Series 06: Mika Hayashi Ebbesen

This issue of The Remote Archivist, which nowadays appears irregularly, is made by Mika Hayashi Ebbesen. Mika, also producing under the sonic pseudonym Mikatsiu, is a queer Norwegian-Japanese artist engaged in performing, composing, writing, editing, and sensing. They first encountered the archive during the exhibition Catching Up in the Archive in 2022. Their work as an editor in print publishing, and their commitment to the historiographic process of knowledge production, led them to return this year to delve further into the material traces of de Appel’s role in giving a platform to performance as an artistic genre.

Mika’s language-keen eye fell on the folders of correspondence between the staff of de Appel and Jana Haimsohn, a sound and movement artist from New York, who performed twice on invitation by de Appel. In 1976 she performed Ausdruckstanz in the Brouwersgracht warehouse, de Appel’s first location, and in 1979 she performed in the context of Holland Festival with musician Harry de Wit in Groningen.

Within introductory documents compiled by de Appel in 1979, Jana is quoted: ‘What I am interested in doing at this time are performances comprised of solo-work: movement/dance/gesture ... and sound/vocal sound/singing/ rhythmic sounds, using foot stomping, finger clicking, percussive instruments, accompanying or playing with vocal sound or singing and combined movement/ sound work.’ The novel music that Jana performed, which would still be perceived by audiences as contemporary, conjured insufficient vocabulary from the press who often resorted to ethnographic comparisons and references to exotic descriptors such as ‘voodoo’. The woordbeeld (word image) can find itself out of step in the archive, not fading as elegantly as the paper it resides on. What at first glance may look like a beautiful artifact can contain words that are no longer — can’t or shouldn’t be — used. Time passes through words, disappearing and reappearing with changes of meaning, and those nonfeminist descriptors that scratch the eyeballs: how to taste a word, how to sing the blank lines, or better, shout with a few strikethroughs, finding the beat of the recurring punctuation marks that form the dance, the ecstasy, the enchantment. Mika researched the materials in the archive of both events, recomposed the 1976 script and adopted the spatial layout of the building as it was articulated during the performance of Ausdruckstanz. In resonance with the few photographs of Jana Haimsohn’s historic performance, Mika creates their own score. Together with only an imagination of what Jana’s performance might have sounded like, the frequencies of the archive move into Mika’s now. A readable, moveable and screamable score.

Maker: Mika Hayashi Ebbesen
Archive material: Jana Haimsohn
Archivist: Nell Donkers
Designer: Bardhi Haliti
Printer: Drukkerij Raddraaier
SSP Publisher: de Appel