Dancing Museums II: reflections

Dancewriter Maroula Iliopoulou follows the research process of Ingrid Berger Myhre in Museum Boijmans van Beuningen. Read her text and follow the journey!

I am at Stedelijk Museum Schiedam looking at The Optimistic Man with the sun by Karel Appel. Wait a moment. Something seems to have shifted. There are a lot of colourful notes around here. One of them draws my attention to a crack on the wall. I am curious, how long has this crack been on this wall? Did these tiny meeples (they are standing next to me right now!) come out from this tiny little crack? I wonder what they think about this work… I should probably go left. But then again, I always go anti-clockwise. Or actually, let’s go straight ahead along this 6.5 meters of black tape. What is it pointing to? It is pointing towards a direction where someone points to another direction towards someone hiding and pointing at another direction. Like a broken compass.

Imagine while wandering throughout the exhibits at Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, you find yourself immersed in an alternative journey – not unlike a treasure hunt.. That is what happened last week during Ingrid Berger Myhre’s first choreographic residency for the Dancing Museums project.

What if the entire environment of the museum could meld together with the artworks? Ingrid, along with a group of dancers, transformed the museum’s spaces and the visitors’ experience by exploring unexpected connections and creating unconventional pathways. Ingrid set out a series of experiments to discover potential means to enhance the visitor’s agency. Viewers had the chance to witness and orient themselves through parts of this research process. In between walking through the artworks, they encountered playful material, such as little treasures, threads and meeples as well as embodied experiments of the dancers. For instance, in the ‘’Modest Fashion’’ exhibition section, we watched the dancers forming shapes which were constantly changing in relation to one another, the mannequins displayed in that room, the artworks and the visitors. As visitors, we were reminded of the invisible threads that constitute the architecture of that room. We not only watched but also became aware through our own bodies of those threads which were continuously being moved. It is the three-dimensionality of our bodies which eventually invited these propositions to be applied also in our aftermath journey throughout the museum spaces.

Ingrid contemplates on what we seem to prioritize seeing and what we tend to ignore into a museum space. Her questions manifested physically by crafting poetic, subtle and sometimes more apparent appraisals to direct the visitor’s attention. These explorations invited viewers to challenge the default perspectives, emphasised by the spatial organisation in a museum and stimulated a diverse timescape of their itineraries.

Text: Maroula Iliopoulou
Images: Paul Sixta