Jaffa‘s Over Memory/Archives & Invisible Performance | Blurrr, The 4th Biennial for Performance Art, Jaffa, November, 2004 | Curator: Sergio Edelstein
Documentation as a “flea.” Memory as an item. Memory creation as a purpose in itself – dialogue with the overflow of documentation (in art, tourism, family events). Documentation instead of performance. Archive as a quotation of a city. The artistic act (city documentation) is completed before the action (the biennial) begins, and only its memory (catalog-diary) and the spectator’s action remain: watching the action memory as reconstruction of the city and the artistic action. Documentation of seemingly irrelevant aspects of history and constructing place memory, in an attempt to create poetics of the city’s Over Memory*.
* The concept Over Memory, coined by the Portuguese scholar Joao Delgado, refers to areas in individual and collective memory that are conceived as meaningless and purposeless even though they are central to pertinent mapping. See: Maure, A., “Paradigma de la memoria y sobrememoria – Bocetos para una arqueologia del olvido”, Ruptura Nro. 123, 1993, pp. 23-28
Archives at the Bienniale of Performance Art
The Over Memory Archive of Jaffa is the outcome of our (namely: external artists) efforts to document and catalog the city. We set to catalog the irrelevant, “marginal,” as it were, aspects of the city (cross-documentation), in an attempt to construct other, different, poetic representation and memory, believing that what we conceive as irrelevant might unveil an additional facet of the city and thus complement the relevant which is always relative.
In the context of the biennial, we wanted to create an action that would not take place in front of an art audience (the biennial spectators), but rather chose to act vis-a-vis the city inhabitants. The artistic act was an ambivalent act of encounter and estrangement: day in, day out, for about a week, city inhabitants were exposed to the documentation of, inter alia, locks, vegetation, sky, zebra crossings, cars passing by, walking rhythm, urban air-conditioning sounds, street names, graffitis.
In place of the action, we chose to present the documentation to the biennial audience, believing that sometimes the documentation – the material on-, the discourse about- – is more meaningful than the actual artistic act. And since we had decided at the beginning of our field-work not to document the “artistic act” itself, we brought with us a catalog (along with documentation items) qua action memories, travel journal (including times, dates, locations and descriptions), activity log, that allowed us to reconstruct the artistic act by tracing our movement in the city and simultaneously revisit the city and our encounters with it as we were watching over memory items.
How to Use the Archive
The archival material is cataloged thematically (Category), chronologically (Date), temporally (Time), geographically (Address), and descriptively (Description), as well as providing the original location of the item (Master) and its place in the catalog (Shelf). In addition, each item has a catalogic entry that includes information about the respective media: P – stills, V – video clips, S – soundtracks.
One can search and arrange the items according to the divisions in the librarians’ catalog, or look for them in the printed edition according to date and category.
In addition, there are maps that map the documentation activity according to date and theme, see: Atlas.
(It is worth mentioning that the catalogic items were not edited or elaborated in any way.)
Jaffa – Over Memory: Project Schedule
a. November 5-14, 2003
Documentation in stills, video and sound of seemingly irrelevant aspects of Jaffa.
b. November 15-19, 2003
Classification and cataloging the material within a catalog that refers readers chronologically and thematically to the documentation, and provides them with information about the media.
Inviting the general public to use the archive during the festival. The exercise’s aim: writing and creating material for electronic book: Over Memory ñ I – Outlines for an Over Historiography of Jaffa.
c. November 20-22, 2003
Founding Jaffa’s Over Memory Archive. The archive was open to the general public, researchers, artists, intellectuals, tourists and inquisitive people.
Closing the archive – locking the archival material with an index. The archive would be destroyed along with the publication of the electronic book (stage d).
d. November 23 to December 31, 2003
Preparing the electronic book.
e. January 1, 2004 (tentative date), without time limit
Publication of Over Memory ñ I – Outlines for an Over Historiography of Jaffa (various authors), and its dissemination in libraries throughoutIsrael, and in research institutions dedicated to the study of Jaffa.