The work of the VALIE EXPORT Center is characterized by two directions of research. One focus is the exploration of performance documentations oriented on material sources and media theory and of the transmission of feminist art practices via archives and collections. Hereby special attention is paid to the procedures of documentation, archival processes, and exhibition practices of process-oriented art. The main interest is the practices that transmit and interpret temporary aesthetic experiences and concepts of eventfulness. Such an investigation of specific relations of processuality, knowledge, and time allows the history of media art (intermedia art, new music, experimental film, expanded cinema, performance video, video installation, computer art, digital images, cinematographic installations, etc.) to be grasped as an exploratory contribution to the formalizing translation processes of media theory. An approach based on art and media theory can unfold and conceptually differentiate such a history of knowledge of the experimentalization of seeing, hearing, and sensory interaction.
A second research perspective is the examination of the action knowledge of performance art. As embodied acts of action, communicative behaviors, social events and scenarios, or simulations of possible futures, performances are their own mode of appropriation, transmission, and passing on of knowledge. Performance situations and performance practices always reveal specific conceptions of corporeality, subjectivity, aliveness, belonging, participation, memory, agency, and activation of social relationships. When they are close to activist and political forms of protest, the acts of/in performances can be described as transformative interventions in real situations and as designs for conceivable modes of action and existence.
Both orientations of the research activities address the technological conditions and the implicit knowledge of artistic production processes (improvisation, notations, design techniques, scenarios, rehearsals, infrastructures, networks, asynchronous and synchronous communication, materiality, and affects). For these directions of research, VALIE EXPORT's archive is a material and conceptual space of possibilities for micro-histories that align something handed down with questions of the future.