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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.

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 🙂

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)
          
      

The secret Life of Phrases

voicemovementvoicemovemnt3

The secret Life of Phrases
An investigation into Voice and Movement

A musical phrase, just as a movement phrase are the DNA of any music/dance improvisation performance. They are building blocks, that combined create more complex structures of dance, composition, story…

And what are phrases themselves made of? Sounds, tones, rhythmical relationships in music, and for physical performers: smaller pieces of movements and the way they are pieced together in tension and timing.

Vocal Performers and Dancers lean into each others’ discipline quite often. As for a dancer the use of voice can be seen as just another layer of playing with the body as an instrument, while for a singer the way the voice is affecting the body (and vice versa) is an always present aspect of musical performance.

Working with phrasing means working on a higher level than just producing sounds or movement, which is to say that in instant composition performance, working with your voice or your body cannot simply stay a side-effect of your other, main register in which you improvise. Phrasing means articulating sound or movement in such a way that it takes on a full sense of language as we create.

We have two research questions to approach this subject of interdisciplinarity:

How to integrate voice and movement as an improvisation performer?

On individual level, how can the two registers/languages of voice and movement inform, stimulate and challenge each other in an articulated way? How can the two integrate towards one language?

How to integrate voice/sound and movement as an improvisation ensemble?

In an ensemble with dancers as well as singers, how can we integrate voice and movement into that “one language” that the ensemble speaks?

Marisa Grande and Thomas Johannsen want to combine their experience in order to explore these questions from both sides of the range. While being both multidisciplinary improvisers, Thomas leans probably a bit more towards musicianship through his vocal improvisation work with the Genetic Choir, Marisa comes slightly more from the perspective of movement improvisation through her somatic dance practice.

In the project that we propose, we would like to work with a small group of core-researchers: 4 improvisation singers / 4 improvisation dancers. At the same time, we will open up the research to any other improvisers who are interested to meet the research group and play together on two occasions: the IC practice+performance at Dansmakers.

The whole project is made of 2 Saturdays (open IC practice+performance), and in between 4 afternoons of research in the Carpet studio. Closing the project will be a performance at The Boiler Room in Utrecht and maybe other public gigs that will appear by that time.

Saturday 22 February – IC practice and performance at Dansmakers (16:30-20:00) – practice and performance open to all improvisers
Thursday 6, 13, 20, 27 March – research sessions in the Carpet studio – research ensemble only (14:00-17:00)
Saturday 29 March – IC practice and performance at Dansmakers (16:30-20:00) – practice session open to all / performance will be done by the research ensemble
Sunday 30 March (to be confirmed) – Performance in Het Huis Utrecht, in the Boiler Room series

The Carpet Sessions know a studio-costs share of 5 euro p.p. per session. Read more about the Carpet Sessions here.
The IC Practice on Saturdays knows a contribution of 15 euro p.p. per session to share the (higher) costs of the Dansmakers space. For this particular collaboration with the Carpet Research it will be 7,50 for the core group members to compensate for their bigger commitment.
(the money is solely to cover costs and any possible surplus will go to supporting the respective initiatives)

The project is a collaboration between the Genetic Choir, the Carpet Research and the monthly IC Practice in Amsterdam that has been initiated by Iris van Peppen and Marisa Grande.

As with all Carpet Research sessions, we are looking for performers with artistic maturity and capacity to contribute to the unfolding process from their own practice.

Please respond if you either just would like to be part of the process on one or both of the Saturdays, or if you would be interested to join the core group on all the dates and performances. We will select the core group to create an interesting mix of individuals.

Don’t hesitate to tell us you are interested, even if you still have date-issues to solve. Let us know and we will get in contact with you.

We are awaiting your reactions until 31st of December and will announce the research ensemble shortly afterwards.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Marisa & Thomas

The dreamer and the observer 2013

Hello everyone,

This is a call for participants for a research project that will happen in January (31) and February (14, 21) 2013 and where I would be very please to welcome you.

This project aims to develop a methodological approach that would facilitate dance music performances creation by giving a specific framework based on the archetypal notions of the “Dreamer” and the “Observer”.

The point of departure for this research originates from my experience as a dance performer, with extended experience in improvisation approaches, and from the work of Authentic Movement, philosophy and phenomenology, Vipassana meditation, neurosciences research, Shamanism, Continuum Movement, the Jungian and humanistic approaches in psychology.

When I refer to the “observer” I mean the internal witness, the voice of our inner self, perceivable through feelings and sensations. The “observer” give us a sense of self and being present in the here and now. The Observer is at the core of the experience.

When I refer to the “dream” or the “dreamer” I mean the creative capacity of the psyche to project sensations, feelings, images…it is a mental activity that we experience in everyday life when our thoughts navigate between insights, memories, mental projections, creation of futures and imagination. The dreamer’s space is dimensional, virtual, endless, and infinite.

The first stage is to be aware of impulses, and to locate from which places they come from. We use impulses originating from the body or the mind through imagination and sensory awareness; it becomes the primary source of the dream.

We project the content of the dream into a performing space of awareness, with the help of the observer. The goal is to project these impulses in the room and to manifest them physically in a creative and performing act.

These impulses may come from a physical, emotional, mental or unconscious place, the “observer” is in charge of tracking and locating them in our system and to give permission and consciousness for the “dream” to unfold. The “dream” is actualized through creative expression of movements, sounds, dances, play, characters, actions or anything that is manifested through possible forms of body’ expressions.

This approach follows psycho-physiological processes as a base for a creative action, more than a technical approach. The performance is then not based on technical mastery but upon the capacity to create within oneself clear and strong imagery, dance, theater and situations that will engage an audience.

The method becomes then appropriate for amateur, non-professional or for anybody wanting to explore his or her creativity, and more largely it is a performing approach giving to individuals ways to perform their own potential.

I hope we can share some of the research together and I am looking forward to meet all artists interested in this process.

more infos: What are the Carpet Sessions? / Where is the studio?  (click here)

Sylvain Meret

Structured/Scored Improvisation in January/February

This is an early announcement and call for participants for a research project I will be doing in January/February 2013, focusing on structured group improvisation. This project is part of my studies’ research on composing for interdisciplinary, collaborative improvisation groups, and it combines the composition of scores with composing in the moment through improvisation.

WHEN: This research project will happen in 3 sessions: 17th and 24th of January, and 7th of February 2013, from 13:00 to 17:00. Please note that the sessions are sequential, which means you need to commit to attending all three of them.

WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN: In these sessions, we’ll be exploring in detail just how a pre-fabricated score or set of rules can be used as a starting point for group improvisation and collaborative composition, as well as a tool for achieving connectedness between the improvisers. It is already stated in this blog’s Knowledge Base that “crisp and open interaction does not happen without a shared, transparent context,” and that “the more you have a clear picture of the context you are in, […] the more connected you will feel” with the other performers. My wish is to explore how could a score provide this very transparency and clarity of context for interaction to happen; in other words, how can a score, that is composed especially for improvisers, be designed in such a way that it conditions interaction and expression, and could become a helpful support for the sought-after precision, control and focus within an improvisation context. Can a score solve problems of performance, while subtly adding to the complexity of the improvising moment?

As a classically trained composer myself, I’m also interested in how does the role of the composer change within such a context and when facing these questions. I don’t have a particular vision or idea about what the final “product” of the sessions will be. All I know is that we will use a score as a starting point for experimentation and discussion, and that while tackling the aforementioned questions (and others that will come up during the process) a performative event will emerge out of our sessions. On the last day of the sessions we’ll be doing an informal sharing, where we’ll invite a group of friends and colleagues to come and watch, give us feedback, and discuss about our findings and process.

WHO: I encourage experienced improvisers and performers from any artistic background to sign up. As I already mentioned, it’s required that the participants commit to all 3 sessions; unfortunately I deem this necessary, because the work will be created in collaboration with the group, and it will grow based on our day-to-day work throughout the three sessions.

If you are interested please let me know by the 20th of December, so that I can then organise the group and prepare the score accordingly. You can sign up to the sessions by posting a comment below this post.

Also note that the sessions will be documented in video and audio, for archiving and research purposes. The plan is then to create a small documentary of the sessions, to be posted online as a research film and also accompany my thesis. (We’re looking for two cameramen! Let me know if you know someone.)

Normally participants of the Carpet Sessions are asked to donate a small amount, so that the rent of the studio can be covered. However, I’m looking for some funding at the moment, so maybe this cost could be paid for you. (I will keep you posted.) You can find more about the Carpet Sessions (info, address, etc) here.

This message is an early invitation to the sessions, so some things might change on the way! More info will follow in December, about the details of the research questions, the score, the group formation etc. Looking forward to your messages and participation!

ABOUT ME: I’m Kiriakos Spirou, a composer and pianist from Cyprus, currently studying Music Design at the Utrecht School for the Arts, while also doing research at Bournemouth University in the UK. You can find out more about me and my work on my blog. You can also stalk me on Facebook/kiriakos.spirou. I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have via kirispirou@gmail.com, or in the comments below.