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a living/moving Wikipedia for Improvisation

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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.

Gathering to close the season: 30 June 2016

Dear improvisers,

let’s gather next week Thursday (13:00-17:00) to play / improvise / talk and close the Carpet Season of Interdisciplinary Instant Composition together.

We can look back and ahead, or just enjoy each others company in performing and being. It’s up to us!

For an idea of how big the group will be, please announce if you want to come as well by writing a comment to this post below.

There will be at least 11 of us: Johnny, Kristien, Weijke, Suzan, Tanaquil, Thomas, Zwaan, James, Esmeralda, Manuela & Natanja

See you then!

Thomas

Clowning Around: Instant Composition with a Red Nose

Hello Improvisers! On Thursday June 16th and 23rd, Suzan Lemont (along with as yet unknown research partner) will lead sessions around the theme of creating instant composition performances as a clown (using only the red nose, though we may explore what else might be useful/necessary in this endeavor or if the nose is even necessary).

NO EXPERIENCE WITH CLOWNING NECESSARY – these are sessions for the curious and the brave. I have red noses for 15 people but feel free to bring your own if you have one. And any other attributes you think would be fun/interesting to explore (& try not to get attached to being able to use it 😉 )Statue with red nose
The main aspects we will focus on: creating meaningful spontaneous performances with people you may not have ever worked with before, using either only a red nose as prop, or possibly going completely “naked” (prop-wise; don’t worry we’re not going to run around with no clothes on 😉 ) but still keeping in the spirit of being a clown. This brings up these questions (for me – this might change depending on who I find as research partner, or in the sessions themselves as the process unfolds within the group):
* the minimum required to be able to call it “clowning”.

* how does the use of a single attribute (the red nose) shape the performance, provide structure, open up or limit the possibilities?

* exploring the effects of the metaphorical and actual use of the red nose, and other clown attributes
* how is it possible to partner up with someone, perhaps a perfect stranger, and perform improvisationally? And then in culturally varied contexts.

* Can you make a meaningful performance with a nearly complete stranger and minimum of preparation?

* What role does language and defining the parameters play in the preparation stage, and does it impact the performance itself, or does clowning have the possibility to supercede the normal language engagements? And if yes or no, what makes the difference- is it the amount of experience/training each person brings to the performance, a question of matching characters, context, pure craziness/willing to take risks…?

I trained in Expressive Arts Therapy practices, and one of those was clowning, so I’m also interested in using these practices with various populations; most especially people who have experienced trauma, displacement, or have language barriers. This research will potentially help inform my choices and open up the work to previously unavailable audiences.
This is a deep well of complex and exciting questions and this is only a small cupful of the water from the well, I hope you’ll feel compelled to join in the play! Bring writing materials as well – I expect many ideas, more questions, and introspection to arise. You can direct questions to Suzan at suzanlemont@gmail.com or by leaving a comment below.

Proposed structure of sessions:
13:00-13:15 Arrival & settle in
13:15-13:30 Framing the sessions
13:30-14:00 Warm up led by Suzan and/or partner
14:00-16:00 Explorations unfolding

There are requests to use the studio for private work, so I have made this schedule to end at 16:00 to make some space for that, but if the requesters done’t need or are unable to use the space for just that hour we can go on until 17:00.

It should be a rich and stimulating afternoon. Hope you’ll come and play!

LANGUAGE ~ fish°hooks

28 April (13:00 – 17.00), Vredenburg studio

Session III on language in improvised performance, guided by Ron Bunzl & Ralph de Rijke

In this follow-up to the sessions on 10 and 31 March we will use tropes from other, more familiar disciplines to play with words, casting them like fish-hooks to catch meanings and images rising up from the depths of our imagination and memory. Words and silence. Movement and stillness. Things experienced and remembered. Things envisioned and recalled in the here and now, in the action of the moment. Speaking truthfully, and making every word count.

Ron Bunzl and Ralph de Rijke

RESPONSIBILITY – the ability to respond

RESPONSIBILITY – the ability to respond

After “The speaking body and the speaking bubble”, the first Carpet session investigation into speaking, we continue to explore the challenges of improvisation with words on March 31, 2016 (doors open at 14h session begins 14:15 – 17h)

Improvisation is the art of being in the now, following the flow of what emerges and making choices as to how to respond and develop what is happening as it unfolds into what is becoming. This also naturally applies to improvised text, but for many of us it is a struggle to make words free, authentic, and poetic.

So as performers we often fear the weight of words. They can shut us down and kill the magic that’s unfolding. Talking seems to be a huge responsibility. That’s exactly what we want to explore! 

Responsibility is also the ability to respond – to move with, and be moved by, the waves our words create – like stones tossed into the still waters of a pond. Attentively listening, feeling, and following the drift our words set in motion.

During this session we will use interdisciplinary improvisational structures and exercises designed to evoke, trigger and play with words.

We will play with words like fish-hooks thrown out to catch meanings and images rising up from the depths of our imagination and memory. Words and silence. Movement and stillness. Things felt, experienced and remembered. Things envisioned and things recalled in the here and now, in the action of the moment. Poetry in motion.

Ron Bunzl and Ralph de Rijke

Session 2 about the Speaking Performer: March, 31st

Just to inform you briefly that after last week’s inspiring kick-off session of “The speaking body and the speaking bubble”, Ron Bunzl and Ralph de Rijke will take over the facilitation of a follow-up session on

31st of March 2016

They will be posting their invitation and ideas in due course, but if you are interested, you can already reserve the date!

 

The speaking body and the speaking bubble

Inspired by a recent Action Theatre workshop Maria Michailidou and me joined with Sten Rudstrom, we wanted to dedicate a number of sessions on looking at the act of speaking/producing words in Improvisation context.

We will do this for the first time in a Carpet Session on the

10th of March 2016

13:00 (doors open/warming up) / 13:30-17:00 work session

Not only improv theatre has usually lots of ‘speaking bodies’ on stage, but also in music, dance and other performative events, someone speaking tends to appear ever so often. Sometimes prominent, sometimes only as a minor event.

We will look at both the enjoyment and pitfalls of speaking in improvisation performance and depart from a physical/body approach to the act of talking.

More so than maybe other Carpet Sessions, this will be a truly open research, as we just feel the necessity to train and research this aspect of improvisation from an interdisciplinary (rather than a purely theatrical) context more deeply.

The session is open to everyone and we are very curious towards all knowledge/experience to the subject that will be shared by other professionals who will join.

What are the Carpet Sessions? / Where is the studio

The session will be facilitated by Maria Michailidou and Thomas Johannsen, in collaboration with the group who will gather.

Please let us know if you want to come by writing a comment to this post, below.

 

 

Call for research sessions 2016

Fireworks-1Happy New Year to you all!

We are looking back at a buzzing half year of virtually every Thursday a session on a specific theme, lead by our pool of improvisation professionals from various disciplines. Thanks a lot for that!

So what’s up for the coming months?  Esther Eij will do at least one more “Can I go solo?” session about the dynamics of group vs. soloists, and Bettina Neuhaus and me are brooding on a fitting follow-up for the very fruitful “Groove & Ground” research we had. Are there other plans that I don’t know about?

Do you want lead a research? You are welcome!
The agenda is still very open. Please let us know if you would like to make use of the Carpet Research Studio to facilitate a session on a theme that you are interested in between now and June 2016. A one-off session or a series of multiple sessions, all is possible.

Get in touch here.

With warm greetings and a big hug to everyone!

Thomas

(What are the Carpet Sessions? click here)

 

Open session Can I go solo? 17-12 postponed!!

The last session of Can I go solo? on december 17th, will be postponed till january 2016. Please keep an eye on this blog for the exact date and time so i can keep you updated!!

For now; i wish everyone a great holiday and a smashing 2016.

Esther

Second round of ‘Can i go solo?’ starts december 3. 13.00-1530. Welcome!

3/10/17 december 13.00-15.30

A new series of three sessions start next week. artists from any discipline (performing ans non-performing) are welcome to join us in the search for balancing the groupwork and solowork within improvisation. What makes us a group, how do we perform as a group, how can i go solo within the group, where is my timing, our energy, how does it flow?

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor group

all these questions came up in the previous series. Now we want to continue our work.

if you want to know what happened in the previous sessions, read our summary below

Leave a respons if you want to join in.

https://instantcomposition.wordpress.com/carpet-collective/

There was a sense of Rebellion”

About Can I go solo?

Three sessions have taken place by now.

In these three sessions we worked with actors, musicians, dancers, visual artists.

A lot of questions arose during the work. We wrote them down to share, but we didn’t try to come to a group answer on them. Everyone found their own answers (or not). The ones i write down here are a combination of our shared observations and my personal thoughts on the subject.

Questions written down were:

  • What is my relationship to groups 4-20 people? How do I explore that physically, sonically, etc.?
  • if you are are so together as a group, how do you start a new initiative? When do you leave what you do and adept/imitate?
  • Is being a group truly in what you do or in being aware the others are doing/starting something else? (how to make it organic instead of dropping it immediately)
  • How to keep personal freedom within a group.
  • Where’s the balance between following-leading?
  • Is it possible to follow and lead at the same time by all at once? A group mind which also listens to the individual?
  • What is the role of patience?
  • In which layer can we do “all the same”? Surrender to actual copying and trust that this will lead to something else?
  • Can a solo be created organically through group work or the sensitivity of the group?
  • Do you (I) dare to ‘take the stage’ in group work?
  • Can i tune into group thought the focus of developing solo material? During the sessions a lot of questions arose. Such as:
  • Are you a soloist when you are the only one doing something (e.g. a remark on being the only one with a certain expertise in the group)
  • Are you having a solo moment when you are not doing what everybody else does, but are still attributing to the impro?
  • What does it mean to be together and how does that relate to different disciplines?
  • How do we become a group thanks to our diverse background, instead of in spite of that.
  • How can we use our own expertise/background/discipline to contribute to this improvisational set

Observations on GROUP:

We started our research by doing the same thing all together at the same time. There was no audience, everybody was improvising all the time, the whole time. This lead to the following remarks:

Not copying defines the group, but focusing on the same while doing different things.

A group becomes interesting to watch when you can still see the individuals within the group.

Feeling part of the group came with a feeling of organic mood/rhythm/movement.

There was a sense of rebellion, which leads to making small changes to the given group theme: was this impatience or evolution?

The second and third sessions we worked with a more structured way of improvising. There was audience, and the structure meant we started with an empty space, and one by one we would start improvising, up to a maximum of 4 performers. This way we wanted to create more room, time and space for all the elements we encountered in the first session. It gave us the possibility to observe the process more. These are some observations on those sessions.

What makes us a group? The very fact that we are in this room, concentrating on the same work, makes us a group. But then we find there are groups within groups.

The performers are a group, the visual artists are a group, the audience is a group. You can play with this. You can try to diffuse the boundaries between these sub-groups by not acknowledging the difference. If you consider everyone who is physically present as part of the group, then you create a kind of confusion for everyone about the part their taking in the improvisation (e.g. Is there an audience, when you consider the audience a part of the improvisers?)

TRUST was a word that came up more and more; trusting your group members to focus on the same thing as you. Trusting the each other to follow and lead when it feels necessary. But also trusting yourself to change or alter the improvisations form/energy/etc. When you think it necessary.

It appears that often everyone felt the action needed to change, but no one dared taking charge and break or shift the action. So group ca also mean no one dares to take initiative.

Trusting the group gives a natural rhythm to the improvisation.

Waiting long enough to be/ feel like a group seems to be important.

ADDING and BUILDING and DIVERSIFY:

We defined a difference between the several actions you can take as a group;

You can ADD to one another’s action. Meaning a does something, and B steps in and does something to counter it, or support it or, broaden it.

but you can also BUILD. This would mean, A starts with an action, B steps in and does the same, so does C, D, etc. By committing our self to this one action as a group, we narrow down and intensify the action until a climax is reached, after which something new can start to happen.

DIVERSIFYING would mean that every group member has an individual action, but is still very much aware of the actions of all the other performers. So there is still a group work going on, although it is not immediately clear on sight what the group focus is. It’s just the TRUST between all the group members that our mutual focus will keep us together.

On the matter of SOLO:

Does solo work exist within a group? Or is it merely a continuous shifting of focus, between doing the same thing, to everybody doing something individual to one person doing something different from the rest, with all the group giving their attention?

Also solo moments can work as a tool for changing the group energy ans rhythm. It bends/breaks/shifts the ongoing flow.

Solo can be:

a new starting point

the shifting of focusing

breaking the energy.

On MULTIDISCIPLINARITY

In the first session the performing group seemed to be a more dominant subgroup within the group. Fast decision making, feedback, action, leading. Whereas the non-performing artists seemed more observant, following, silent. After talking about this the next session, there was more room for different kind of impulses and initiative. More visual actions, more awareness of space, colour, sound. And a greater sense of freedom by everyone to bring in any impulse or action you wanted. This freedom led to a beautiful series of moments where performance, colour, sound and spacing came together. This freedom seemed to give us more sensitivity for each others’ impulses and more possibilities to explore new grounds.