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Camillo '93: Rieks Swarte's memory theatre

Laura Karreman (UGent)
(2012) PERFORMANCE RESEARCH. 17(3). p.39-44
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Abstract
The Theatre of Memory or the Mystery of the Lost Secret was a performance created by Dutch theatre maker Rieks Swarte in 1993. With a title reminiscent of a boys’ novel, the title of the performance matches the sense of adventure with which the then young and upcoming all-male team engaged in this ambitious project. The team did extensive research into the history of the Ars Memoria, made their own reconstruction of Camillo's memory theatre, trained themselves in mnemonic techniques and even used part of their project funding to take a trip to Venice where they studied Camillo's treatise L'Idea del Teatro (1550) in appropriate surroundings. The Theatre of Memory (1993) is best understood as an example of what Swarte calls his ‘lecture performances’. Uniting all these performances is Swarte's playful way of relating the display of objects and images to the narration of scientific history. Both in science and in art, Swarte recognizes the urge to put things in to an order. As he has said, ‘Every art form is always also concerned with the arrangement of data.’ Swarte's interest in Giulio Camillo's theatre of memory is therefore hardly a surprise. Looking back at this performance after almost two decades, the imaginative experiment of the reconstruction of Camillo's memory theatre maintains its appeal. Although communication of Camillo's ideas to a contemporary audience was problematic, a closer look at Swarte's performance provides a surprising perspective on the meaning of Camillo on the brink of the computer era.
Keywords
memory theatre, Giulio Camillo, ars memoria, Rieks Swarte

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Chicago
Karreman, Laura. 2012. “Camillo ‘93: Rieks Swarte’s Memory Theatre.” Ed. Maaike Bleeker and Ric Allsopp. Performance Research 17 (3): 39–44.
APA
Karreman, L. (2012). Camillo “93: Rieks Swarte”s memory theatre. (M. Bleeker & R. Allsopp, Eds.)PERFORMANCE RESEARCH, 17(3), 39–44.
Vancouver
1.
Karreman L. Camillo “93: Rieks Swarte”s memory theatre. Bleeker M, Allsopp R, editors. PERFORMANCE RESEARCH. 2012;17(3):39–44.
MLA
Karreman, Laura. “Camillo ‘93: Rieks Swarte’s Memory Theatre.” Ed. Maaike Bleeker & Ric Allsopp. PERFORMANCE RESEARCH 17.3 (2012): 39–44. Print.
@article{3022174,
  abstract     = {The Theatre of Memory or the Mystery of the Lost Secret was a performance created by Dutch theatre maker Rieks Swarte in 1993. With a title reminiscent of a boys{\textquoteright} novel, the title of the performance matches the sense of adventure with which the then young and upcoming all-male team engaged in this ambitious project. The team did extensive research into the history of the Ars Memoria, made their own reconstruction of Camillo's memory theatre, trained themselves in mnemonic techniques and even used part of their project funding to take a trip to Venice where they studied Camillo's treatise L'Idea del Teatro (1550) in appropriate surroundings. The Theatre of Memory (1993) is best understood as an example of what Swarte calls his {\textquoteleft}lecture performances{\textquoteright}. Uniting all these performances is Swarte's playful way of relating the display of objects and images to the narration of scientific history. Both in science and in art, Swarte recognizes the urge to put things in to an order. As he has said, {\textquoteleft}Every art form is always also concerned with the arrangement of data.{\textquoteright} Swarte's interest in Giulio Camillo's theatre of memory is therefore hardly a surprise. Looking back at this performance after almost two decades, the imaginative experiment of the reconstruction of Camillo's memory theatre maintains its appeal. Although communication of Camillo's ideas to a contemporary audience was problematic, a closer look at Swarte's performance provides a surprising perspective on the meaning of Camillo on the brink of the computer era.},
  author       = {Karreman, Laura},
  editor       = {Bleeker, Maaike and Allsopp, Ric},
  issn         = {1352-8165},
  journal      = {PERFORMANCE RESEARCH},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {39--44},
  title        = {Camillo '93: Rieks Swarte's memory theatre},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13528165.2012.696858},
  volume       = {17},
  year         = {2012},
}

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