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 some more about the zines 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 2016 by Ellen Söderhult, Chloe Chignell and myself Maia Means, who are all working with dance and choreography. It is now edited by me and Chloe Chignell with guest editors – currently, the 8th edition is on its way, made together with Stefan Govaart.
How do you work with the selection of texts and images within the zine?
We gather texts and images through an open call. Instead of curating the material to fit a pre-determined plan, aesthetics 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 seriously the various forms of expression that choreographic thinking can nourish, and we question how such documents can perform when they are read through a choreographic support.
Would you say This Container corresponds to an urge or need within the field of choreography and performance art?
This Container act 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 for developing a discourse. But it’s often a very narrow part of the field that is published, and with our open call we wish to broaden who is printed, what kinds of texts and how they are formatted.
Why this format?
The format of a zine gives space for a wide range of texts and aesthetics. It doesn’t bind to certain formalities, but can take form easily. This Container also relate to the history of the zine; we publish without any funding, and make everything ourselves. As the design, organization and writing of the zine is made only by dance practitioners, the experimentation with form and DIY mentality of the zine becomes both an inevitability and a support. Also, the distribution goes hand-to-hand and all income goes to printing.
Thank you Maia, we look forward to the coming 8th 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 that can be used to describe the antonym to penetration, related to the notion of encircle, centering around or wrap around for example.)