This Container is a digital and printed zine series that is represented in the Reading edge library. We asked Maia Means, one of the current editors, to tell us more about the zine and the process behind it.
Can you tell me a little bit about This Container and how it relates to choreographic thinking and choreographic processes?
This Container is an open host for documents produced through and alongside choreographic thinking. It began with a desire to self-publish, and the need for a space that could support choreographic experimentations in writing. It was started in Stockholm in 2016 by Ellen Söderhult, Chloe Chignell and myself, Maia Means, who are all working with dance and choreography. It is now edited by me, Chloe Chignell, and guest editors – currently, the eighth edition is on its way, co-created with Stefan Govaart.
How do you select texts and images for the zine?
We gather texts and images through an open call. Instead of curating the material to fit a pre-determined plan, aesthetic or theme, This Container takes shape according to its content. Without organizing through dominant narratives or figures, the publication wants to weave, leaving holes and threads between the forms of writing. This Container uses gathering and circluding* as narration, and relational principles to develop a feminist editing strategy.
What are your intentions with the zine, and how do you see it evolving in a long-term perspective?
This Container is a platform produced for and shaped by the writing that happens within and around making pieces. It aims to produce a space where such documents are not only accessible as accessories to performances, but rather articulate their own space as choreographic objects, including them in the landscape of contemporary choreographic work. We take the various forms of expression that choreographic thinking can nourish seriously, and we question how such documents can perform when they are read through choreographic support.
Would you say that This Container responds to an urge or need within the field of choreography and performance art?
This Container acts as an experimental archive of contemporary choreographic discourse. Through its editions, it provides a repertory of traces, which creates a gravity that the field is in need of. Many dancers and choreographers have started to publish books about their work, which is important for a sense of gravity, and to develop discourse. But it’s often a very narrow part of the field that is published, and with our open call we wish to broaden the range of writers and texts that are published, and how the texts are formatted.
Why this format?
The format of a zine gives space for a wide range of texts and aesthetics. It isn’t bound by certain formalities, but can take shape easily. This Container also relates to the history of the zine; we publish without any funding, and make everything ourselves. As the design, organization and writing of the zine are made only by dance practitioners, the experimentation with form and DIY mentality of the zine becomes both an inevitability and a source of support. Also, it’s distributed hand-to-hand, and all income goes to printing.
Thank you, Maia, we look forward to the coming eighth edition of This Container! Meanwhile, the previous editions can be read in printed and digital format in c.off’s Reading edge library.
(*Circluding is a form of the newly invented word circlusion, which can be used as an antonym to penetration, related to the notion of encircling, centering around or wrapping around, for example.)