Principal investigator Donatella Barbieri developed ‘Encounters in the Archive’ to establish a methodology of research centred on an archive of performance and in particular on the collected and conserved object / costumes. The care accorded to these fragments of past performances by the archive and the conservation department at the Museum is at odds with the lack of academic discourse on the subject. The purpose of this project is to bring these two disciplines together.

This interdisciplinary investigation evolves out of the artist / researcher’s interaction with the object and the ways in which this interaction highlights, questions and re-defines the object. The connections made by the participants in the encounter with each object and the archive offer new perspectives for further research in broader concerns, relating to embodiment, dress and performance.
Publications in which this project is presented:

Encounters in the Archive, Reflections on Costume’ V&A Online Journal, Issue No. 4 Summer 2012

‘Gormley to Gaga: Transformation & Revelation – Design for Performance’ is a V&A publication edited by Transformation & Revelation Curator Kate Bailey and Greer Crawley (SBTD) featuring work by the designers included in the V&A display.

‘Transformation & Revelation: UK Design for Performance 2007-2011’ is a publication by the Society of British Theatre Designers (edited by Greer Crawley, Sophie Jump and Transformation & Revelation Curator Peter Farley). It features all 200 designers who exhibited at the National open competition.

Drawing the Body’, group show, which included a series of drawings titled ‘Some are friends, others merely acquaintances’, which used the footage from the film as the starting point for drawings that expressed the notion of embodiment and dress.
Encounters in the Archive has been screened and exhibited nationally and internationally:

Encounters in the Archive will be at Summer Hall, Edinburgh, from 7 December 2012 to 27 February 2013 as part of the touring V&A exhibition.

Victoria and Albert Museum, Tapestry Court, from 17 March 2012 to 30 September 2012 as part of Transformation and Revelation: From Gormley to Gaga, UK Design for Performance 2007-2011

Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space, screening and presentation to the OISTAT History and Theory Commission, June 2011

Society of British Theatre Designers’ National Exhibition, UK Design for Performance – Cardiff, RWCMD, curated by Peter Farley, 16 March 2011 to 17th April 2011

Special screening, supported by the British Council, at the launch of the ‘Behind the Scenes’ exhibition of costume designs in Tel Aviv curated by Tali Itzhaki,  9 January 2011

Electronic Visualisation and the Arts Conference,London, July 2011.
Performance inspired by the interaction with the archive:

‘Old into New’ in collaboration with Claire Christie and Mary Kate Connolly, performed at the UK Day at Prague Quadrennial 2011 and as part of the Extreme Costumes presentations, also at the Prague Quadrennial 2011.
Future of the project:

masterclasses (to be published)
Photograph by Donatella Barbieri. Object copyright for Buffoon’s wife jacket, from Chout (1921), by Mikhail Larionov © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2012

Re-Encounters, a book displaying the participants work, produced by Book Works, London, to be exhibited at the V&A with the film.