On the Road with mnemonic nonstop
Martin Nachbar and Jochen Roller are performing ‘On the Road with mnemonic nonstop’ in front of an academic audience. Yet are the two presenters, introduced as dancers and choreographers, actually presenting themselves as artists? Their set-up is deceptively similar to the one found in countless lecture theatres: a space with a lectern (a little too small to be called a proper stage), microphones, an overhead projector, a white screen behind them. Ordinary clothes. No make-up, no curtain. Yet their posture, tone of voice, manner of movement, and the ways in which they illustrate their discourse with minimal technical equipment testify to the fact that this lecture is conscious of its visual and physical staging. The power of performativity which is at work here makes the audience aware of the techniques for creating evidence that inform the delivery of any academic paper. Even a detail as small as the reassuring warmth of the firm yet soothing voices of Martin Nachbar and Jochen Roller adds to the winning effect of a presentation that confronts the audience with an unsettlingly unusual format acted out within a wellknown setting.
KeywordsUrban Space Overhead Projector Slight Adjustment Lecture Demonstration Winning Effect
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- 2.See Y. Hardt and K. Maar (2007), ‘Bewegte Räume: Zur Verortung des Tanzes im Spannungsfeld von Metropole und Provinz’, Tanz, Metropole, Provinz, Jahrbuch Tanzforschung, 17, 1–15.Google Scholar
- 7.G. Brandstetter (2002), ‘Figur und Inversion: Kartographie als Dispositiv von Bewegung’, in G. Brandstetter and S. Peters, eds, de figura: Rhetorik — Bewegung — Gestalt (Munich: Fink), pp. 247–64, p. 257.Google Scholar
- 12.Apart from Guy Debord’s theory of the dérive, references to Michel de Certeau’s analysis of actions in everyday life such as erratic walking have often been employed in order to gauge the political impact of these kinds of practices. While Martin Nachbar and Jochen Roller do comment on this background, choreographic and thus aesthetic transformation arguably supersedes the experiential and political levels of their approach. See M. de Certeau (2002), The Practice of Everyday Life, trans. S. Rendall (Berkeley: University of California Press); see also Brandstetter, ‘Figur und Inversion’, pp. 255–6.Google Scholar
- 13.Compare Kirsten Maar, who inadvertently articulates a fitting commentary on mnemonic nonstop without mentioning the piece: ‘The […] tactics of the Situationists can serve as a point of reference for urban appropriation [Stadtaneignung] and planning, precisely because they take the regional and the existing as the point of departure for their dérives and develop out of these specific events small choreographies of the everyday with significant breaks, which can then spin themselves out like self-organised, flexible systems. Cartography is understood as a process in the reciprocal exchange with the urban context. Movement is thus registered without being bound by inscription’. K. Maar (2007), ‘Stadtaneignung als choreo-kartographisches Spiel’, Tanz, Metropole, Provinz, Jahrbuch Tanzforschung 17, 181–91, pp. 188–9, trans. L. Ruprecht.Google Scholar
- 14.M. Nachbar, ‘How to Become a Trespasser or how to Produce a Crack in the Map: The Dérive and Choreography as Critical Urban Practices’, http://www. sarma.be/text.asp?id=1279, with slight adjustments by L. Ruprecht (date accessed 16 June 2008). First published in Dutch: M. Nachbar (2005), ‘Hoe word ik een indringer, of: Hoe maak ik een scheur in de kaart’, Etcetera, 99, 35–6.Google Scholar