The Portal

Archiving the Gesture

As conversations around the archiving and curating of performance continue to proliferate, this course turns to the artistic work and legacy of Trisha Brown as a primary case study. Brown, a seminal postmodern choreographer to emerge from the Judson Dance Theater has extended a major influence on contemporary artists of today. Some of these artists include Robert Rauschenberg, Donald Judd, Nancy Graves, Terry Winters, Fujiko Nakaya, Babette Mangolte, Robert Whitman, Jud Yalkut, Jonathan Demme, Laurie Anderson, John Cage, Robert Ashley and Alvin Curran.

Performance emerges through a collaborative history and is carried on through multiple avenues of exchange. In this course, archivist and curator Cori Olinghouse shares her evolving practices around the archiving and transmission of Trisha Brown’s artistic work, from two distinct vantage points. First, Olinghouse maps Brown’s interdisciplinary mind in movement, revealing the kinds of documentation that have emerged to encapsulate her elusive, improvisational approach to moving. Second, drawing upon her experiences as a former dancer for the Trisha Brown Dance Company and artist working in performance, Olinghouse guides students through a series of embodied practices exploring the body as an archive. This course re-imagines the concept of a performance archive in a space between documentation and embodiment.