Marialena Marouda works in the fields of performance art and choreography. She studied philosophy and visual arts at Columbia University in New York, USA (B.A., 2004) and continued her studies at the Institute for Applied Theater Studies at the University of Giessen, Germany (M.A., 2011).
Her current creation, “Poetry Exercises: an archive of (un)familiar things”, will have its premiere at the Frankfurt City Archive in October 2016. Other works include the “Dictionary of invisible work” (2016) which she initiated and authored in collaboration with Heike Bröckerhoff, Milka Ivanovska and Jasmina Zaloznik, “Poetry Exercises” (2014), “Walking in the city: on the poetics of space” (2013) and “Walking Exercises” (2011-2013).
Marouda participated in the first cycle of the program “Critical Practice (Made in Yu)” (2014-15), the goal of which is to intensify the discourse around performing arts practices and the conditions of their production. During and after her studies, she also participated in the projects “Entropic Institute” (2012) and “Anarchiv I” (2008) by Deufert & Plischke, “Garden State” by MAMAZA (2014) and in the Walking Festival “Zusammenkommen. Zusammen Gehen” curated by Martin Nachbar (2013) among others.
On performance exercises
Marialena Marouda’s work is focused primarily on the development of performance exercises, self-invented practices for relating to and for inhabiting spaces. The experimentation with walking, listening and storytelling as relational spatial practices forms the basis of her exercises.
For Marouda, an exercise, with its simple set of rules and its repetitive structure, is a machine for relating to things. This machine is inextricably linked to the body –and the voice. Exercises are used as tools for attaining and of sharing an embodied knowledge about the world by means of choreography.
The transparent structure of her performance exercises allows the audience to follow and to perform those actions either physically or mentally in complicity with the performers. A shared performative space is created as a result, one where thinking-seeing happens together with and independently of the other.
On archives and dictionaries
Site-specific formats that exit the theater(s) and enter the public space(s) are increasingly relevant for Marouda. In her most recent work, a nomad archive of poetry exercises, the “archive of (un)familiar things”, is presented within the city archive of Frankfurt. The intention is to propose an alternative way of collecting alternative “facts” about the city, and to enter into dialog with a city’s institutionalized memory. Or again, “the dictionary of invisible work”, made up of exercises in defining invisible professional activities, is indeed a small book that circulates out in the open, inviting its readers to contribute to it.
Essentially, Marouda’s interest lies in collecting exercises and fragments of action(s) into a multiplicity, organizing them (alphabetically), and sharing them with the visitors-participants, without seeking to make out of them a completed dramaturgically built up “piece”. In this sense the performance space of the exercises becomes an archive, a space where the visitor can linger and engage with the exercises in his/her own time.
Finally, the element of participation, by means of which ever new material can be generated and added to the archive, if only the exercise is shared, provides a potential that she is particularly keen on exploring further.