Documenting DocumentingPerformance

The following was written in conjunction with Hanna James.

HJ: The music flowed like honey when Lynnsey Weissenberg started playing her fiddle. It was an instantly intelligible experience to my senses: a ‘here and now’ experience. Once it was over, it was over, and no two performances are exactly the same. The performance itself did not leave any artefacts behind, but left the audience with their own memories of the performed piece (and, in some cases, photos or videos on their iPhones). For that reason, the power of documenting performances lies not only in preserving the performance (or a shadow of it), but also the creative process and even the theatrical experience. On the first day of DocPerform2 (6 November 2017), the speakers talked about the challenges, the opportunities, the twists, the value, the functions and many more about documenting performances. In this post, my CityLIS course-mate Matt Peck and I will reflect on and recap the presentations of the day. Matt and I have different writing styles and points of view. Through juxtaposing our writings, we draw up the diverged focuses in one post and collectively constitute a multi-dimensional picture of the day.

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The death of the document creator

In INM301 this week, we talked about defining a document. This is a fundamental philosophical question when investigating the information communication chain, and it’s not a question with an easy answer. My notes include a dutiful transcription of five ‘requirements’ for a document:

  • indexicality: the ‘aboutness’ of the document
  • complementarity: generally speaking, the document’s ‘connotation’
  • fixity: the stability of the document
  • documentality: the ‘social function’ of the document
  • productivity: the ability of the document to give rise to new documents

This is a simplistic recap of the lecture content, and helpfully, the Document Academy has a longer, more authoritative explanation on its website. Reading that page, for instance, clarifies that there is a more complex framework behind the notion of complementarity than mere connotation.

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Losing the I in iTunes

When I was younger, I had a CD collection of which I was proud. We’re talking 1000+ albums. Yet after spending 15 years acquiring them, I moved across the country, to an apartment in which furniture like the sofa, the desk, the dining table only just fit. The CDs were going under the bed, and the case my dad had built was not coming with me.

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The librarianship of pictures

Having read the preparatory materials for the first day of my LIS classes, I’ve been thinking about two art exhibitions I saw recently. In particular, about the role of librarianship in their compilation. Both exhibits were about thematic connection between works, and the influences that artists have on each other. Using the language of literary theory, you might call this intertextuality, but of course these were images, not words. Regardless, the stated aim of the shows was to supply the context and background that would not be apparent in the absence of the collected materials.

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