Poetry Exercises: an archive of (un)familiar things

Many of our experiences of life in the city are so commonplace that they are not consciously perceived. Yet it is precisely these “minor” experiences that define our inhabiting the city. The archive of (un)familiar things collects such stories of inhabiting and passes them on to visitors. Three performers exercise themselves in a self-invented practice of storytelling, going beyond a merely functional way of speaking. In their Poetry Exercises, which take place in the space between the storytellers and the listeners, the nomadic archive enters into a dialogue with the official collection of the Frankfurt Institute for City History.

Visitors are invited to take their time to move through the archive of (un)familiar things and expand it by offering their own experiences.

From the Booklet of the Performance:

"Poetry Exercises: an archive of (un)familiar things is a collection of self-invented exercises of oral poetry. Each exercise is like a story, a way to share the experience(s) of inhabiting a contemporary city by shifting the attention towards everyday, unspectacular things that surround us and make up our world.

The archive of (un)familiar things is presently installed in the Institute for City History. It consists of different exercises of collecting and (re)animating experiences of inhabiting cities. It is the space where we assemble and document those exercises in the form of scores. The scores function as ways of noting experiences so that they can be remembered – and produced again – in the moment of their performance. Rather than being a mere space of storage, the archive of (un)familiar things exists primarily in the performance of (re)evoking experiences.

In essence, the archive of (un)familiar things creates moments of speaking and of listening to sounds: the sound of the cities in which we live, the sounds that linger in this building and the sound of our voice(s). As a visitor, you are a listener and also a participant of this performance. Each exercise has its corresponding workstation, where you have the opportunity to contribute and share your own (un)familiar things."

Read the whole booklet here