Research Program

Rakini Devi


Rakini Devi in her online article discusses the activities undertaken during the Dancing Sydney archive process in 2018 and the Critical Path Responsive Residency Research in collaboration with video and sound artist Karl Ockelford that followed in 2019.

Rakini says that: “Condensing, cataloguing and archiving thirty years of my artistic practice can be cathartic, informative and even inspiring… The process of archiving in itself gave me, for the first time, a sense of my artistic achievements over the years, and a process that, as an independent artist, I have not had the time or funds to undertake.

As a living archive, the body stores countless memories of the lithe and supple prowess of early experimentations and naïve passions, of successes and failures. The outcome of my present activity has been the archiving of key works spanning over thirty years, which has included project books, notes, photos, videos, audio, scrapbooks, and more. The most precious of all my creative records of work are my journals, which I have maintained since 1989, in the form of visual art, writing, scripts, set design and costuming. The archiving process in turn initiated a new enquiry that I had an opportunity to explore during a 2019 Responsive Residency at Critical Path in collaboration with video and sound artist Karl Ockelford. The title of the residency research project was ‘The Body as Archive’. During the three-week process, I drew on retrospective works as inspiration for new ideas, which were documented in a 12 -page written journal that outlined new choreographic concepts, my methodology, and scripts that were revisited and re-recorded.

This online article with the accompanying images is in lieu of the presentation I would have given on the 30th of March, in which I discuss the activities undertaken during the Dancing Sydney archive process in 2018 and the Critical Path residency that followed in 2019.

Please click the link below to access Rakini’s article.


Dancing Sydney: Mapping Movements: Performing Histories is held at the University of Sydney with project partners alongside Critical Path, the State Library of New South Wales, Amanda Card (USYD), Erin Brannigan (UNSW) and Julie-Anne Long (Macquarie).

Image credits:
Image 1 – Rakini Devi, The Female Pope, Mexco City 2014, image by Nina Yhared
Image 2 – Rakini Devi Urban Kali Lennox Theatre 2017, image by Karl Ockelford
Image 3 – Rakini Devi Kolkata, India 2019 (Video Performance)

Date & Location

Thursday 7 May 2020 - Thursday 31 December 2020