Future Memory and the Performing Arts: Ethical Documentation and Preservation of Artistic Performances

By:
Dr. Francesca Marini
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Performances are inherently dynamic and ephemeral, as rich and complex as life is. While it is impossible to capture or reconstruct performances in their entirety, a document of them may be created and preserved. Information professionals—archivists, librarians and museum curators—engaged in documenting the artists’ work and in proactively gathering and preserving traces of performances, are faced by many questions. One of them is the ethical issue of what should or should not be kept. While some artists really want their work documented for future memory and use, others value ephemerality and refuse any attempt to document. Information professionals need to openly communicate with artists and to thoroughly understand performance, through direct participation or close engagement.

This paper will address the issue of effective communication between artists and information professionals for the documentation and preservation of performances. The complexity of the documentation task has many aspects, as shown by existing literature and ongoing discussion, as well as by a study conducted by the author in 2002-2005, for which she interviewed more than forty information professionals and theatre scholars across Europe and the United States (Sources and Methodology of Theatre Research in the View of Scholars and Information Professionals).


Keywords: Performing Arts, Documentation, Preservation, Ethical Issues
Stream: Arts Agendas, Constructing Art Worlds
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
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Dr. Francesca Marini

Assistant Professor, School of Library, Archival and Information Studies (SLAIS), University of British Columbia (UBC)
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Francesca Marini is Assistant Professor of Archival Studies in the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Her main research interests focus on performing arts archives and digital preservation. She completed her Doctorate in Library and Information Science at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she was awarded a full scholarship. For her dissertation, Sources and Methodology of Theatre Research in the View of Scholars and Information Professionals, she interviewed more than forty theatre scholars and performing arts information professionals across Europe and the United States. She was formally trained as an archivist in Italy and has a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre Studies from the University of Bologna, Italy. She has worked for the two major international digital preservation projects, InterPARES and ERPANET, and has taught workshops on digital preservation. She is a member of several professional and scholarly associations.

Ref: A06P0507