Memory Lab is a participatory performance in the dark
In this work, Rani Nair explores how memories can live on and be embodied with the help of the audience. Building on previous works in which memories and archives have been a recurring theme, Nair creates a laboratory where audiences, both professionals, amateurs as well as “ordinary” citizens are invited to partake for their personal memories to become the focal point on stage. Participatory choreographies that shift our conceptions of canon and traditions, while at the same time, through the physical and immediate participation of the body, we experience a unique closeness to memories – both our own and others.
Memories and archives have been a recurring theme for several years, both in Rani Nair’s own works and through projects she has been invited to. Firstly in 2003 by the inheritance of the solo Dixit’s dominus by Kurt Jooss and Lilavati, which she initially put up as a reconstruction, but later also as a “second order performance”, a performance about a performance in ‘Future Memory’, where Rani examined what it means to inherit a dance.
‘Future Memory’ was selected for the Performing Arts Biennale in 2013 and later reworked through a residence of The House of Dance and at the Cullberg Ballet, and then appeared in Delhi on Ignite! festival of contemporary dance, in Singapore at the Singapore International Festival of Arts and in Vienna on Impulstanz in 2015.
Through these works, Rani Nair was invited to a larger archive project commissioned by Ong Keng Sen, Singapore, where Japanese dance artists archived their works who were then “replied to” by artists from the Indian dance scene.
Based on these works, Rani has developed different methods of working with memories.