Picknick report – summer 2015

Dear picknickers and other Carpet Session interested people,

wpid-cam00263_edited_resized1.jpgunder the influence of banana-muffins and salade á la Johnny we had a very nice meeting on Saturday, 15th of August 2015, and I just wanted to give this report about what we talked about to everyone.

In general, we ate good food and shared our personal wishes and interests in being connected to the Carpet Sessions. We talked about themes, inspirational ideas and organisational issues.

Practical/money things

The main organisational issue of course concerns the costs of the space and how to deal with it on a yearly basis. Outcome of our talking was that we want to try a new way that works like this:

With a group of people that we hope will be 10-18 strong (6 were at the meeting already), we want to share the yearly ‘basic costs’ of the space by giving 50,- each into the pot.

The idea is that you are/become part of this group because you want the Carpet Sessions to continue and grow as an initiative. It hopefully will increase ‘ownership’ so that for example you feel you can use the Carpet Sessions to invite other artists that you are interested to work with (from abroad or from the Netherlands), and that you can bring your ‘own work’ and process it through Carpet Session activity (to name just a few possibilities).
This group could also use the entity of the stichting to apply for funding for improvisation projects, if they would like to.
In practical terms, the 50,- euro work like a abonnement:
– all Carpet sessions that you visit or lead are free for you
– you could make use of the studio personally at any point that it is not used for a session

Next to this, we will keep the five euro rental share p.p. for all other people who are visiting the sessions, and the sentiment in our group was that on one hand it should be a higher amount, to make it a realistic ‘sharing amount’ of all the costs involved with the Carpet Sessions (rental & stichting accountancy), and on the other hand we do want to keep the sessions very accessible and in line with being a ‘sharing of professionals’ rather than a ‘class/workshop’. The idea that came out of the talking was to try for this year a ‘gliding scale’: 5 to 10 euro. And then any ‘guest’ in a session can choose what to contribute according to their ability. We will make a small paper that explains this and that can be handed out, and a box for leaving the coins.

—- A current update on the cost sharing details can be found here. —-


Inspiration summary

I don’t think I can name all the things that passed the table in our conversations, but I want to try name a few.

First summarising a few general needs that I heard from you are met with the existence of the Carpet Sessions:

– the need&wish to stay training as a full improvisation performer (next to other work)
– the ability to share ways of practice and get inspired by other’s approaches
– to have an active/living network with other improvisers
– to have a shared spaced that is filled with ‘processing’ as well as actual performing/composing, but is not about ‘production’

Other things that stood out (in random order):

– the issue of ‘writing about’ and ‘talking about’ improvisation (how on earth can you do that without getting into trouble or getting wholly wooly?) is something that resonated a lot with the picnickers present. How to find the words… The idea became that with the Writing Session planned for 10 September, we can maybe identify a set of tools/mind-sets that make writing down things easy, as a practice for (after/in) any sessions that will happen later this year.

– Natanja mentioned the (in a way opposite) experience of processing with a group and with yourself without any words being spoken: just dance/play/compose for hours on end, and work/find your personal questions and answers through the shared doing. All of us expressed interest in this specific frame as well, and she will make an invitation for this for the first session on 3 September.

– Bettina is offering to bring ‘Critical Response Proces’ into the work (a form of feedback for keeping the autonomy of the process with the artists). My inspiration was to create one or two sessions that look specifically at the way we process/feedback improvisation, using this method as a reference point.

– We shortly talked about the therapeutic/healing use of improvisation, and whether this aspect could be looked at in a Carpet Session – or whether we shouldn’t go there as it is too distant from performance work. As a session that deals with exactly this question (e.g. is in that work an audience/performer relationship? How is the question of ‘performance’ approached in therapeutic work?) it certainly can be a viable topic of research.


Planned sessions for this season (2015/16) to this date:

10 September – Writing on Improvisation II

17+24 September – ‘What is Identity’
sessions with Zwaan de Vries and Nadine Grinberg (more info soon!)
29 October, 12 & 19 November – “Grounding Grooves” (worktitle) exploration into ‘groove’ as a focus for interdisciplinary improvisation, using voice, body, materials (with Bettina Neuhaus and Thomas Johannsen – more info soon)