Collection Title: Mapa Teatro : Laboratorio de Artistas collection
Title: Witness to the ruins a lecture-performance with Mapa Teatro
Date: 2011 Oct. 14
Location: Performed and recorded at the Miller Theater and Wood Avery Auditorium at Columbia University in New York City on October 14, 2011, as part of the conference "Injured Cities : Urban Afterlives" held on October 14-15, 2011, hosted by Columbia University's Center for the Critical Analysis of Social Difference.
Work Type: Performance., Lecture.
Diana Taylor, Andreas Huyssen, commentators.
Run-time (hh:mm:ss): 02:04:35
Language: Includes English and Spanish.
Synopsis: This video recording broadcasts the presentation of archival documentation of ‘Witness of the Ruins’ by the Colombian collective Mapa Teatro as part of ‘Injured Cities: Urban Afterlives Conference,’ hosted by the Center for the Critical Analysis of Social Difference at Columbia University. This conference, convened on the tenth anniversary of the events of September 11, 2001, aimed to explore the effects of catastrophe on cities and their inhabitants, to analyze the politics of shock and terror states use in response to their vulnerability, and to imagine more life-affirming modes of redress and re-invention. Mapa Teatro’s performance/lecture compiles personal and group experiences lived while working on four projects (Prometheus, Run-throughs, The Cleaning of the Stables of Augeas, and Witness to the Ruins) inspired and materialized during the gentrification process of the neighborhood of El Cartucho in Bogota. The many layers of archive and memory are embodied through the voices and bodies of Mapa Teatro’s directors, Rolf and Heidi Abderhalden, who show a ghostly screening of the documentation that remained after each project was created and performed, and remember the impact that they had on the families, the spectators, and themselves. The entire experience was possible because of the bonds established with the inhabitants of the neighborhood as well as the interest in creating a moving memorial monument against ‘the architecture of the emptiness.’After presenting the fourth project, Rolf and Heidi sit down just to witness the last archive images displaying news about the new spaces that El Cartucho’s people are trying to occupy and the empty park built on the territory where the neighborhood was. In a constant reactivation of the archive, they insert themselves in the process of remembering what they do not want to forget: the living memory of human beings that cannot be erased. Q&A and comments by Diana Taylor and Andreas Huyssen accompany this performance/lecture.One of the foremost artistic companies in Colombia, Mapa Teatro ( has been producing theater, performance and art installation projects since 1984. Founders and directors, Rolf and Heidi Abderhalden have created a wide ranging repertoire of theater, opera, mixed-media performance, and site-specific installation.Their work proposes richly textured visual metaphors in which they consider often complex psychological, social and political relationships. Committed to experimentation, and less interested in the actor as an 'agent of fiction,' they describe their project as 'a laboratory of social imagination,' that offers a space for presenting community issues and human concerns in media and performance. This combination of real-life situations and sites along with highly stylized aesthetic staging produces a tension between real action and (re)presentation. Mapa Teatro draws from live events captured on video such as the demolition of a neighborhood in Bogotá, ritual practice, and texts that explore the relationship of postmodern subjects, myth and metaphor. Mapa Teatro has performed by commissions, festivals and collaborative projects world-wide.
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Copyright Holder: Mapa Teatro Laboratorio de Artistas
Contact: Rolf and Heidi Abderhalden
Rolf and Heidi Abderhalden
Carrera 7 Nº 23-08, Bogotá, Colombia
Phone(Business): +57-1-284-4899
Phone(Fax): +57-1-599-6795