archives

Thomas Johannsen

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

Carpet Improvisers gathering around foundation Here & Now

Hi everyone,

in anticipation of the coming season of Carpet Sessions, I have some great news:  We have founded a ‘stichting’ (foundation) for improvisation work, which all active members in the Carpet Pool of improvisers could use in the future for their improvisation/research projects, for subsidy applications and for us to generally get organised!HereandNowfrontpage

The foundation got the official name ‘Here and Now, Interdisciplinary Instant Composition’ and we made a provisional website that can be reached via http://www.hereandnow.eu

I would like to meet with all those of you who want to keep this initiative going with me, so we can talk and see how to best organise things from here onwards.

Concretely for next season, my wish would be that we can share the costs of the studio hire (which is done per whole season) with a bigger group.
I can imagine that contributing 35,- Euro per year is in everybody’s reach, and a very attractive amount for a full year (shared) use of a studio. You then become one of the hosts of this interdisciplinary research platform, you can use the Thursday afternoons for your own improvisation projects, but more importantly as a space to invite colleagues to train and investigate with you in open or semi-closed Carpet Sessions or longer Carpet projects.

Next to this, it becomes possible for everyone in this group to apply for funding via the stichting, if at any point that is an interesting option. European projects, connecting us to our friends and improvisation research platforms in other cities (Berlin, Paris, Helsinki,…) also now come into our reach.

Please talk to the improvisation colleagues around you about this! It would be great if we can keep offering this open training ground for improvisation in Amsterdam, and build further with even more people getting involved from all disciplines!

Let me know if you’d like to be part of this via thomas@hereandnow.eu

A nice picknick on a rooftop or in the park, somewhere in August, would maybe be a great moment to gather all of you who want to join  😀   Will let you know!

hug & warm summer wishes,
Thomas

Writing on Improvisation – 11 June & 10 September

In closing of the Carpet Season of this year, I propose an unusual gathering:

Let’s have a look together at the subject of leaving traces of writing about our improvisation work. How can that be done, in a subject as wide as interdisciplinarity and as fluid as improvisation? Which type of writing is useful/effective for our own process and which types of writing are effective for sharing with others? How can we find the words that are full and clear enough for developing the craft of instant composition together?

calvin-writingBettina Neuhaus & Maria Michailidou will meet with me on Thursday, 11 June, and we invite anyone who was involved in Carpet Sessions before to join us. We’ll play, perform and write in still to be defined order and interlacing…

Bring your favorite writing tool (laptop, paper+pen, smartphone, typewriter… 😉 ) and your performer’s presence.

Results will be published in our ever-growing Improvisation Knowledge Base.

If you would like to be there, please announce your presence by writing a comment to this post.

11 June 2015

13:00-17:00

What are the Carpet Sessions? / Where is the studio?

We plan another sessions like this for the beginning of the season: 10 September

– if you’d like to note it in your agenda already 🙂

Open Session “(Dis)connecting the dots” 4 June 2015

Tomorrow, 4th of June, 13:00-17:00, you are invited to join us as performer for the ‘sharing’ session of our professional research project “(Dis)connecting the dots”.

connecting_dots2_pusteblumen_grey_light3We looked at blending music, dance and theatre without a hierarchy (one discipline supporting the other) and without deciding beforehand what type of performance it would be. Does an audience need ‘certainty’ in their perception (is it a concert, a dance piece or a theatre play?) in order to engage with it, and what is needed to stay engaged as a performer?  When is the mix and the many-layerdness exciting and when is it just a soup of indistinguishable ingredients?  😀

We found things out and want to share them with you, but most of all we want to gather more experiences and reflections by playing with you tomorrow. Professional improvisation performers of any discipline are welcome! Just announce your presence by writing a comment to this post (below).

 

If you come, bring 5,- euro towards the costs of keeping the Carpet Studio rented all year round. Thanks! What are the Carpet Sessions? / Where is the studio?  (click here)
   
Performers present of the research group:
   
Bernt Nellen
Wouter Snoei
Tanaquil Schuttel
Zwaan de Vries
Anja Boorsma
Jurriaan Kamp
Maria Michailidou
Annabel Garriga
Stefania Petr
Thomas Johannsen
 
 
Guests on 4 June who already announced themselves:
 
Salvoandrea Lucifora (trombone)
Margo van der Linden
Iris Heneka

Ralph de Rijke

 

PS: If you are a theatre improv practitioner in Amsterdam, this workshop on 9 June for advanced amateurs might interest you and/or your students. It is in content connected to the above research and especially designed to let theatre improv students get in touch with other approaches to improvisation performance in order to broaden their skill. Brought to you by allimprov :). Please spread the word!

Writing on Improvisation – 11 June

In closing of the Carpet Season of this year, I propose an unusual gathering:

Let’s have a look together at the subject of leaving traces of writing about our work. How can that be done, in a subject as wide as interdisciplinarity and as fluid as improvisation? Which type of writing is useful/effective for our own process and which types of writing are effective for sharing with others? How can we find the words that are full and clear enough for developing the craft of instant composition together?

calvin-writingBettina Neuhaus & Maria Michailidou will meet with me on Thursday, 11 June, and we invite anyone who was involved in Carpet Sessions before to join us. We’ll play, perform and write in still to be defined order and interlacing…

Bring your favorite writing tool (laptop, paper+pen, smartphone, typewriter… 😉 ) and your performer’s presence.

Results will be published in our ever-growing Improvisation Knowledge Base.

If you would like to be there, please announce your presence by writing a comment to this post.

11 June 2015

13:00-17:00

What are the Carpet Sessions? / Where is the studio?

We plan another sessions like this for the beginning of the season after the summer. (first or second Thursday of September – if you’d like to note it in your agenda already).

See you either for this, or next week for the open session of (Dis)connecting the Dots (4 June), and otherwise: Have a great summer!

(Dis)connecting the dots II – Bridging music/dance/theatre in Improvisation

     
UPDATE: the here described sessions resulted in this extensive article that talks about the work and the main issues we encountered.
     
     
In May last year we had the first edition of “(Dis)connecting the dots”: Looking at the trinity theatre/dance/music in improvisation performance with the question how each discipline differs in their audience’s expectations and their reading of a piece. Questions from the different audience perspectives were:
     
  • What do I enjoy about an improvisation performance or concert?
  • Does it have to make sense for me in order to enjoy it?
  • In which way does it have to make sense? A pure concert usually ‘makes sense’ in a different way than a theatre play or a dance performance does. So how does this work for interdisciplinary performance?
From the makers/performers perspective, we posed the following, related question:
 
  • How concrete and readable should our work be? What should be left unexplained – how opaque, many-layered, confusing or abstract do we like it?
connecting_dots2_pusteblumen_grey_light3Any artist wants his work to be readable to a certain extent, in the sense that it somehow ’speaks’ to the audience. And at the same time, any piece needs a certain obscurity, leaving something for the audience to wonder about. Also music can be more or less ‘accessible’ in this way.
Genres in all disciplines differ on how to concretely measure this mix of readability and opaqueness.
As Interdisciplinary Instant Composition wants to be inclusive to all genres and differing perceptions of art, our question is: How can we improvise, talk and play around this topic of ‘readability’ effectively?
   
We want to continue our research with a series of five Carpet Sessions in May/June 2015:
       
7 May
14 May
21 May  including showing/Q&A at the end
28 May
4 June    including sharing/performing with other improvisers in an open Carpet Session
       
There is a core group of actors/dancers/musicians who will work together on these Thursdays and there are two moments on which we would like to open up the work to all professionals interested in joining us:
   
21 May 2015: after 15:30, we invite you to join us in the studio as reflecting audience. We are very interested in your feedback to inform the rest of the research.
   
4 June 2015 (13:00-17:00): an open Carpet session where we will share our findings in an inclusive performance session. (meaning: any improvising colleagues from our network are welcome to work/play with us & reflect throughout the whole session. Let’s have a ball with it!  🙂
   
Please announce yourself if you would like to come on either 21 May or 4 June by writing a comment to this blogpost (below).
For 4 June, guest performers contribute the usual 5,- p.p. Carpet donation for helping to keep the studio open all year for improvisation research.
       
Update:
We had the first two session with the core group. Such a bliss to be among such knowledgeable people! Many are multi-disciplinary, but for the interest of this research, each of us works in first instance from one discipline:
Music:
James Hewitt
Bernt Nellen
Wouter Snoei
Tanaquil Schuttel
Zwaan de Vries
Theater:
Anja Boorsma
Esmeralda Detmers
Jurriaan Kamp
Edgard Geurink
Dance:
Maria Michailidou
Annabel Garriga
Stefania Petr
Thomas Johannsen

This second edition of (Dis)connecting the dots is supported with a small subsidy by allimprov (many thanks to there!), which will mean you will find traces of this research soon as part of the Improvisation Knowledge Base: improvisation.wiki


What are the Carpet Sessions? / Where is the studio? / What about money? (click here)
          
      

Relevant Others – regular impro initiatives we are connected with

This post is to list for you some other initiatives that the Carpet Collective is connected with, either in content or geographically. They are all worth checking out!

And do let us know if we forgot about other regular initiatives for interdisciplinary improvisation work that should be mentioned here!

Outside of Holland, there are two Improvisation Laboratories that the Amsterdam scene has been connected with for some time:

Helsinki Meeting Point (HMP) in Helsinki

Instant Pudding in Paris

For Amsterdam and Utrecht people, the following are returning initiatives that you can check out and join, next to our Carpet Sessions:

       

Area59 – who are organising morning classes and interdisciplinary impro labs in Amsterdam. Area59 is based in the community of dancers/choreographers, but they are very open & investigative concerning interdisciplinary work. The following Carpet Session regulars are at the moment active in leading sessions at area59 (click on the names for more info about the sessions)

Maaike van de Westeringh is hosting an intensive Impro Lab this afternoon. (17:00-19:00)
Maria Mavridou is giving TrainingLabs this week and next in the ‘Dangerous Mouse’ format (intensive movement training)
Thomas Johannsen is giving three interdisciplinary instant composition TrainingLabs next week (8-10 April)
Sarah-Kate Gardiner is following on 13-17 April and
Maria Michailidou on 18-22 May

IC Practice

(Instant Composition Practice bi-monthly at Dansmakers, Amsterdam)

This initiative is completely focused on Instant Composition work and is another great initiative for ‘knowledge&training sharing between improvisation professionals’.

Next edition of the IC Practice will be on April 25th 2015, 16:30-20:00 (audience welcome at 19:00) – Eerste Helmersstraat 102 1/2

More info about this initiative of Dansimprovisatie Utrecht & Amsterdam you can find here.

Genetic Choir
Coming from the field of vocal instant composition, the Genetic Choir bridges from their research into the human voice and open systems to other disciplines on a regular basis. Connecting their musical approach to fine art (graphic score), video and movement research.
Singers of the Genetic Choir are regulars at the Carpet Sessions, but they have also their own training sessions and workshops, mostly in Amsterdam, which you can check out here.

Monday Match, Bimhuis

Formerly called “The Meeting Point” and originally set up by Marcos Baggiani and Valeria Primost (which connected back then already Amsterdam with Helsinki – see above), this is the well-known monthly night of dance&music improvisation in the Bimhuis Amsterdam, which also is sometimes side-stepping into other disciplines…  It is a free evening, thanks to the support of the Bimhuis, almost always a great place to be.

Next edition is curated by Michael Schumacher and Sandra Pujols on 13 April 2015

Boiler Room, Utrecht

Also bi-monthly, this is the regular dance&music improvisation performance night in Utrecht (what the Monday Match at the Bimhuis is for Amsterdam). performance.

Next one is on April 12th 2015, curated by instant composition veteran Katie Duck.

 

 

 

…so far for now.  🙂

Of course this overview is not complete. And we are happy to add to it! Let us know if there are more interdisciplinary improvisation initiatives – near or far – that should be mentioned here!

Facebook Group and upcoming sessions

hi all,

for all of you who spend half their lives on Facebook 😉  – we have now a meeting place there in the form of a Facebook Group called “Interdisciplinary Improvisation Research

You can share everything there that relates to our subject – thoughts, events, questions, inquiries…

Other than this blog, where we only post Session invitations and news about the Knowledge base to keep it clear and readable, the Facebook Group can be our big bazaar of ideas and questions (for example also links to relevant things you find elsewhere on the internet). So feel free to use it extensively!

– click here for the Facebook link –

Upcoming sessions:

This afternoon (13:00-17:00):  the 3rd look at Abundance/Containment with Johnny Schoofs and Kristien Sonnevijlle.

15th of January, Kenzo Kusuda and me will look at the complicity you have with your audience as live performers. We will post more about it soon.

29th of January and February 3rd: Video in Dialogue with the body with Anne Gentenaar and Maria Michailidou

 

Have a great Christmas and New Year!

Thomas

 

 

 

Continuing Improvisation Research for 2014/2015

Dear all,

we are looking back at another year of intriguing little projects and great investigations in interdisciplinary improvisation.

As always towards the summer I am asking what your ideas and wishes would be for next season, projecting forward your intentions to open new area’s of improvisation or revisit and deepen some of the existing lines of research.

So please let me know about your intentions to stay connected to this platform also in the coming year.
(read the three questions below)

Just to first give you an overview of the things that came by and got re-worked in the last two seasons by you and others:

Interlocking Principles (Balinese kecak rhythms as common ground for improvising interdisciplinary)

Objects and Stuff (object theatre, props and puppetry in improvisation)

Shadow Carpet (using shadow theatre in improvisation)

Structured Improvisation (improvisation scores, plots and structures and what they conjure up)

The dreamer and the observer (two aspects/attitudes/archetypes of the interdisciplinary improviser)

Time and Duration (taking time, losing time, using time in improvisation performance)

Games of Interaction (the world of rule-creating and rule-following in improvisation games)

What’s whispering (listening to the more subtle layers of reality while improvising)

The secret Life of Phrases (phrasing in improvised music, phrasing in improvised dance)

(Dis)connecting the dots (actors/dancers/musicians and the question of ‘readability’ and ‘meaning’)

       

So what are we picking up for next season? What will be new land to explore?

Continue reading

(Dis)connecting the dots

An improvisation meeting of theatre, dance, music and more

At the end of the Carpet Sessions season, you are invited to join the exploration of an issue that is probably the biggest source of discussion in interdisciplinary art making:
How concrete and readable should our work be? What should be left unexplained – how opaque, many-layered, confusing or abstract do we like it?
Connecting_Dots_PusteblumenThe problem is often that we don’t even know from each other what we exactly mean with all these words, while the issue itself is not so complicated, and applicable to all art disciplines:
Any artist wants his work to be readable to a certain extend, in the sense that it somehow ’speaks’ to the audience. And at the same time, any piece needs a certain obscurity, leaving something for the audience to wonder about. Only in how to concretely create this mix is where genres and artists differ.
As interdisciplinary instant composition wants to be inclusive to all genres and differing perceptions of art, our question is: How can we improvise, talk and play around this topic effectively?
          
On 29 May (Hemelvaartsdag), we would like to do a research session with this question in mind.
     
As especially the perceived difference between improvisation theater and improvisation dance/music is big on this issue, Anja Boorsma is inviting a group of improv actors, while Thomas Johannsen is inviting dance improvisers. We are also inviting musicians with experience from both the ‘concrete’ theatre genre and the more ‘modern/abstract’ performance genre.
Any other disciplines/improvisers who would like to participate are absolutely welcome. Just write us a comment below this post if you are interested (if the group becomes too big to be workable, we keep the option of selection).
Let’s see if we can create both crystal-clear and many-layered pieces of performance, and survive the clash to tell about it.  😀
What are the Carpet Sessions? / Where is the studio?  (click here)
          
UPDATE:
There has been so many reactions that we had to make a selection. Otherwise the studio would be too crowded for what we want to do.
So the session is not open anymore, and this is the research group for the 29th of May:
         
Anja Boorsma
Esmeralda Detmers
Jurriaan Kamp
Wouter Snoei
Hans Kuykens
Ralph de Rijke
Thomas Johannsen
Annabel Garriga
Johnny Schoofs
Tanaquil Schuttel
              
We will keep you posted on our findings!
      

Review 1st open session Phrases Research

Hallo everybody,

thanks so much for all the good work during the Open Session at Dansmakers on 30th of February.

We were with 40 dancers/singers (+ 1 dog), which is an amazing number for a research session, and it worked magically, beautifully well!  The performance in the evening was surely something to remember…

I just wanted to post here the aspects of the research that we gathered during the session, with your help. The core group will now dig deeper into it the coming weeks and we hope to see you again on the rounding off Open Session on 29th of March.

phrases40people_opening

Phrase =  beginning – duration – end

Linked to the question of beginning/end in phrasing:
Landing/Arriving – What ends? – Transformation – give new life to… – what comes after? – same/different/similar thing in different context.

Linked to duration:
Coherence/Integrity of a Phrase – What holds is together? – ‘It makes sense’ – Dynamics – Shape – Rhythm

What is Silence? (in Phrasing)

Awareness of choice in Phrasing: what, when, where, with whom?

Why phrasing? For readability / For clarity of your vocabulary
Phrasing = Articulation

Phrases are Building Blocks and Markers – in time/material. Creating perspective in the sea of meanings.

What are the different layers of a phrase?     
         

More quotes that were put on the second paper at the end of the session:

“Interaction is important for phrasing/meaning.”

“For something to be a phrase you need at least two elements and a connection between them.”

“I make decisions all the time.You need to keep in mind your destination the entire road.”

“What is being proposed?” “Making a choice brings clarity and readability. Awareness of another phrase is a starting point.”

“Letting it grow, not make it”.

“10 people, many phrases. One phrase is contagious: Three people pick it up, join and finish the phrase.”

Phrase –> Receiving

“Relating in time to phrases:
– Starting together
– Slow starting after each other –
– Together: A – one phrase and B – three phrase in one”

“Timing, Dynamic, Play!” / “Connect”

To join the upcoming open session on 29th of March or read more about the project, find all information here.

secretlifeofPhrases_opening