Thinking and Talking about Arts and Culture in Southeast Asia
Talking Circles Chloe Chotrani

The importance of documenting & archiving the performing arts (via ASEF Culture360)

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Chloe Chotrani is a movement artist and writer based in Singapore. She has set up the performing arts archive, Talking Circles, a digital archive of performing artists from South, Southeast Asia and its Diaspora. A continuous work in progress, the archive stands as a blog – Talking Circles; where you can find informal interviews of performing artists where we talk about social, political, artistic and economic values in their practice. Talking Circles was created from an affinity with Southeast Asia. Beyond the digital, Talking Circles works on the field – sourcing writers from fringe areas of Southeast Asia such as West Sumatra, Mindanao and East Timor for potential guest contributors for a wider spectrum of inclusivity.

Chloe explains why it is so important to document the performing arts which are by nature ephemeral and therefore difficult to capture and archive.

Why is it important to document and archive the performing arts?

The body continuously explores time and space. It holds our history, if we listen closely. As a movement practitioner, I have spent my life listening to my body speak. My gut tells me what feels right. However, most people don’t listen to the body in this deep sense because we are too busy and “cannot afford” to. In this landscape of crisis in the environment, violence towards women and deep systemic problems, we have to confront issues on an internal level, too. Meaning to say – the body is an archive we have access to. It holds our narratives, cultural conditions, environment, ancestry, heritage, perspectives, trauma and healing.

For there to be continuity and a sense of history for us to move forward, performance has to exist beyond the borders of the stage, to be able to reach people outside audiences in the black box, outside the echo-chamber. While, the visual arts are able to develop a thorough discourse due to their historical archives, dance is true to its transformational nature, constantly dealing with movement and change.

 

Read ASEF Culture360’s complete interview with Chloe Chotrani here

ArtsEquator Radar features articles and posts drawn from local and regional websites and publications – aggregated content from outside sources, so we are exposed to a multitude of voices in the region.

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