Performance Lecture: DE-CODE:/MNEMONIC IN MOTION

Day: Thursday 10th September
Time: 20.30

Research Project: Choreographing-Live-Archives:

Dance, Ancestry & Storytelling as Creative Emergent Modes of Practice

Vicky Spanovangelis

A performance, dance and ancestry project fusing creative modes of performance practice with ethnographic and historical research.  DE-CODE:/MNEMONIC IN MOTION, is an experimental documentary film presented as a performance-practice lecture, exploring the researcher’s auto-biographical journey of tracing their family roots.  As part of the Choreographing-Live-Archives research project, and as a creative artist from the diaspora, the work combines Traditional Greek folk dance with creative movement, blurring the relations between the ethnographer-researcher, contemporary performer and folk-dancer.    In a meta-critique of the authors personal narrative, the research frames the journey of the historical investigation in a magic-realism documentary, which performs an auto-ethnography as a live-archive of the subject’s ancestry.  In this presentation, the ethnographer is a performer/archaeologist, a technological flâneur time-traveller piecing together fragments of historical evidence, folklore, myth, and songs, which constitute the subject’s discovery of their cultural identity; explored through a dialogue between the historical archive, field data, and the impulse of creative movement practice.  This approach traverses the layers of ethnographic research, historical archiving and the situatedness of the body in performance conditions of theatre and screen media.  DE-CODE:/MNEMONIC MOTION presents a creative auto-ethnography, an emergent practice contingent upon the subject’s, kinaesthetic experience, diaspora identity, social and professional training. The work poses questions around performer identity as fluid, multiple and transformational, where in the seeking of the past, the subject’s lived experience is a constant transformation of a future-self.

In response to the conference theme of the ‘actor-dancer’ this work explores techniques of movement and storytelling as in-situ moments of practice connected to self-hood and identity.

Duration: 45 mins


Vicky Spanovangelis is a London-Athens based choreographer, dancer and architect, (Bartlett UCL, Royal College of Art, MA Dance, Trinity Laban London). Vicky has exhibited internationally, she has directed design projects, artistic research collaborations and performances in the UK and abroad, (Greece, France, Germany, USA). Her doctoral research focuses on choreography & architecture as creative practice. She teaches and lectures in higher education on multi-media performance, dance on screen and site-specific environments, (previous teaching includes Trinity Laban London, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London).  In 2003, Vicky founded and is artistic director of Nomads & Urban Dwellers, a company working at the intersection of body, film, movement and space, with special interest in museum event architectures.  Recent works include ‘LOVE LETTERS TO (Le Magasin], (2017), premiere in Grenoble, France, a participatory sensory choreography and film, to be performed in Athens 2021; research presentation titled ‘IMMINENT/ImMATERIALITIES, CISPA Denmark (2019), choreography & architecture practices related to the kinaesthetic experience of space, the flesh-body and living architecture; a participant in PQ Talks, Prague Quadrennial (2019) featuring ‘Fluid Temporalities’, show-casing ‘PERFORMANCE ARCHAEOLOGIES: THE TRACING HOUSE, a site-specific performance of devised theatre and dance, exploring sensory movement, mark-making, and drawing practices, part of ‘Out-Topias: Performance in Outdoor & Public Space’, Benaki Museum, Athens (2016); ‘DE-CODE: MNEMONIC IN MOTION, a Dance & Ancestry project, (International Premiere), the Berthelot Municipal Theatre, Paris (2019) also performed at the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation, Athens (2019).  In a new development ‘De-Code: MNEMONIC IN MOTION – RELOADED’ will feature in a double bill premiering the new work: ‘POLYPHONIC ANGELS: Mountains and Myths’ (2020), a counterpart ensemble performance with actors, dancers and vocal artists.  The new work forms part of the CHOREORGAPHING-LIVE-ARCHIVES project, and is an ongoing work in progress of the ‘MUSUEM OF LIVING ANCESTRY’, conceived as a platform for bio-digital and bio-choreographic works to explore the historical and contemporary identity of modern Greek culture.

Image: ‘De-Code:/Mnemonic in Motion’, Concept & Performer Vicky Spanovangelis, a ‘Nomads & Urban Dwellers’ production, performed at the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation, Athens, 22nd & 24th July 2019.  Photograph: Pavlos Mavridis.