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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to investigate what happens if we leave the criteria of materiality and permanence behind in the study of documents. How far can we stretch the definition of a document or define a documentation process in a situation where neither the originary fact, or object, nor that by which this is represented is material or permanent? Empirically, the paper is constructed as a case study of the traditional Chinese practice of Tai Chi and presents a formulation of the Tai Chi form as an immaterial document and Tai Chi pratice as a doumentation process. The article is structured as follows: (1) Tai Chi is characterised as both philosophy and practice and, (2) Tai Chi is discussed in relation to three conceptual ideas in Document Studies and Library and Information Science; (a) document representativity, (b) complementarity and (c) embodied information practice. Conclusions from the chosen perspectives suggest ”embodied documentation” as a conceptual tool with which to understand immaterial documents, something which may lead to a widened general understanding of documents and documentation processes.

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