Yvonne Buchheim's practice examines contemporary song culture in a visual art context.
She founded the Song Archive Project in 2003 in response to a song collection from 1773 by Johann Gottfried Herder. His collection and theory suggests that the cultural identity of a people are reflected through their song tradition.
In response she invite people from different ages and social backgrounds to perform a song of their choice in front of a video camera. The participants are asked for spontaneous performances without preparation, creating raw honest acts of self-assuredness, embarrassment, dignity, skill, enjoyment, solidarity, and vulnerability. Singing, often a private act is made into unrehearsed public performance.
The ongoing Song Archive Project functions as a framework to question cultural belief values and explore human behaviour. The Song Archive Project includes 1000 amateur song performances from diverse cultures and countries. On each location autonomous art projects respond to the place and explore themes that are revealed through the song collection.
Although video is a central process in Yvonne Buchheim's practice other approaches respond to situations in the form of site-specific installation, performance and drawing. Often she takes on an interventionist role to engage with local communities and encourage participation. The resulting artwork demonstrates a complex set of relationships; between herself, the public and the significance of place. In this way she is able to question the boundaries between art and life and between artist and audience.