improvisation issues – Quality


A first proposal for discussion.

This page is about quality in improvisation work, which has at least two different aspects:

  • how to assess and evaluate improvisation performances
  • how to asses and evaluate improvisation working concepts

“Quality” is a highly loaded, often misused and therefore problematic word. On the other hand, it seems to be one of the most accessible words we have in common usage to describe whether something is ‘worth our time’.

Whether something is ‘worth our time’ is of course highly subjective. From practical experience however, quality also seems to be something that we have a common sense for. Usually, a group of people can have difficulties to come on the same page with each other about what is ‘worth our time’ if the context of what we are trying to achieve is not clear. But in social or performative situations that have great clarity, usually, there is also a lot of inter-subjective agreement about quality.

So what can be said about ‘quality’ and ‘clarity’ in improvisation work? Can it be described without making the mistake to talk about our tastes (in for example aesthetics or performance styles)?

Is it possible to invent ways to evaluate improvisation processes in such a way that it is not judging the ‘aesthetics’ used, but rather that it simply deepens our understanding of such processes and what is needed to make them ‘work’? Along which parameters could we assess the value of these processes?
(For example, if the type of improvisation events that someone creates are not my cup of tea, I can still relate to the underlying improvisation principles and get inspired by the particular strategies that make these kinds of moments possible.)

So, fully conscious about the fact that this is not an easy subject, let us gather – for example – which kind of strategies improvisation practitioners use to ensure ‘quality’ in their work.

Or maybe you want to suggest a completely different way of treating this subject (under a different term than ‘quality’)?  🙂

Please react, add, etc..!

NOTE: This chapter maybe belongs in the section ‘Improvisation Issues’ (because how to discuss quality in improvisation work is especially difficult) just as much as it belongs in the section ‘Performance Issues’ (because how to asses ‘what is good art?’ is in general a rather thorny question, and might be related)

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