... and it's gone

... and it's gone is an installation by Carina Reich & Bogdan Szyber, which opens simultaneously with the Swedish Museum of Performing Arts on 11th February. As the name suggests, the exhibition interprets the impossibility of entirely preserving, and thus exhibiting, the performing arts. For after all, it is only the memory of the experience remains.

"[a live performance is] an event for that moment in time, for that {audience} in that place – and it's gone.
Gone without a trace. There was no journalist; there was no photographer; the only witnesses were the people present; the only record is what they retained, which is how it should be in theatre."
Peter Brook, from New Theatre Quarterly, XI, No.42 (1995)

The Archive of Disappeared Moments
One of the performing arts innovators, Eugenio Barba, referred to the theatre as the art of the moment, and artists working in this artform as sculptures in the impermanent.
The quest to preserve this fleeting moment, where art itself is embodied in the very instant when the work is performed before an audience, becomes an impossibility - a paradox. The many elements that embody a scenic artwork, for example, sketches, scripts, sheet music, costumes or masks can, of course, all be preserved for the future. However, it is when these various components of a theatrical work blend in performance that the theatrical artform arises and emerges. All that ultimately remains of this totality, when physical presence affects and touches the senses, are only memories of experiences, which can only live on through stories from colleagues and audiences.

“Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Ye all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.”
Prospero's soliloquy in William Shakespeare's The Tempest, Act IV, scene 1