Wild Card residency for Isadora Tomasi, Viktorjia Ilioska, Marko Pejovic, Yen Chin-Lin
Isadora Tomasi chosen by Veem, Viktorija Ilioska chosen by Lokomotiva, Marko Pejovic by Station, Yen Chin-Lin by workspacebrussels
Participation at the Month of Research and it’s Critical Practice Sessions
organised by Uferstudios
Report Marko Pejović, Serbia
If research (following Borgdorff, 20111) takes place when person(s) carry out a study to enhance knowledge and understanding, it seems that process in „Month of research“ programme really had researching nature. I was member of a group working on proposal no.2: Borys Charmartz or how Y became a famous male French choreographer and I suppose that getting knowledge and understanding was probably different for the different members of the group. This should especially consider the fact that this group was formed practically during three weeks. During the first week, two members of the group where present, as the 3d one was expected to arrive at the end of the first week. By the end of the 2nd week a 4th member arrived to reinforce the structure. Therefore, part of the field of research and methodology, changed as the composition of the group was changing. Furthermore, the expenditure of the group, transformed the group dynamics. The turning in the group atmosphere was accompanied by a change in expectations from the results of a certain phase of work.
I week – verbal dialogues and inspirations
The first week was the period of getting to know the members of the group (actually a working pair - Alexandra Zoey and me) and the time where the intention was aimed at more detailed knowledge of what we understood was the proposal. Therefore, we dealt with the question of the relationship of neoliberal capitalism to the artist (Kunst)2 the creation of “star system” (Marina Abramović)3, the unification of artistic practice, and the creation of a brand so that the product and the artist can be placed on the market as best as possible.
We also dealt with identity politics (Jerome Bel)4, class issues in the artistic context, the profiles of successful artists, and the question of "happiness" and support in crucial moment (Pina Bausch) in achieving success... We investigated the ways of mystifying the artist through the creation of micronarratives in their biographies. But also, we addressed the question of crisis of capitalism (Kotz5 and Djordjev6) and how we support its living and why.
So, for me (like the one who deals with theories of culture) this was a process of recalling the different references and re-articulation of my starting positions in relation to them.
II week – becoming a group
On the second week of work, a third member (Enrico L'Abbate) joined our working community, and with that, became a group. We tried to transfer some information we had before to the new member. At the same time, it was necessary to work on the formation of the group. The questions that we posted to us were - Do we perceive that the group is more than a number of individuals? Can this group form some identity? Except the fact that we became more physically active, we examined the various types of exercises to examine in what extent the group could be perceived as a potential entity. At the same time, there was a need to jointly articulate the previous knowledge on the topic we dealt with.
Now, Enrico changed the angle of articulation – not from the perspective of capitalistic mechanisms (or critical approach to them), but from the perspective of artist.
This week we were visited by the Critical Practice group that dealt with the research itself within the program. This brought to me new questions - In the process of taking up the space provided by the capitalist mechanisms of creating a brand and the star system, whether we should be honest in front of others or should simulate the same matrices used by the financial systems in the arts. So, we decided to make false identity of one of us and to see how the visitors will react. And this starting some play with the whole concept of work. So my expectations were more in a way that we will start creating some process close to relationship aesthetics (Bourriaud, 2002), so to put ourselves in the position of the "catalyst" in relational art, rather than being at the center, and using the concept of the “center” to make some other reflections of broader relationships in neoliberal capitalistic context.
III week – performative material With the arrival of the fourth member (Sara Simeoni), we entered into a period of conversation about what we want to keep and preserve so that we are not be separated from what we perceive as the source of creation. For Sara, as a dancer and choreographer, the intellectual point of view was not so interesting, so she proposed more physical tasks for our daily practice. For me as non-dancer in a few moments it was exhausting, but also, I was enjoying that shifting from mental to locomotor level of responding. From one side it was obvious that my usual way of working in the process of creating the material was different that the process of rest of group members. Usually I lead the process with idea what this material should serve for, so for me it was strange to create material without idea how and why we will use it in the final stage of the project. My decision was not to insist on my way of doing things, but to follow the way that other members proposed. It was challenging to step away from my usual production practice. And that decision put me also in more performative mood, so I also created some material (that we later decide to use for the final performance).
IV week – preparing the presentation (in the form of the performance)
In previous week we made lot ideas and performative sequences, so the question was how we will use it for the performance, and should we transform particular materials so to make some connections between them. Members of the group have different “artistic taste” so these adjustments again start to be challenging even in the sense of group cohesion. Tension was produced by the facts that we have different ideas about the concept, aim and the structure of the piece. For me it was obvious that each of us care about the fact what we will produce at the end. Also, this tension pushed us to search a save zone to everybody of us. So, Alexandra stared to polish in acting way some of her sequences, Enrico and Sara were more focus on dancing and choreography, and I proposed some performative structure as well as title of the “piece”. We together made decisions about the music that we would use
The nature of materials and proposed structure focused the view of the audience on the position of artists in capitalism, and we use Boris Charmatz as the study case. For the communication of our upcoming event, we made an announcement that followed the structure of the announcement that Boris Charmatz made for his performance “10000 gestes” that would premiere few days after our presentation.
Première: THIS IS (NOT) A LOVE SONG FOR BORYS SCHARMATZ Company: Vier Luda Nasta Choreography: Borys Scharmatz Interpretation: Sara von Ghianda aka Jolene, Alexandra Electra Zoey, Laben Ricardo and Marko Me.
The performance was the chance to test the reactions, if the performance is conceived as the stimulus for critical thoughts about how to became fames. Full documentation of the process can be found on following link
What can be said at the end?
Participation in this project brought me lot of reflections and experiences in different levels.
In professional filed I was in position to perceive the different mechanisms of production a performing material, and what is more common way for those who are not coming from conceptual background. Unexpectedly it was refreshing from one side. This self-organizing way of structuring the process, way of working, defining relationships, decision making… was a great support for the way of thinking about group and community work that me and Group “Let’s…” (NGO that I am a member) start to develop in recent years. I had a chance to see how the other groups in this programme approached to their topics, and how this approaches had been changing through time. I also enjoyed having lunch together, which provided the time and space to meat more closely other participants, so to be able to make mora contacts. During my participation in “Month of research” I was also visiting the festival “Tanz in August” and was able to see many performances that were presented. So it gave me some glance into the performative practice in different parts of Europe and wide. The participation also brought me some “measuring” of personal strengths to handle uncertainty, unpredictable situations, tolerance toward differences, and tolerance on tension (my personal and the tension in the group). I also had a chance to be in non-tourist, more living stay in Berlin, the city that still has lot of contradictions. Being part of this project came in the so right moment in my professional life, because I needed some fresh influence and support that fortunately this programme provided to me (or I succeeded to found it in it).
Report by Viktorija Ilioska
Narrative Report – Viktorija Ilioska (MK/DE) The Critical Practice Session "Month of Research" was a project proposed and organized by Uferstudios. The structure of the CP Month of Research was based on 16 proposals of deferent artists, all of them set and planned to be realized on self-organization. Therefore, the time-structure of each research group was prepared within the group. Each group gave themselves a focus on the research topic, thus also determining the exact time schedule for the daily work. The team of Uferstudios provided the space (studios) and different kind of conditions depending on the group needs. They opened the doors for us, welcoming everyone with big brunch gathering where they once more introduced the idea behind the project and the "roles of the game". Looking around at almost 50 artists it was impossible to not think about the political statement that this organization managed to give and open a few very big questions: What is (artistic) research? How do we define corporeal research – and how can we explain it to others, what is the difference between description, explanation and “commented doing”? How can we talk about it, and how can it critically inform our practice, or in other words: what is the flow from text to bodily practices to words or texts again?
my research group
“intra activity: bodies not against each other.” This project was orientated on the research around the quantum physicist term Intra-Activity proposed by the feminist Karan Barad in her book “Meeting the universe halfway”. The main focus of the project was the role of how power and agency will constantly shape the people’s identities. The description proposed an idea of making a practice with which the boundaries would be requisitioned and the aim of the movement will be in the centre or periphery, or even going beyond that. All of this brought us in a situation of thinking, creating and describing intra-action techniques, training both, 1. to proclaim a clear directions and tools in creating a practice and 2. to develop this technique into a way to creating choreography.
We separate our time into three parts. Every day we were starting with a warm-up session led by a different participant. The second part we were reading, discussing, analysing the text and building a common knowledge together. The third part, we were focusing on proposing and sharing physical practices connected with the text, elaborating the adequate methodologies for it. Opening and creating a system of work, system of proposing and inviting people to work on your idea or trying to create a common idea for the group was the task on which we all arrived during the first week. This opened long discussions about the public institution's structures, political correctness, power constructions, the position of "the leader", equality, and the basic meaning of the notions power and agency. Apparently, it is impossible to escape from the biggest effect that we all experienced during this project and that was the contingency. We presented our work two times with the other groups and we framed that presentation like Open Doors Presentation plus a follow up of critical reflection in which we were intra-active with the audience.
In the period of my Wild Card exchange, we were also following the activities of Tanznacht - Forum, Unsettled landscape. We also took part in the open lectures on Collectivity and the inputs on the Laboratory by Daniel Almgren and performance lectures in decision making and group process as well as 3 Dialogues on contemporary aesthetics in dance. Parallel with this, we had a chance to follow the program of the big festival for contemporary dance and performance Tanz im August.
This project provided an exchange of ideas and knowledge, international mobility, culture differences challenges, meetings between generations, a link between art, criticism, education and professional life, dialogue between artistic disciplines, time for reflection and practice, and the articulation of the social and the political in artistic practice. Because of this reason I want to strongly emphasize the need for this project to continue in the future. As well as the huge potential of the team of Uferstudios who unselfishly, with a strong professionalism and will to satisfy the artist's needs, provided the best conditions they can.
Report by Isadora Tomasi
I initially joined the group Intra-activity. It was a group of 10 people which in the course of 2 days became 8. Infact the collaboration has been hard: many people coming from different backgrounds, with different understandings of the topic and willing to face it through different approaches. Infact there was also a drive to approach the communication in the group as a practice of the topic. Therefore: the topic was about not having a center and a perifery structure, but rather a horizontal, linear, intra-active one. Trying as much as possible not to have a leader and a follower, but a common “movement”, a common agreement as well. This approach though has resulted in a lot of discussions and frustrations of different members of the group since it also led to a slowing down of the work process.
There was no separation between the practice and discussions of the work and how to move on. That was to me our mistake. Even though it felt like we didn’t choose for it, it was an unspoken choice that ended up leading us unconsciously.
From this process I learnt how to deal with a difficult group dynamic I felt at times the mediator and many times I felt misunderstood. I think the bigger lesson I learnt from that though, is just to let go and abandon something that is not leading my personal practice anywhere.
So, I did, I left the group and joined the one called “good”.
I never have left a process before, so to me it felt strange, but also the right thing to do.
I was very well received in the new group, they filled me in with all the things they have been researching. enjoyed being two weeks in the studio we trained physically especially and did some trainings for the voice as well. We exchanged thoughts on what it means to feel good in the work, in our practice. In the end I continued the practice by myself, by discovering new ways of approaching the warm up, including some of the exercises the people had passed me.
This process was very fruitful for me, I played with the borders of my practice: what do I need in order to create a nice working flow and environment? Does it need to be each day at the same time, what is the place where I am working? Does it need to be in the studio? Or a park, a museum is what is needed? I changed spaces trying to “listen” to what felt good on that specific day, and realised that surely having a structure helps (with structure I mean a clear schedule, time frame and a specific space to go to), but also keeping in mind the freedom of changing or deleting the structure is also helpful for the work. Without the pressure, I can approach the work better and therefore also make a bigger development in less time.
Since I had this space and time to research, I played around with my “rules” a bit to find out new approaches of working.
It has been very helpful and I took this understanding with me in the residencies afterwards.
14.08.17 - 10.09.17