What kind of conventions define the way one moves through a museum? And how do these conventions influence what we see or don’t see? For the research project Dancing Museums – The Democracy of Beings, choreographer Ingrid Berger Myhre associated with Dansateliers researches amongst others these questions the coming two years. In this interview she shares a bit more about her ideas.
Why did you want to participate in Dancing Museums- The Democracy of Beings?
‘So far, my work has been mainly inside of the theatre. I haven’t done much site specific or interdisciplinary work. I think working in this new context will do much good for my thinking, I’m excited about how it will expand the possibilities of what I do. My work is always about how we look at something. This is a core that is applicable in the museum space as much as in the theatre.’
What are your ideas for the project?
‘I have many ideas – and many questions. I would like to start with looking at the architecture of the building of the museum. How does it suggest the ways we move through a museum as a visitor? Which directions and trajectories does it imply? I want to start mapping out these currents. These parcours are often determined by their highlights, as they run from one exposition space to another. Depending on the collection, these routes might be designed according to theme, chronology or other curatorial factors. These are invisible structures that determine the flow of people in the building, and directs our attention around certain highlights.’
‘I would like to try to make alternative routes with alternative highlights. I guess you could compare it to a treasure hunt, in which what we see as treasures would have to be reconsidered. I’d love to find other ways to circulate than the classic dot-to-dot game; hopping from one masterpiece to the other. What do we consider important in a museum? What passes us by? How can what is on display tell us something about what is not on display?’
At the moment the building of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is closed. What does this mean for the way you‘re working?
‘I like the fact that there’s no building, because just like me, the museum is also moving. They are literally moving house, which means they are also in transition as an institution. Formally, I will be in residence at the Boijmans. But I will be hosted by other venues and museums in town, that are lending me space. One week I will be at Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, the other week I could be somewhere else, like for example Museum Rotterdam or The Maritime Museum.’
‘These practical circumstances force me to look less at the actual collections and artworks, and more at the structures and conventions in these places, and what choreography could do for that. I will have to relate more to the actual rooms and the people in them.’
What is the connection between dance and museums?
‘First of all, there is already a lot of movement in the museum. As a choreographer, I don’t think my job is to come with additional content by simply placing some dance in the building. But I would like to use choreographic thinking as a tool to offer a different lens to look at what’s already there through. I would like to stimulate the public’s curiosity to look at things a little bit different for a while. My contribution as a choreographer could be to facilitate an experience that is a little bit less analytical and a little bit more sensorial.’
How can visitors experience your work?
‘This fall I will be doing three residencies of one week in three different museums. We will be working daytime in the museums alongside the visitors, available for conversations, questions and experiments. To begin with, us working in this public space will be enough of an encounter. Later on, there surely will be public moments, whether announced or not announced. Exactly how this takes shape, we will still have to invent.’