in which there is no easy coherence. Yet whilst improvisation is an illusive art of erasure, by foregrounding the play of memory (whether physical, visual, visceral, emotional) it becomes evident that improvisation is a site in which there can be no tabula rasa, only palimpsestous play and emergence, for improvisation is an act of embodied remembering and (purposeful) forgetting.