Wannes Cré


“Towards Documentary Choreography - Intermedial Approaches in Working with Extra-Aesthetic Materials” is the title of Arkadi Zaides’ PhD research project. Zaides is working within the CORPoREAL research group at the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp as well as at the University of Antwerp. The research will be conducted between 2021-2025 and will unfold through a series of workshops, lectures, publications, master classes, and performances focusing on the conceptualization of and the experimentation with the term ‘documentary choreography'. 

‘Documentary choreography’ integrates documents (interviews, testimonies, video materials, existing archival information, and others) in the choreographic work. It strives to weave these types of factual information with embodied practices in order to question social and political realities within which this type of work is produced. Moreover, it aims at transgressing the often-safe space of the artistic field and intervening through the process of creation and exposure of the artistic work in the actual political realm. By conceptualizing the term ‘documentary choreography’ Arkadi Zaides wishes to reflect on his own body of work in the last decade, as well as connect with peers and scholars who work along the same lines of practice and thought.

Credits & Collaborators

Supervisors Annouk Van Moorsel, Timmy De Laet, Thomas Crombez, Christel Stalpaert Individual PhD commission chair Kyoko Iwaki Individual PhD commission member Kristof Van Baarle Grants Thanatic Ethics fieldwork travel grant by the Center for Popular Culture in the Humanities (CPCH) at the Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK), Medium-scale research infrastructure by the Research Foundation – Flanders (UGent, FWO)

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Articles & Reviews

Necropolis. Counter Forensic Practices for Mourning the ‘Othered’ Dead

by Arkadi Zaides, in Rekto Verso, issue 96: Post Mortem, 09/22

For over a quarter of a century, UNITED for Intercultural Action, a network of hundreds of anti-racist organizations from all around Europe, has been compiling a list registering deaths of refugees and migrants who have attempted to reach Europe. This database forms the basis for the performance ‘Necropolis’, in which choreographer and director Arkadi Zaides attempts to outline an ‘invisible city of the dead’, mapped from the graves of the migrants who could not reach their final destinations in Europe.

Tentacular Thinking in Storied Places

by Christel Stalpaert, Arkadi Zaides, Michel Lussault, Philippe Rekacewicz, Igor Dobricic, Atelier Cartographique in GPS (Global Performance Studies), 01/22

This text is an in-between report of the ongoing collaborative practices of the NecropolisLAB in relation to the research-based perfromance project Necropolis. Every performance of Noceropolis is a preliminary culmination point in the many-faceted and long-term process, placing the body and choreography (in its most expansive sense) as key attention points. The Necropolis erformance calls upon the local (European) audience to individually and collectively acknowledge the death of people wh are dying on the Europien shore by mapping their place of death, performing a grave location search and a walk towards a grave of a migrant.

Necropolis – Walking through a List of Deaths

by Arkadi Zaides, for (W)archives: Archival imaginaries, war, and contemporary art, edited by Daniela Agostinho, Solveig Gade, Nanna Bonde Thylstrup, and Kristin Veel, Berlin/New York: Sternberg Press, 12/20

In Europe after World War II, there were massive efforts to search for missing soldiers and citizens, many of which remained unresolved for decades. Only in the early 1990s, after Gorbachev's perestroika, were the Russian archives opened, finally allowing access to information about millions of German prisoners of war who had been previously untraceable. Since 2004, the German Red Cross has digitized two million prisoner files belonging to missing German soldiers and civilians from Russian military archives to create a database with personal information and details about their fates. Germany has not been the only country to conduct such efforts.