Calum Eccleston

Performing the Unseen. A practice-led exploration of intangible cultural memory through engagement with the Alastair MacLennan Performance Art Archive

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The challenge of working with the ephemeral heritage of performance art is an area of focus for archivists and curators but is less addressed by performance artists. 

When addressing the intangible gaps of cultural memory, how can performance art practice reveal unseen absences in archives which otherwise evade traditional preservation strategies? In response to this, the research involves practice-based material engagement with performance art archival collections to scope, map, and contribute toward the growing field of audience engagement with archival histories through live performance, developing and testing a range of artistic research methods framing the archive as a site of allusive encounter. 

I consider how such an approach would bring new insight into the Alastair MacLennan Archive at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (DJCAD), University of Dundee, to explore performance as ‘embodied recollection’ and its capacity to materialise ‘the unseen’ in the archive; what’s lost between a historical event and the archival residue.  

Names of Supervisors: Judit Bodor (University of Dundee), Maria Fusco (University of Dundee), Roddy Hunter (Glasgow School of Art)