Zwaan and me, summarized the second session on identity from Thursday 24th.
For those who would be interested to read what we did, please find our text below.
See you soon!
Nadine & Zwaan
We started the second session with a talk in a “circle”. Our aim was to create an atmosphere in which everyone could give their input and relate our questions to his/her own research.
Through this approach many new intriguing questions arose involving themes that could be further investigated by one’s self or in future carpet sessions.
In this second challenging session we worked on identity in improvisation, bringing the factor of the audience in the equation.
We stuck with the first session structure of giving the task of the impro, performing and then talking as well as taking notes with the feedback.
Here are the research challenges we explored together with the group:
We started with an impro exploring the traces we leave in space. Imagining that our bodies, on a energetic, molecular, physical and many more levels, left traces in space. The impro developed connections between the traces in space, creating different dynamics and new relationships between performers in space and their movements.
This impro was challenging for some as it was difficult to connect, to get a sense of a whole, of a connected group.
For others the shape of the room influenced much their explorations (drawn to the door).
Third got inspired by literature they were currently reading on “the other” and what is between people which led back to the traces that are left after us.
The geography of the space changed dramatically. New paths and itineraries were created in the invisible architecture, space embodied in its memory.
A wave of impulses and movements spread between different performers and new spatial relations developed throughout the research.
This task was very challenging and interesting to investigate, as the spatial anchors were not the same for everyone. The free interpretation of the levels of traces you leave in space multiplied the connections and possibilities to play with one another, or by oneself.
The idea of this impro was to enter it having picked a clear identity for yourself (human, natural element, animal etc.). Then, being very conscious of the choice (who you are entering the impro like) and the development of the impro, change into another identity. (three changes maximum; no time limit set) Then meditate on why you changed, what was your inner process etc.
The task turned out to be very inspiring, gave us as observers (from time to time) a magnificent picture. Counter intuitively most of the performers remained with the first picked identities even though it was very hard and some felt very limited by it.
Feedback & questions:
This impro’s idea was that inside the impro the performers have now the opportunity to become observers/audience when they want, and then return to improvising.
Some performers did not leave the space of the improvisation but continued to move while switching between observer and performer. Others made a still while being audience, and third went out of the impro zone.
The performers that chose to be the audience sat on chairs along one of the walls facing the performers. A classical arrangement which was the starting point of our research on audience identity.
In the third audience configuration the observers were standing (we changed the orientation) facing back to the windows.
The audience members would sit in a chessboard like constellation, spread in the space, facing different directions.
In this audience constellation the mixed audience was performer and the performers could have become audience as well. There was a dynamic of action – reaction which could have been developed further between audience and performer that arose in the end of the impro as an initiative form one of the audience members.
What we found interesting is the inner changes one feels being audience in different spatial and physical conditions. The vulnerability, the illusion on the power relation, the mirror effect, the relationships and dynamics, the different points of view on a impro enriched the many aspects of identity in improvisation we researched during our two sessions.
We observed many different phenomena in the interchanging of audience/performer roles. We should bear in mind though, that most of the concepts we became aware of were also influenced by the fact that we are all improvisational performers. So these experiments we made are not representative for any audience.
These two sessions on Identity brought us a very rich palette of deeper understanding, widened awareness and most of all new questions which broadened our vision.
New themes were introduced in both sessions such as:
Thanks to all the inspiring discussions we had with the performers the exchange of ideas we were hoping for not only took place but blew us away in its depths and intriguing elements.
This has been a very existential, fruitful and useful research (we hope for everyone!) that has given us so much to investigate in the future!
Thank you all for your devotion and participation,
See you soon,
Nadine & Zwaan
Zwaan and me, summarized the first session on identity from last Thursday.
For those who would be interested to come to our second session and for all those who could not come, we think this could be useful and interesting to read.
Please find our text below.
Hope to see you on our second session this Thursday!
Nadine & Zwaan
Recap of the first identity Carpet session 17/09/2015
What is Identity?
On 17 September, we (Zwaan de Vries & Nadine Grinberg) lead a session on Identity in the context of improvisation. For those who might be interested in the process we engaged in, or will join us for the second session, we wrote a summary of the research session we led.
Second Session (24/09/2015)
On Thursday 24th we would like to explore Identity by adding the audience point of view and vice versa: the improvisation artist point of view towards ‘the audience’. Does this factor affect your Identity in improvisations?
We will perhaps also review some of the themes we worked on last Thursday.
If you have any suggestions, we would love to hear them.
You are more than welcome to come to our second session if these questions intrigue you as well!
See you in the studio!
Zwaan & Nadine
First Session Introduction
We began by introducing ourselves, our relation to the topic and how we got into researching it. One important point was defining the concept of identity from our point of view, as we used it throughout the whole session.
For us, identity is not stable, very complex and multiple. Tightly linked with western psychology and philosophy, identity evokes the ego, the Self, the dualism body/mind, cultural and sociological context as well as many other vast entities.
Meditating on identity as artists is a fruitful and engaging practice, as art is created directly from one’s self and therefore its shape and dynamics are unique.
Gaining consciousness of the inner processes involved and the build in mechanisms of our body and mind, can open many new paths of exploration of the self and of the group in a improvisation.
About the session structure
Our session was structured by several research impros in which we identified different elements and phenomena and their impact on the concept of identity. After each task, we spoke about what each experienced, gathered feedback and newly formulated questions. The outcome was very different for each of the participants which enriched the session and the exploration of this complex research..
Time/ speed research:
Feedback & questions that arose:
Risk factor research theme
Getting out of your comfort zone, being bombarded with questions. Some of which concerning risk taking in an impro (ex: is it dangerous to be in the center of the space?), the theme of belonging (are you afraid to be left out?), and other questions with no relation to the impro (do you like your feet?).
This frame gave space to everyone to interpret the task their own way, either answer to the questions or stick with only one, or ignore them all.
The task involved inner flexibility of an ever changing state of mind. Building a coping mechanism, but also reflecting actively on your state in such an environment.
Say it all research theme
Feedback & challenges:
Switch of identities
We began being interested into melting into new identities and exploring the possibilities of become someone else of the research group. This new idea was suggested by the participants.
New task about switching identities – imitating another performer, being him/her. As we had now already enough observation about how the others move, what their energy is and so on, we were able to investigate the inner and outer metamorphosis between identities. (an exercise we will develop in the second session as well)
Feedback & challenges & questions:
On leading the session:
Zwaan: Observing, as well as being part of the Improvisations myself, was hard to get in line with the talks and readings we did on this subject in our preparation. To see and experience, how rich the outcome was from the different perspectives on the floor was overwhelming.
I found it rather difficult not to be the ‘leader’ with assumed responsibilities for the well-being of the group, but instead being the co-initiator for research. That last identity needed time to get used to, because it felt strange and ‘irresponsible’ not being the one who makes the others happy. I often had to force myself to go back to the question, ‘What actually do I want, from the point of view on your own projects? Well, I know this conflict very good and is often an item in my improvisations, if not a life-theme. After all I can say that I met that tension between identities in a challenging and confronting way. That was a good experience.
Nadine: After long discussions and reflections on the philosophical, psychological, social, cultural and other aspects of Identity, we prepared a serie of research themes that would put in light different phenomena occurring in the relation improvisation – identity. Which would give us insight on this broad research and will help us contextualize it in the improvisation frame.
Personally I experienced the complexity of leading such a philosophical/psychological session, as the only tool we had were the questions we prepared, fruits from our long discussions and speculations on the theme of Identity. The role then of a leader in a research session resides in the power of the questions and premeditated outcomes.
I was very happy about all the interesting topics that arose from the questions we confronted the performers with. I came out of the session with a lot of new ramifications and enriching insights from the performers reasoning and active participation in the research.
17+24 September 2015: Two Carpet Sessions on Identity led by Zwaan de Vries and Nadine Grinberg
We both come from multicultural backgrounds and Identity has always been a challenge to define ourselves. As we grow into a multicultural and global society, how does this phenomena affect the concept of identity in improvisation?
What do we mean when we use the word ‘Identity’?
Does our identity leave traces in time and space, during an improvisation?
How do we affect each other in our identities, when playing together?
And in the interplay between meaning and creation, performers and audience, how is identity being formed and transformed?
Is it enough to be yourself?
( and who is that)
We hope to investigate this challenging theme together with you! ( who ever you may be )
We will start at 13:00 both sessions. Please leave us a comment below if you are going to be part of our research!
Zwaan & Nadine