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Thomas Johannsen

interdisciplinary performer, director, improviser
Thomas Johannsen has written 55 posts for Interdisciplinary Instant Composition

WhatIIIF? 2020 goes online!



Now that WhatIIIF? Berlin had to be postponed to 2021, we decided not to stand still this year… (never waste a good crisis, as they say 😀 )

We started two distinct projects that accept the limitations due to the covid-19 situation and try to create momentum from these circumstances in their own ways – and you are very much invited to participate:

1.
WhatIIIF? 2020 – Nowhere and Everywhere festival


How to improvise via technological tools like tele-conferencing?  What are the limitations, what are the joys of these modes of live gatherings, extending into the living spaces of so many people at once, making all those places performance spaces to be used!

Instead of waiting for the moment that physically coming together is possible again, we attempt the impossible and invite everyone to do their own performative research in the possibilities and restrictions of performing via Zoom (or other tools).


We started this in May with the interdisciplinary group of improvisers who had been planning to come to Berlin. We now want to open these performance and research sessions up to anyone out there who is interested.

We have a WhatsApp group in which we announce the online gatherings. Fixed appointment for performing together are for now Wednesdays at 14:00 hours (CEST). With an optional aftertalk/afterdraw session afterwards. Also other performance or research gatherings can be announced through the same channel.

Click here to read more and how to join us!


2.
An Expandable Networked Universe for the Art of Improvisation


We also started gathering our network and are at the moment hunting for funds to build a website as a platform and interactive library for all improvisation artists, from any country, from any discipline. We want to connect improvisation artists and audiences now that physical proximity and travelling is so much prohibited and most of us might still be sitting at home for months to come. A website to research, get inspired and connected and engage about the art of improvisation – with each other and with our audiences.

Read more about our ambitious plans here.

You are very welcome to join this network of now already 83 artists and organisations from 20 European countries who support this idea and want to be involved.

Contact thomas@genetic-choir.org if you would like to be part of this idea!

Once the project starts happening, we will post more here.

Berlin in May: Come to the WhatIIIF 2021 edition!

CORONA UPDATE:
We postponed the 2020 Berlin edition of WhatIIIF to May 2021.
The new dates will be: 16 May – 20 May 2021

So please read the below as an invitation for next year! 😀

——————————————————————————————————————–

Upcoming in May, and this time in Berlin, Germany, is the 2020 edition of the yearly research festival WhatIIIF? – a meeting of interdisciplinary improvisers. And you are invited to join!

21 May 2020 (13:00) – 24 May 2020 (13:00) – WhatIIIF Berlin 2020

IIIF stands for International Interdisciplinary Improvisation Festival and the WhatIIIF? gatherings/meetings/festivals are dedicated to attempting to answer the absurd question: Can improvisation be documented?

There have been 3 editions of WHAT IIIF? until now: 2017 in Amsterdam (NL), 2018 in London (UK) and 2019 in Gothenborg (SE).

This website (improvisation.wiki) is a constant working space and open library of improvisation aspects. It gets energized through the yearly meetings of WhatIIIF? and everyone is invited to contribute to it through these yearly gatherings, or at any other time, from their own improvisation practice and perspective.

We invite now all interested improvisers to join us from 21-24 May 2020 in Berlin to take this utopian idea of a shared language for interdisciplinary improvisation practice further. Our hosts this year are the Exploratorium Berlin and Impro-Per-Arts.

Find the open call for participation here:

Invitation Call WhatIIIF Berlin 2020

WhatIIIF 2020 logo by Catharine Cary, photo below by Fabien Collini / performance by Constantin Leu and Catharine Cary

WhatIIIF 2019 in full swing!

Dear improvisers,

the 2019 edition of WhatIIIF in Gothenborg, Sweden, is going into its second day and the work is expanding, connecting and thickening. What a wonderful, intense time.

If you happen to be close enough, come tomorrow for witnessing more of this process of exchanging about the art of interdisciplinary improvisation performance at Galleri 54 (11:30-15:00) or in the evening during the Tiny Festival where we will do the opening performance at Theater Trixter (18:00)

participant-performers-observers-researchers-editors-authors of WhatIIIF? 2019:

Tuva Hildebrand, Nathalie Fari, Marianthi Michailidou, Catharine Cary, Reinhard Gagel, Thomas Johannsen, Shelley Owen, Esmeralda Detmers, Benedikte Esperi, Alexandra Mahnke

Early invite to WHAT IIIF Gothenburg – May 2019

We would like to give you an early wake-up call, mark your calendar, fireworks zap ! to join us for the beta 0.3 version of WHAT IIIF?.    We will be gathering from noon on the 16th of May to the 19th of May 2019 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

This rendition of What IIIF? Gothenburg is organized in collaboration with The Tiny Festival Producers,  Galleri 54 and Teater Trixter.

WHAT IIIF ? —> WHAT IS IT?

The research festival WHAT IIIF ? asks the absurd question, ‘Can improvisation be documented ?’  What IIIF ? Gotenburg is the third beta version (the first was in Amsterdam in 2016, and number two in London in 2018).  WHAT IIIF? brings together International Interdisciplinary Improvisation researchers from around Europe. We focus on a method or a concept for several days, and through labs, discussions, performances and observations, we ‘document’ improvisation.  Our thought is that this work will feed and develop the open source website www.improvisation.wiki  .

THE CHOSEN FOCUS OF RESEARCH FOR WHAT IIIF? GOTHENBURG

For the first two beta festivals, we focussed on documentation methods – video in Amsterdam and writing in London.  This time we are interested in the way we connect to other people with our improvisation work. We want to think about the fact that we are always addressing someone and within that awareness, on a meta level, ask how do I use material in the improvisational moment, put it out and put it forward.

Over the next few months, we look forward to developing the particular way we will spend these four days in May working with the circle of people committed to come.

THE PARTICULARITIES OF WHAT IIIF? GOTHENBURG

  • being in the same space (an open to the public ‘white cube gallery’ named Galleri 54) for the entire time, creating the space, covering the walls, ongoing ongoing, ongoing.
  • observers will be invited, to participate or witness, in the space, or through the windows. Passers by are the instant witnesses
  • collaboration with the TINY FESTIVAL PRODUCERS and TEATER TRIXTER which provides the spaces and an opportunity to perform
  • time to reflect, listen and document on why we do this
  • time to eat together

There is no official participation fee.  You are responsible for your travel and housing.  We split the costs of the festival among ourselves, usually this does not exceed 40 euros each.

If you would like to join us, please write Thomas at thomas@genetic-choir.org

with a paragraph telling us why you are fabulous, and why you find a research festival interesting.

If you will be able to apply for funding for your travel and lodging, we can provide you with an official invitation letter from Galleri 54.  Please write to benedikte@dansverk.se

 

IIIF beta 0.1: Three Open Sessions 9/11/13 March

fullsizerenderThe first ever edition of IIIF – International Interdisciplinary Improvisation Festival – will start with an open Carpet Session next Thursday, 9 March 14:00-17:00 !  (doors open at 13:30)

During this beta 0.1 festival, in which an international group of artist from Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Paris and Goteborg will work together intensively for five days, we will hold a total of three Open Sessions, to share and gather thoughts, insights, energy and play from any improvisers who want to join us in our quest.

The central question of this edition is “How to document improvisation principles and processes?”, which the research group intends to tackle with a healthy mix of practice, play and reflection.

Next to the opening session on Thursday there will be one mid-festival open session on Saturday and an open session on Monday to close the festival. 

You are welcome to join, also spontaneously! Note that only the Thursday session is at the Carpet Session studio, the other two are in the beautiful studio of De EesterRental cost sharing: if you join, bring a self-chosen amount (5-10 euro) so we can cover our costs.

9 March, Thursday, doors open: 13:30 / 14:00-17:00
dansstudio Vredenburgersteeg 31-35, Amsterdam

11 March, Saturday, doors open: 13:30 / 14:00-17:00
studio De Eeester, C. Van Eesterenlaan 266, Amsterdam.

13 March, Monday, doors open: 13:30 / 14:00-17:00
studio De Eeester, C. Van Eesterenlaan 266, Amsterdam.

We are looking forward to play/exchange/perform with you!

See you next week,

the ‘Research Group’ of IIIF beta 0.1

Andrea Hackl
Benedikte Esperi
Catharine Cary
Esmeralda Detmers
Jagna Anderson
Maria Michailidou
Shelley Owen
Thomas Johannsen

Inviting you to IIIF beta 0.1 – International Improvisation Festival in Amsterdam

Hey all improvisers, instant composers, dancers, musicians, actors, philosophers, pudding makers far and wide !

IIIF beta 0.1 poster by Catharine Cary

IIIF beta 0.1 poster by Catharine Cary

From the 9th to the 13th of March 2017, we are proposing IIIF – a beta festival 0.1 that looks at the artistic practice of interdisciplinary improvisation. This festival will feel like performers mingling and playing together, it will feel like serious scientific researchers trying to grasp and record what they are doing and it will feel like a lot of nice people gathering to cook and eat together. Would you like to participate ?

IIIF 0.1 – International Interdisciplinary Improvisation Festival Amsterdam, Holland

9 to 13 March 2017

An invitation by : Benedikte Esperi (SW) Thomas Johannsen (NL) Catharine Cary (US/FR)

and

supported by the Carpet Sessions Amsterdam, Genetic Choir Amsterdam, Instant Pudding !, Dansverk and the Faculty of Fine and Applied Art in Gothenburg, Sweden.

  

BACKGROUND

One of the crucial elements of advancing an art form is artistic research. Research and documentation, and the process of doing it, allow the form to open, consider, grow and take pauses to understand. All three of us, and many others around the world that practice instant composition within one discipline or across many, are interested in growing the knowledge and practice of our art, and increasing its public.

WHAT ?

IIIF 0.1 will be held in Amsterdam, the next ones probably in Gothenburg and Avignon, followed by other European cities where connected improvisation artists live and work.
This first meeting is meant to better define our and your ambition for a connected international community of improvisers that collects and makes useful the various approaches to improvisation. The intention of this work would be to further connect, inspire and develop pathways between the various communities in Europe and around the world.

One of the great things about today is that there are more and more festivals, workshops, meetings, practice sessions, and movement around interdisciplinary improvisation. Yes ! This is just one more, until the cup runneth over, and suddenly our art form is everywhere, contaminating everything, and making a lot of people inside and outside of it really happy.

We are proposing 4 “research circle” sessions to people who have expressed to us a specific interest in the process of documenting artistic research in interdisciplinary improvisation, and we are proposing 3 “open circle” interdisciplinary improvisation practice sessions.

 

WHO ?

The initiative is started by Benedikte, Catharine and Thomas, but we are very open to include more people into the core group of enablers of IIIF. Come participate if you can, and even if you cannot, let us know if you would be interested, and on what potential level of engagement. (e.g. being associated as an artist in the research, proposing content and being present during all the festival sessions, carrying the project artistically/organisationally with us, supporting IIIF 0.1 by providing sleeping place for someone from abroad, just hopping on and off…)

More extensive information, and also how to get in contact with us you can find in this pdf: iiif festival invitation

 

WHERE?

Thursday 9 March:
The first open session to start the festival is at the usual Carpet Session studio:
dansstudio Vredenburgersteeg,
Vredenburgersteeg 31-35, Amsterdam.

Friday 10 to Monday 13 March:
All other days/sessions (except the brunch) are at:
Studio De Eester, C. Van Eesterenlaan 266, Amsterdam.

 

WHEN ?

9 to 13 March 2017

OPEN CIRCLE SESSIONS
are from 14:00 to 17:00
on Thursday 9, Saturday 11 and Monday 13

– doors open at 13H30

RESEARCH CIRCLE SESSIONS include all open sessions, and are in total all four days 10:00-17:00 (only Thursday, we start at 14:00) .  More detailed info in the pdf.

 

   

HOW? — DOCUMENTATION

That’s the idea of this IIIF – how to document? – it will be however we imagine and test it out – drawings, entries in the website, texts, songs, videos, scholarly treatises …

For this IIIF beta, Benedikte will be in charge of video documentation that could result in definitions, small instructive moments, or explanations of a technique which sharpens our ability to be present, to notice and to compose in the instant. The target is moving and the work is evolutionary, we may invent new forms of art and of research during these 4 days. If you come, you need to be OK with your image being used. If you like to take video and like to edit, click here. (Benedikte) benedikte.esperi@gmail.com

Otherwise, bring an open mind, a big glass of water, a camera if you can shoot video and like to, an instrument. And a notebook. Wear comfortable clothes.

 

PARTICIPATION IN THE COSTS

sliding scale of 5 to 10 euros per session.

 


And here’s who we are :

Benedikte Esperi (SW)

Holds an MFA in Contemporary Performative Arts with practice in dance for screen, physical performance in public space and sound art. She has run the company Dansverk since 2007 which produces solo and ensemble performances. Since 2011, She is also a part time lecturer in dance at The Academy of Music and Drama in Gothenburg.

http://www.benedikteesperi.com

Thomas Johannsen (NL)

Performer and performance maker who works on the borders between fine art, theatre, dance and music. Improvisation and open systems of meaning creation form a strong current in all his work. ( http://www.thojoh.com) He is founder and artistic director of the Genetic Choir ( http://www.genetic-choir.org ) and created the international platform for Interdisciplinary Instant Composition, with its Amsterdam emanation of the Carpet Sessions. http://www.instantcomposition.com

Catharine Cary (US/FR)

A visual performative artist known as ‘‘la tagueuse élégante”, Catharine Cary is a painter, a dancer and female. She is co-founder of Instant Pudding!, a platform that provokes opportunities for sharpening skills for scenic improvisation across Europe. http://www.catharine-cary.com

http://www.instant-pudding.com

 

New dates for International Improvisers Meeting in Amsterdam: 9-13 March

dear Improvisers,

due to changed schedules from our colleagues from abroad, we had to move the dates a bit back for what will become the first beta version of

IIIF 0.1 – an International Interdisciplinary Improvisers Festival

It is still a bit improvised — 😉  especially time is running away to inform all of you in time properly. But we are doing our best!

In any case, this meeting/festival will start with a Carpet Session on Thursday, 9th of March and will continue throughout the weekend. With two more open sessions on Saturday afternoon (11th) and Monday afternoon (13th).  These are the sessions that are open for anyone to join us in playing/researching and bringing our knowledge together.

A smaller group of improvisation professionals who can commit to all 4 days will work from 9th-13th of March to deepen the work and look ahead to future ambitions of this festival.

Please mark it in your agenda and bare with us a few more days until we have the whole invitation gathered in terms of text and info.

Thanks!   🙂

Thomas

Catherine (Instant Pudding, Paris)

Benedikte (Faculty of Fine and Applied Art in Gothenburg, Sweden)

 

9-13 March 2017 – save those dates for International Improvisation Meeting in Amsterdam

Dear all improvisers,

I have been in a long term conversation with improvisers from other European cities about how we can connect the different communities working on interdisciplinary improvisation practices in Europe and beyond. Now for the first time, we will come together, in an informal ‘festival 0.1’ of four days, playing and researching together for what should become annual meetings in different European cities.

9-13 March 2017 – mainly during the day, 10:00-17:00

The program is not yet decided for these four days, and you are welcome to get involved. Especially musicians with a vision on interdisciplinary work are still a bit under-represented in the core group that is thinking about this.

More info will follow soon, but save the dates if you like to be part of it!

Sunday gathering while hibernating… 

Dear everyone,

due to all professionals of the Carpet Sessions being rather occupied with other work and projects at the moment, the regular sessions on Thursday are in hibernation mode.

However, we will meet tomorrow, Sunday November 13th, from 13:00 on Natanja’s boat around a table full of food to talk and eat together and hear how everyone is doing.

All improvisers, whether old or new to the Carpet Sessions initiative are very welcome to join this table. Just bring something that you really love eating which can be put in the middle for everyone to share. Natanja will make soup!  🙂

Sunday, 13 November 2016, 13:00-…

Place: boat “LOFRA”,  Levantkade 176, Amsterdam.  

On the ship, the door is an aluminium horizontal door on the front deck. No need to wander towards the back in the gangway. Just lift it and come in. There is no bell… Tel. Natanja if you are lost: 06 38062307

See you tomorrow!


a living/moving Wikipedia for Improvisation

image

For the end-of-season gathering of the Carpet Sessions coming Thursday, what are your wishes to spend the afternoon?

My own proposal would be to toy around with ideas and work forms how improvisers (from different disciplines) could build a dictionary of their work, together.

Backed by the foundation behind the Carpet Sessions, and in collaboration with Instant Pudding in Paris and ImproXchange in Berlin, I am preparing a project in exactly that gist, and this could be a way to give direction to the Carpet Sessions organised by different people in the coming year, if we would feel like it.

Making such a Wikipedia of improvisation (like a dictionary of everything relating to improvisation) is actually taking the open improvisation knowledge base that we started here on this website to a professional level and making it editable and adjustable for a much bigger community.

It is also provoking several questions, amongst which
– how can you define at all things about improvisation (that by nature likes to be undefined)
– in which way the words/media in such a dictionary can relate as closely as possible to the actual work being done on the floor (rather than the dictionary becoming a purely academic exercise)

Let’s speak/play/dance/sing about it further on Thursday. Looking forward to it… 13:00-17:00

See you there!

Thomas

What are the Carpet Sessions? / Where is the studio? Click here.