Digital technologies have transformed archives in every area of their form and function, and as technologies mature so does their capacity to change our understanding and experience of material and performative cultural production. There has been an exponential explosion in the production and consumption of video online and yet there is a scarcity of knowledge and cases about video and the digital archive. This book seeks to address that through the lens of the project Circus Oz Living Archive. This project provides the case study foundation for the articulation of the issues, challenges and possibilities that the design and development of digital archives afford. Drawn from eight different disciplines and professions, the authors explore what it means to embrace the possibilities of digital technologies to transform contemporary cultural institutions and their archives into new methods of performance, representation and history.
David Carlin and Laurene Vaughan are both Associate Professors in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University, Australia.
'The Circus Oz Living Archive project that forms the basis of this book is particularly novel. Not only does it apply a museum-like approach to recordings of performances, it does so in a way that is purposefully useful to, and accepted by, the performers themselves. This book provides a unique insight into the transformations of the performing arts, media and cultural heritage sectors taking place in early 21st century.' Seb Chan, Director of Digital & Emerging Media at the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York, USA (from the Foreword) ’With a central focus on the Melbourne-based Circus Oz Living Archive, Performing Digital: Multiple Perspectives on a Living Archive proposes an alternative to the notion that an archive is a simple repository of the past. Open to the question of how an archive might alter a living practice, Performing Digital explores how the idea of liveness can be embedded in and extracted from the archive, how an archive can be a performative cartography, and how this dynamic mapping might alter the temporality of the event, the emphasis as much on programming issues as on theoretical questions. How, it asks, can archives be truly moving?’ Erin Manning, Concordia University, Canada ’This book with its focus on the living archive of Circus Oz, designed as a digital collage of tricks and tales, insightfully advances our thinking about the user-oriented archive, or an artist-oriented archive. Its writers conceive of a flat ontology whereby artefacts and memories in multiple combinations may re-animate the frisson of the live event, and yet devolve their power to a future form of knowledge. It is a study of bold creative research shared with its artistic community.’ Rachel Fensham, University of Melbourne, Australia