Rosemary Butcher

The Document Series

The Document Series, a new online project from Rosemary Butcher, is a platform for exploring connections between the emerging new work cycle (entitled Memory in the Present Tense – Rosemary Butcher 1976 to the present day) and her expansive history of choreographic projects.

Memory in the Present Tense is a project encompassing a series of works, which are multi-faceted in their outcome, drawing on a range of media including live performance, archive film, new film, photography and writing.

Finding of a new language

Fundamental to the Doing
What is Happening – what am I doing

Doing & associating

Memory can engage differently
with the Body

Balancing between Memory & Place
In the Body

How much more are you remembering
that involves the present


Finding of a new language

that codifies the experience

Deciphering & Reading through the premise


How long can I sustain an IDENTITY

CHOICE within own terms

TESTING the Moments


Coming back into PLACE of ORIGIN

Acknowledge SOURCE – affected by

Performance 30/08/2014

Judith Hummel and Sabine Glenz

Katrin Schafitel

Foley Resonance

Initially I approached this composition with the following thoughts. How could I define the silence of the space? What effect did the sound of the dancers have within the architectural space? and how might this sound be absorbed over time?

I had an idea to modify a technique invented by Alvin Lucier called “I Am Sitting In A Room” (1969) where the artist transforms the sound of his voice within a room. Instead of a voice I recreated Lucier’s process by recording the dancers. Their psychical movements, their feet, breath and the sound of the ropes. When the gallery was empty this recording was played back and amplified into the space. The space resonating with the sound artefacts left behind by the dancers. With each subsequent recording the original sound became less audible, its frequencies emphasising the resonance of the room itself. This natural resonance became more defined, more apparent as the non-resonant sounds were filtered out. A process of abstraction whereby the inherent sound of the empty space was slowly revealing itself.

In an objective sense what revealed itself was the room Mode. ‘A room Mode’ is a collection of resonances that exist in a room when the space is excited by an acoustic sound. To the ear these appear as modulating sine waves, like an endless whistling. As if the roof had been removed and a giant finger was circling the top of the building, rather like a finger on a wine glass. What remained was the silent resonance of the space. The Acoustic remnants of the dancers movements endlessly hovering in space.

Words / Simon Keep

Performance 29/08/2014

Katrin Schafitel

Lenbachhaus interview

An interview with Rosemary Butcher is on the Lenbachhaus blog (text in German, translation to come).

Read it here.

Discussion 29/08/2014

(L – R) Sabine Glenz, Judith Hummel, Katrin Schafitel, Mey Sefan and Rosemary Butcher

Rehearsal 29/08/2014

Katrin Schafitel and Sabine Glenz

Katrin Schafitel and Judith Hummel

Sabine Glenz

Judith Hummel

Judith Hummel and Katrin Schafitel

Joint Adventures

Performance 28/08/2014

First public performance on 28/08/2014



Discussion after first rehearsal in the gallery space

Test Pieces

Rehearsal begins at the Kunstbau Stadtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus (Munich) for Joint Adventures commission “Test Pieces” showing from August 28 – 30 2014.

Performers are Sabine Glenz, Judith Hummel, Katrin Schafitel and Mey Sefan.


“Here the ruin is not the end of an artefact but rather the beginning of an investigation. From the forensic analysis of the physicality of fragments-revealing the relations that go into he making and unmaking of objects and commodities-to the virtual debris of philosophy, it is in the ruined form that a thing reveals its fossilised forces; and from this scattered mess we can start to assemble the connections of a new reality.”

Eyal Weizman – Architect; Director of the Centre of Research Architecture Goldsmiths, University of London.

The Manhattan Transcripts

“Architecture is not simply about space and form, but also about event, action, and what happens in space.”

– Bernard Tschumi, ‘The Manhattan Transcripts’ (1976-1981)

München Olympiastadion station

In 1972 this abandoned S-Bahn station delivered thousands of visitors to Munich’s Olympic Games. The arrival station on a disused rail spur – location is at the far end of Werner-Seelendbinder-Weg alongside Landshuter Allee.

Rehearsal Notes – 15/012014

Preparation for filming the following day –

Architect Bernard Tschumi’s scores as found in his Manhattan Transcripts to be worked on.

Process of capturing a sequence of movement but focusing on dividing it, so that any of it can be taken forward or backwards.

Breaking down the notation in the film.

“The actual structure is the material” (Rosemary Butcher)

Secrets of the Open Sea (behind the scenes)

Shooting “Secrets of the Open Sea”

Photographer Claudia Burlotti captures the filming of the first part of “Secrets of the Open Sea” with dancer Lucy Suggate, visual artist Sam Williams and director of photography Paul Bates.

Series, Phases

Rehearsals ID 15 January 2014
Structure of material

27, 28, 29
entering the sea – series A
compressed man deconstructed into the frame – series B
series B and C together
series B: compressed man deconstructed into the frame
series C: compressed man into notation placed in the frame

series D and E together
series D: impact transitions
series E: impact transitions

series F – 1 and 2
dust, the mean


short original shell into broken wing

2a empty shell (walk)
2b print empty shell (run)
2c dust form breaking down (run)
2d dust form crumble (run)

series D
3a impact transition
3b reconfigure impact transition
3c and 3 d series B into C

broken wing phasing
4a form tracing fragments ending in broken wing
4b reconfigure the sequence
4c original shell plus broken wing

tracing notating void phase
5a void original
5b dust memory reconfigurations with Tschumi
5c impact transition series F

Conversation Rosemary Butcher and Steffi Sachsenmaier

Fragments from a conversation, August 2013, London, Hammersmith

SS: What would you say are you investigating with [dancer] Lucy [Suggate], and how has your investigation started? What has been your source material, what have you discovered with her?




RB: I went to look at the writings on ruins which are in that book [Ruins], some of which are very philosophical, some of which are quite practical. There was a lot in the writings to do with territories, and territories that in their own excavation revealed parts of the history of what was there. But also, what do you keep from that that then becomes something else? Do you mold it and make it something else or do you take it as it is?




I was working with Lucy [Suggate] […] and I asked her to find four places that she had a special connection with. […] She was to photograph aspects of these but the things that she photographed should have a sense that within the things that she chose, that she found a connection with her own past, so that she didn’t just choose arbitrarily. So that she would try to recognize in the material something that she was wanting to do […]. I asked her to photograph it and then she brought those things to the rehearsal, and they were particular places she had been to, and they were places both in England and in Copenhagen, and they were to do with something that she passed every day. She was very, very articulate about what she picked out, it was very, very interesting how she related to the structure. So through her language I began to work with the things that she found important, what she would take away and what she would remain… So the dialogue happened because of the way in which she had investigated the places, so they weren’t arbitrary places, they were places that she actually had visited, and they were her ruins, so that was quite important. And she was able to do that. I mean, the thing was, if she hadn’t been able to do that, we couldn’t have worked together. But she was able to do that.


Lucy Suggate in the studio