Kiraṇ Kumār, Kiwi Menrath & Laurie Young
Imaginary Archives is a collection of documents that enlist imagination as an instrument to question and rearrange archival practices. In archives, documents are identified and contextualized, while at the same time it is this very process of cataloging that constitutes documents in the first place. The collaborative box-set Imaginary Archives relates to this dynamic quality in three parts: “Letters to V,” expands the processes of handling and criteria for organizing an archive to an active participating user. Understanding the multi-sensory human body as an archive in dance spectatorship and beyond can dissolve ideologically confined categories of such practices. Archives are conventionally implicated in imperialistic forms of knowledge production, perhaps most exemplified in cartography from the time of European maritime expansion. In “Phantom Islands” the erroneous remnants of such colonial documents are used as an entry point for a critical reopening of the European imaginary. By intersecting practices of writing and dancing from the Indian Ocean rim, “Postcards from the Peacock Islands” unpacks layers of stories and histories embedded within living traditions. Here, an entanglement of epic, myth, and fiction opens up the archive to varied ways of storytelling.
Interweaving the three themes of dance spectatorship, coloniality of archives, and speculative philology, each contribution of Imaginary Archives is composed of disparate materials. This content offers readers the possibility to work through these themes and materials hands-on to further investigate possibilities of the serendipitous in archival encounters. You are welcome to read “Letters to V,” “Phantom Islands,” and “Postcards from the Peacock Islands” as individual works, or to rearrange, file, order, display the pieces to uncover how these materials might collide, confuse, and cohere within the world of the imaginary archive.
KIRAN KUMAR is an artist, researcher, and writer approaching the human body-mind through a trifold practice of dance as art, science, and spi/ritual. Rooted primarily in Haṭha yoga, Kaḷaripayaṭṭ, and Indic temple dancing, his work involves critical, conceptual, and artistic inquiries into the cosmologies of these somatic practices. In his works, these inquiries come into dialogue with pressing personal and planetary problems through performance, writing, video, installation, and archiving as modes of artistic research publication.
STEFANIE KIWI MENRATH is an ethnographer and cultural/media educator. She studied cultural anthropology in Heidelberg and Cologne, and received her bi-national doctorate from Goldsmiths in London and from the University of Oldenburg. Previously, she worked in cultural and arts education for projects with a focus on transculturality and, since 2020, she has been professor of Media Education: Aesthetic Practice in Social Work at Brandenburgisch Technische Universität Cottbus-Senftenberg. Her current research focuses on critical arts education and the collaboration of artists, scientists, and pedagogues.
LAURIE YOUNG is a dance artist who focuses on the embodiment of unauthorized histories and their representation and how relationships are choreographed between human and other-than-human beings in the theater, museum, and city.
Imaginary Archives. A project by Kiraṇ Kumār, Kiwi Menrath & Laurie Young with 57 postcards, 1 map, 1 booklet, 27 index cards and 27 matching stickers, 7 letters, and 27 cue cards. Texts, art, and photography by Kiraṇ Kumār, Laurie Young, and Kiwi Menrath with Andrew Pekler; design and layout by K. Verlag with Wolfgang Hückel.
Box-set with printed matter
in various dimensions
Published in Fall 2022