Bodies of Knowledge
BIO 26, Installation at +MSUM, Biennale of Ljubljana, November 2019
Curator: Thomas Geisler, Aline Lara Rezende . In collaboration with: Paolo Patelli, Giulia Cordin, Grow Your Own Cloud, Juliana Lewis
Bodies of Knowledge is a “playable archive” installation, created in collaboration with the Temporary Slovenian Dance Archive, Rok Vevar at the Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, +MSUM, that allows visitors to access and contribute to archive content through their gestures. The installation shifts the archive from a site of knowledge retrieval, to one of knowledge production, disassembling and mobilising its documents, technologies and institutional framings into new compositions. In the spirit of contemporary dance, Bodies of Knowledge breaks the internal logic of the archive by releasing the emancipatory power of movement. Historiographic structures dissolve, allowing for the emergence of alternative wisdoms. Bodies of Knowledge integrates physical and digital space seamlessly, including the visitor, their body and movements into the architecture of the archive, conceptually and spatially. Its intention is to open up digital data, not only as research information, but as a physical experience, to stimulate the use and understanding of the archive and collection by the public.
The archive content accessed within the space blends existing archive footage of local choreographers from the Temporary Slovenian Dance Archive, Rok Vevar, with user generated footage that is recorded as they move through the space. Appropriating technologies of Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition from existing digital surveillance tools, the installation captures images of the visitors’ bodies, analysing, categorising and dissecting them, to be included in the spatial displays. In addition, live captured body parts bring fragments from the archive back into the space. The recognition of a visitor’s hand activates an isolated selection of archived materials in which other hands appear; a downward movement from the visitor brings falls into the space. Gestures of visitors accessing content are recorded, classified, and then fed into the overall system, adding the footage to the existing dance archive.