Digital traces, whether digitized (programs, notebooks, drawings, etc.) or born digital (emails, websites, video recordings, etc.), constitute a major challenge for the memory of the ephemeral performing arts.
Digital technology transforms traces into data and, in doing so, opens them up to manipulation. This paradigm shift calls for a renewal of methodologies for writing the history of theater today, analyzing works and their creative process, and preserving performances. At the crossroads of performing arts studies, the history, digital humanities, conservation and archiving, these methodologies allow us to take into account what is generally dismissed, namely, digital traces that are considered too complex, too numerous, too fragile, of dubious authenticity, etc.
With the analysis of Merce Cunningham’s digital traces as a guideline, and through many other examples, this book is intended for researchers and archivists, as well as artists and cultural institutions.