Although she did not call it an archive – there has been an archive of the artistic work of Pina Bausch long before Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch came into existence. She has always collected material from the creational-, rehearsal- and performative process in a comprehensive and systematic way. Thus, Pina Bausch left an enormous amount of material from the late 50s right to the present that appears unmanageable at first sight. Moreover, Tanztheater Wuppertal has stage sets, costumes and props of almost all pieces that have emerged there.
She worked on indexing the material stock with several members of her staff when she was still alive. Immediately after its creation, the Pina Bausch Foundation followed up on this: in the project “An Invitation from Pina. An Archive as a Workshop for the Future” it began to assort Pina Bausch’s artistic legacy, and secure and index its inventory in 2010. If possible, material was digitised; physical items were described, measured and photographed.
At the same time the Pina Bausch Foundation initiated a theoretical discourse in order to develop innovative solutions in the archiving sector. Experts from numerous disciplines were involved: archivists and conservators, computer- and information scientists, dance- and performance researchers. In this way, the vision of an archive as a place where materials can be related to each other in the broadest sense, can be sorted and categorised and processed – for research, visualisation, presentations or many more formats. This way, an image of Pina Bausch’s work in its entirety is to evolve.
For this purpose, the Foundation developed a database on the basis of the “linked data” paradigm in cooperation with the Institute for Communication and Media of the University of Applied Science Darmstadt. This centrepiece of the digital Pina Bausch Archive makes it possible to not only interconnect the data on the model of the “semantic web”, but also link information on the level of meaning.
The advantages of this solution are obvious. The database is based on the latest scientific understanding and uses the most recent technologies. It is flexible and future-proof in so far as it keeps its structure open for different habits of utilisation and searching, and for questions that might change in the future. This way, the archive can represent completely different perspectives on its material. It can be linked to other archives and proves its openness for new theoretical approaches.
The structure of the database provides a vital contribution to achieve the objectives of the Pina Bausch Foundation: to keep alive the great choreographer’s art of dance and to make her life’s work the centre of a creative universe.