Tuesday, May 28, 2013

SHIT YOU SHOULD KNOW: Hemispheric Institute Digital Video Library

I haven't been updating much on the blog because my life is full of tangible things, but I haven't been dipping into theory or postulating as much.

In the meantime, while I recharge my theoretical batteries, I'm turning over this blog to a new regular feature called shit you should know. Largely because now that I'm working with the League of Independent Theater and getting into the community, I'm realizing that people don't know a lot of things that, well, they should know. Groups that are out there, resources that are out there, etc.

Hemispheric Institute Digital Video Library (HIDVL)

  • What is it: The Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics is a research and performance institution founded by Diana Taylor as a focal point for artist-activists throughout the Americas (the Hemisphere in the name). The Digital Video Library is an initiative (one of many great initiatives they run) which archives lectures, presentations, interviews, and performance in digital mediums.
  • Why you should know about it: You should know about it from a couple perspectives:
    • Inspiration -- Seriously, you can see years of work from artists like Richard Schechner, FOMMA (Fortaleza de la Mujer Maya), or Circus Amok. Work that spans the entire gamut of performance from across many different cultures across the Hemisphere.
    • Education -- If you didn't recognize the names above, or want to learn more about other movements of resistance or activism, this is a great way to just explore. (While typing this post I stumbled across Hula as Resistance and you can bet my curiosity was piqued!)
    • Preservation -- If you know of artists whose work should be preserved, contact them (or contact me, I'd be happy to pass it along), their work can be preserved in perpetuity, in updated formats, without conceding ownership over the work. Seriously, an artist's dream.
An important aspect of performance is its ephemerality. The performance itself can only be experienced from within the performance. But to understand our own history, performance needs to in some way be preserved and passed down, to understand what happened and when it happened.