Wild Card residency Elisabeth Raymond & Nazanin Fakoor in Berlin
Elisabeth Raymond, chosen by Cullberg Ballet, and Nazanin Fakoor, chosen by workspacebrussels, participated in the “Tour Through Tanztage Berlin”, offered and hosted by Uferstudios Berlin.
Tour Through Tanztage
The participants: Elisabeth Raymond, Nazanin Fakoor and the Berlin based artists Juliana Piquero, Agata Siniarska, Zeina Hanna Inge Koks.
In the Tour Through Tanztage five artists (three based in Berlin and two from the LLB partner organisations Cullberg Ballet and Workspace Brussels) saw all performances in the dance festival Tanztage Berlin. Next to this, Uferstudios organized five afternoon sessions to talk about the performances, their own work and important topics in the practice of the contemporary emerging artists in Europe.
Thursday 7 January: general rehearsal Dragana Bulut
Friday 8 January: getting to know each other + introduction in thematics
Friday 8 January: performance Antonio Onio + Braulio Bandeira, performance Aline Landreau, Roderick George
Saturday 9 January: general rehearsal Hyunsin Kim, performance Colectivo AM
Sunday 10 January: discussing performances and first talks on thematics
Monday 11 January: general rehearsal Sara Mikolai, performances Ania Nowak and Kareth Schaffer
Tuesday 12 January: discussing performance and further talks on thematics
Wednesday 13 January: general rehearsal Rike Flämig and Zwoisy Mears Clarke, performance Mirjam Sögner, performance Jule Flierl and Rocio Marano
Thursday 14 January: discussing performances and further talks on thematics
Friday 15 January: general rehearsal Tümay, performance Karol Tyminski
Saturday 16 January: discussing performances and closing talks, talk with curator Tanztage
Sunday 17 January: Open Studio and performance Rodrigo Alves
Reports by the participants:
“It was a new and thought-provoking experience to meet other artists mainly through discussions and reflections about the works of others we watched together rather than immediately talk about our own work or artistically to collaborate. To watch the whole program of the Tanztage Festival and exchange views was a fabulous way to get to know the Berliner performance scene. And the presence of the three artists from Berlin in our group made it easier to understand more clearly the context and situation of the artists in Berlin. But also our different backgrounds (professional and cultural) made our debate about artistic views, influences and currents more profound. Inge Koks’ presence and later the meeting with the director of the Festival Anna Mülter was stimulating to change my point of view to the curators perspective and to seize the conditions in which the works were created, the aims and strategic choices of the curator and to groupthink about what it means to promote ourselves as artists, discourse about production and curating. Finally I feel to have opened a window not only to an artistic scene but to a whole way of critical thinking and exchanging between artists and curators. And last but not least finding myself constantly in the position of the spectator during 10 days was very inspiring and intriguing regarding my own work in which the research about the relationship between the stage and the audience occupies a central place. »
„Tour through Tanztage was a great experience that gave a me a rich insight on the berlin dance scene and allowed me to share and learn about our similarities and differences with fellow artist based in Berlin and Brussels. There was introduced a platform for free reflections and more structured thematic ones, this
intertwining with seeing all the shows of the Tanztage felt like a good way of being introduced to spaces central for the Berlin dance scene such as Sophiensäle and Uferstudios. This generated great unexpected meetings and new connections with the people of the Berlin dance community. Meeting the other artists of the workgroup and Inge, we did not have our own work in the centre of attention, but instead, we were getting to know each other by reflecting upon the pieces that we saw, and our working conditions. It felt like a relief, a protest against the constant pressure of producing and branding yourself, which I otherwise find so omnipresent in the world of a young choreographer. I found the reflections after seeing work to be highly constructive as the question; how would WE do it otherwise? were often asked. This created a space where a collective imaginary creation was
born, a space I enjoyed being within. The topics that came up and were discussed, made me reflect upon my own work and enriched my strategies of creation, bringing in more perspectives and hopefully allowing me to produce more coherent work in the future.
One topic we discussed that particularly stayed with me was;
How to make a strategy for creating art in a world driven by economy?
The experience that the economical aspects reduces and limits ones imagination was shared within the work group. Choosing to make solos instead of group pieces because its cheaper, reducing the time of the rehearsals, creating ”safer” work because to experiment and fail costs too much, using cheaper props etc. There was an overall sensation of frustration, which doesn't necessarily needs to be bad, out of frustration comes a lot of great things, but the urgency of discussing it felt clear, the need for a labours union. This discussion felt like only a beginning, like we were just getting started. Within me, a seed has been planted and is growing further on wherever I go. The old mystified role of the artist has abandoned itself for the market economy forcing the freelancing artist to spend most of our time on being our own producers, writing applications, branding
ourselves etc. When do we have time to create? And from where do we then want to create, since the creation then always becomes a conversation with my funding buddies. I found seeing the many shows of the festival to be a great opportunity to study how the contemporary scene reflects these questions, often communicating the frustration, without it necessarily being the main topic of the work.
A question I would ask for future exchanges would be whether or not its possible to introduce more physical working lab within the program, allowing to share also some of our physical practices, since we all are working with that. Overall I had a great experience, which gave me new perspectives and discourses. Meeting and
exchanging with interesting artist, It also felt as a good thing to do in the point of my career, being a young choreographer, it was good to meet and discuss strategies of surviving this in this field.
Sincerely, Elisabeth Raymond“
Report by Inge Koks, who moderated the talks:
“For a curator and producer in the theatre and dance world, the “Tour Through Tanztage” was offering an inspiring and insightful experience. In the five talking sessions a lot was discussed. Below the topics which stood out for me.
First, the discussion of the work seen in Tanztage with five artists shows how knowledge of creation strategies constructs ways of seeing and ways for analysis of other work. Besides hearing other artist’s opinions on the piece, it gives insight on how (parts of) dance work can be created. I can imagine this is especially interesting for young choreographers. Not only do they hear about other people’s opinions and strategies, this could also be a way of imagining (together) how one could solve these possible problematic issues and find new solutions – as an experimental lab for young artists who are usually not able to produce and create so much work themselves.
Second, several artists in Tour Through Tanztage commented on the urgency/necessity/drive to make work. How to realize that in a time and in a place where a lot of artists ‘compete’ for the same funding and where there are little structures for support. Can you still call yourself a choreographer when you work so little time as an actual choreographer? Can you still call it work or is it something else? It feels like work, taking into account that the biggest part of the work of the choreographer is not making choreographies but doing applications, network, promote and set up the production. Is this what the choreographic work (or work of the future maybe) is all about: no longer a craft, a developed skill, acquired knowledge through practice, but mostly a personal drive and urgency? Some artists said the work reflects this as well: artists are making work (solely) about the specifics of their own life, more interested in staging their own immediate experiences than looking at more universal subjects. I find it interesting to see if the concept of work has indeed changed in the art world and if it might be a precursor of future status of work in general, as happened with the dispersion of freelance work. Besides that, if the work is getting more and more personal, also the spectator will need to find another relationship to what s/he is watching.
Third, stemming from watching the Mexican performances in the Tanztage program we discussed if we can access artwork from a totally different cultural background and context or if art needs a similar context of reception and creation to be understood, appreciated and/or acknowledged. The Tanztage festival includes performances made in non-western context to challenge the western discourse and broaden it up. This is important. The globalised world already also introduces us to many more cultural outings, products and perspectives from all over the world. Still, the question remains: are we able to access such work of art? No easy answers here, so it seems from our little group. We did discuss the acceptance of the spectator to not know or to not understand while experiencing art. It can change our view to see something not made by the white male, the predominant producers of art and culture in our society. It is good to see something we are not used to, we can be touched by it. But the question more or less remains the same: can we appreciate it beyond the element of strangeness, exoticism or otherness. Unfortunately we were not able to continue the conversation, but a willingness of the spectator to try and the responsibility of the maker to include tools for translation might be first steps….
Fourth, we had a long discussion if the audience needs to know the budget and production conditions of the presented performances. Many of the performances made and shown in Tanztage are made with very little money and short periods of rehearsal time. Is it important for an audience to know this or should the work stand on it’s own and not be ‘tainted’ by this knowledge? A lot of critique I heard, not only within our own Tour Through Tanztage group, is easily connected to the lack of time and money. But since this is not known, it could have its effect on people’s assumption on the skills and competence of the artist. Most performances, more and more so in Tanztage itself, are presented with an air of professionalism, which is in sharp contrast with the actual working conditions. Doesn’t the audience need to know? Even though there first was an inclination of the artists in our group to communicate this, slowly this changed. This message would colour the experience and appreciation of the artwork and could make it into something it is not. For me personally, it would be interesting to think about ways to express the production conditions of the piece and to push the responsibility of festivals and theatres to rethink their programs (amount of productions, days etc.) and ways of communication about the work and the conditions they are made in.”
07.01.16 - 18.01.16