New Archives, New Knowledge:
Hemispheric Institute Digital Video Library (HIDVL)

New knowledge requires new archives, and the Hemispheric Institute is developing the first major archive on performance practices in the world—everything from aesthetic performances (dance, performance art, etc) to religious fiestas and rituals, to political performance (elections, demonstrations, etc). In partnership with NYU Libraries, and with support from the Mellon Foundation, the Institute is creating a permanent collection of performance materials searchable and viewable through our website. This project guarantees that these materials will be permanently cared for, made available, and preserved as the Hemispheric Institute Digital Video Library (HIDVL).

Current collections include materials on/by artists from the Americas:

  • The Hemispheric Institute’s materials from its inception to the present, including footage of performances by major artists, interviews, Encuentros, and other events.

  • U.S. artists and groups such as El Teatro Campesino (the first Chicano theatre group), feminist performance artists (e.g., Carmelita Tropicana, Nao Bustamante and Split Britches), performance artists such as Guillermo Gómez-Peña, James Luna, Anna Deavere Smith, performance groups (such as Circus Amok) and many more.

  • Performance art from throughout the Americas: From Susana Cook, an Argentinean performance artist based in New York whose work tackles of sexuality, gender, homophobia, racism, nationalism and dictatorship) to Luisa Calcumil, Mapuche artist from Patagonia who deals with issues of Native identity.

  • Major collections by Latin America’s most important performance groups and artists: Grupo Cultural Yuyachkani (Peru), CADA (an activist group of artists who used performance to challenge the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile), El Hábito’s fifteen years of political cabaret, run by Mexican artist Jesusa Rodríguez and her partner Liliana Felipe, Fortaleza de la Mujer Maya (FOMMA), a community center and theater group run by Mayan women in Chiapas, Mexico, focusing on women’s and indigenous rights, literacy, cultural survival and education in the Tzeltal and Tzotzil indigenous languages.

  • The archive of American Indian Community House (AICH), which includes twenty years of video documentation of performances by Native artists, such as Spider Woman, the Coatlicue Theatre, and other major performers.

For each collection we are creating a web companion that contextualizes the videos, with essays, interviews, bibliographies and additional materials that viewers might find useful.