Dancing Museums II: Kunsthal Rotterdam

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

Since Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is currently undertaking a renovation, their collection has been dispersed across neighbouring institutions, under the title ‘Boijmans Next Door’. That being said, Dancing Museums collaborative European Project has been on the move as well.

During the local residencies for the Dancing Museums Project, I followed the appointed choreographer, Ingrid Berger Myhre, at three different institutions in Rotterdam: the Maritime Museum, the Museum Rotterdam and the Kunsthal. Curious about how a choreographic residency especially within a museum environment can unfold? Navigate yourself through the local choreographic residencies of the Dancing Museums Project to follow the journey.

Kunsthal: The maze – crafting the events  

For the fourth week of the local residencies of Dancing Museums project I followed Ingrid Berger Myhre at the Kunsthal in Rotterdam.

From the outset of her research, Ingrid has been interested to explore unconventional ways and routes which invite the visitor to notice different things than they would normally see. A playful alibi for this journey has been the idea of a treasure hunt. Tracing back the residencies, from Stedelijk Museum Schiedam to Maritiem Museum to Museum Rotterdam, it is only now at Kunsthal when we become aware that the actual journey from residency to residency starts to resemble that treasure hunt on a larger scale. That being said, each residency has been constantly offering new tools and perspectives to look further at. This week, Ingrid is mainly dedicated on harvesting the treasures discovered on each of the previous residencies. She examines and evaluates things that can possibly work together and starts crafting some journeys to experiment on.

The choreographic research at Kunsthal took place within the space of the exhibition titled ‘Masterly!’, which presents a grand retrospective of four centuries of paintings and drawings from the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen collection. The space which accommodates this exhibition has been designed in the form of a maze. There are many different pathways a visitor can choose to walk through the exhibition. This potential provides ownership for the visitor who may enjoy crafting their own experience as they wander around, since there is no suggested or predetermined pathway to follow in order to see the artworks.

This observation becomes relevant to the nature of invitations for a visitor to be guided which are central in Ingrid’s practice. One of her questions in the series of events she has been crafting has to do with defining the viewer’s role. To explain more, this refers to the visitor’s involvement or witness moments, but also an interest to work within a scale of distance/proximity. Challenging the dimensions of the space among the artworks, the viewer, and an event which can take place on the surface of the obvious, in distance or coincidental.

The labyrinthine design of the space this week inspired us to explore the spatial orientation.  For one of the experiments, Ingrid utilizes a thread which is attached to two or more dancers who are constantly moving, using different lengths of the thread and creating volumes in relation to the space. Viewers seem to appreciate this intervention which eventually manifests an alternative and three dimensional experience of their itinerary throughout the exhibition. Since the maze-structure has already invited the visitor to inhabit the space on their own sense, the particular event they encounter resonates visually and physically within their bodies. Therefore, the fact that there is an opportunity for the viewer to relate kinaesthetically is what may heighten their experience.

Image: Paul Sixta