teachback Berlin #2 2015
In collaboration with associated partner HZT Berlin
Feedback Lab #2 “Audiences”
Sonja Augart (Berlin based artist)
Jenny Beyer (Hamburg based artist)
Josephine Findeisen (HZT student)
Bush Hartshorn (Copenhagen based arts presenter and mentor)
Eva-Maria Hoerster (Berlin based arts curator and educator)
Angela Mayer-Deutsch (Tanz- and Theaterscouting Berlin)
Sybille Peters (Hamburg based artist and researcher, head of “Forschungstheater Hamburg”)
Charlotte Vandevyver (Brussels/Leuven based arts presenter)
Ana Vujanovic (Berlin/Belgrade based arts theoretician and cultural worker)
Andrea Spirkl (Berlin based cultural worker)
Eva Meyer-Keller (Berlin based artist)
Sheena McGrandles (Berlin based artist)
Nik Haffner (Berlin based arts educator)
Inge Koks (Amsterdam based cultural worker)
Olive Schellander (Wien based artist)
In its second edition the Laboratory on Feedback in Artistic Processes focused on contemporary feedback culture in regards to the audience. What can public feedback with audiences do for the artist and the audience itself? The laboratory explored alternatives to the artistic exchange based on explanation and justification (e.g. the format of the explanatory artist talk).
Some of the issues that the laboratory focused on were: What kind of feedback is needed where, and who benefits discussing the artists’ work: the artist, the audience community and/or the broader cultural context and public? How can public feedback shape communities and a public sphere?
The practical and experimental part of the laboratory included the format of „Feedback lab goes public“ where a number of different methods were tried out with the audience at Tanztage 2015 right after (or before) the performances.
Each participant of the laboratory presented his or her own experiences within the topic at hand:
- Bush Hartshorn introduced the Liz Lerman feedback methodology. He explained the basic steps:
1) Introduce yourself as feedback giver (establish a contact)
2) Affirmative Feedback (say what you appreciated about the work seen)
3) Open question (ask the artist a question you have with the regards to the work)
4) Opinion time (e.g. „I have an opinion about the way you use diagonals, do you want to hear it?“)
The Liz Lerman methodology aims at making the feedback giver aware of his or her power position and is facilitating a process in which negative critique is not immediately and bluntly uttered. The feedback giver has a responsibility in this and by following the steps trains his- or herself to be gentle and respectful tot he work and the artist who made it. This feedback methodology seems to postpone harsh criticism, is a ‚help in civility’, in being nice, graceful, polite & gentile and requires both feedback givers and artists to listen and to avoid talking too much.
- Ana Vujanovic gave a lecture on the position of public debate on art in the 18th century and the ways it shaped the public sphere and laid out the ideological basis of modern day society. There are two problems within the situation of feedback and public opinion. One has to do with the concept of education. The artist is considered to be the expert/genius and know it all. His/her opinion becomes too valuable in the public debate on art. The other problem attains to the freedom of speech and the question how absolute this freedom is. Can we say anything or are we bound to ethical borders?
She introduces the Illegal Cinema, which got initiated in Serbia when there were only commercial blockbuster films to be seen. The Illegal Cinema has a collective, democratic base: with every new film presentation somebody else can choose and introduce the film. He or she is also responsible for raising audiences and moderating the talk afterwards. It resulted in an eclectic program, which included a lot of different people and communities.
- Eva Meyer-Keller did a presentation on her former work in a performative way. She pointed on the element of embarrassment within this way of feedback and she wondered in what way embarrassment is part in other formats of feedback.
- Sybille Peters introduces her project The Art of Measuring, in which she uses feedback as a motor in creative and artistic processes. In The Art of Measuring artists work together with scientists and include workshops with children on alternative ways of measuring.
- Charlotte Vandevyver is listing, together with the group, several formats in which audiences are included in artistic feedback sessions:
Compañeros (Buda Arts Center Kortrijk)
Nordpulse Hamburg (backstage experiences)
Freie Volksbühne (Charlottenburg)
Meeting Choreographers / K3 Hamburg (course parallel to a piece)
Mezze Talks/ Het Veem Theater
X-factor Kampnagel (blind date)
Frascati / 3h evening programme , moderation: estafette
Conversation kitchen (Copenhagen)
Le Patron ( try-out system: non artist commission & work , coming from communities)
The Field method
Kitchen Talk HZT ( 2 people from different fields coming in)
Feedback of clapping („cluckers“)
Contemporary Arts Alliance (Berlin) witnessing response of artists
Tanzscout: dialogue between company
Mobile Academy Modell (one table for each member of a group)
- Sonja Augart and Inge Koks recount their experiences with the four feedback formats they tried out on the audiences of Tanztage Berlin. They tried the following formats:
1. Mapping (draw what you have seen in the performance);
2. Physical introduction and after talk (participants of the introduction learnt some of the movements which are part of the performance);
3. Chain reaction (one by one spectators say what they saw in the performance. The following spectator needs to use one part of what the one before him/her has said);
4. Associations (every participant is asked to list 10 words with regards to the performance he/she just saw).
Generally speaking, this alternative after talks worked quite well. Participants could easily enter into the games and discussions. Specific knowledge on dance and art was not necessary; the formats were mainly focussed on the experiences and ideas of the spectators. However, to make these formats more interesting, both for artists and spectators, and to make more in-depth connections to the artwork and to facilitate discussion there is a need for further experimentation and exploration.
- Jenny Beyer did a warm-up and cool down on a performance in Tanztage Berlin. Besides the physical work (movement, feeling the space and other choreographic instruments) the participants were asked to do at the end a two-minute automatic writing exercise. The artist of the performance was not present, but he got these texts produced through the automatic writing.
The laboratory ended with a concluding session in which there was the possibility to discuss topics not yet discussed or go more in-depth in the topics raised:
- Are these formats of public feedback worthwhile for the artist and for the spectator as well?
- Feedback as a chance to shape public discourse: we do not have one public any more, as was the case in the 18th century. We have many heterogeneous publics today. We should think more about exclusion and inclusion within the public sphere and look back at the development of art and audience from the point when art became a commodity and the public started to pay for it.
- How are other ways than verbal feedback useful and when? Could we experiment more with what form of communication or tools we could apply in what context? How is non-verbal feedback shareable? More time to elaborate the methods of and when we give feedback through speaking and when through e.g. drawing, images, using your own body, games and so on.
- How can we feedback on institutions (e.g. through audience feedback forms)?
16.01.15 - 18.01.15