Potsdam Fabrik Interview about ways to produce artistic projects

1.) Can you shortly describe how you developed this project, the different steps it involved, and what your main work principles were?

This project is a response to our last collaboration (between Igor Dobricic and me) “About falling”. In that work we had a choreographic methodology that  organized the concept of the piece around the capabilities and uniqueness of each performer involved in the work. We still thought that the music in “About falling” unified the three performers bodies whereas the concept was successfully broken down via the different ways that performers dealt with it. In “The Half” we did not want to work with a “concept” but rather to transform what is commonly thought as a concept in a “methodology of production”. This particular methodology focused in the dance, music and light material emerged-produced out of the asymmetric encounters between the people working on it. This affected then the way to work with a music which became a unique “shoulder to ear” dialogue between dancer and composer. Each performer brought songs to the composer and both danced and composed those songs in the most unconventional way following a logic of interruptions (halving). The same procedure was followed for the light desing. We worked in several interrupted (half) phases during the period of one year and a half when people and production houses would offer time, space and minimum economical resources. The actual crystallization of the choreographic order respects the constellation of time in which the parts that constitute it came together (Paz-Tian-Pablo; Pablo; Felix-Tian; Pablo; Tian-Pablo).

 

 

2.) You write that with „The Half“ you have not been working ,on a pre-designed delivery of any artistic result‘. Instead you understand the public presentations of the project as a ,staging of your own process/method of production‘, as an ,indeterminate movement towards such a result“. Why is it important to you to make this distinction?

 

To be radical about the process-oriented practice that we are interested in. We work in an experimental way. We frame a context to work and we open ourselves to forces of chance and chaos. We don’t know what is going to happen. We want to carry that indeterminacy with us and share it with the audience. Normally this posits a problem for the institutions that supports financially the work because you need to give them a “visual” image of how things are going to look like. We believe that if you are truly interested in an art work that is alive you need to take the consequences of forgetting about the final goal and moreover to any idea about “visualizing” that goal. Otherwise as an artist you are still thinking with “common sense” categories that don’t belong necessarily to the pool of tools to be used for the art work in question. Those “images” would rather fit for media information which is based in transparency and communication. We did not work with any previous idea in our head, but with a set of operation that questioned the ethics of relations of the working community. We worked out in real time the dilemma of being a broken dynamic community being sometimes together and mostly apart generating a dance performance. We hoped for the audience to work with us that process and not to imagine it. We opened our artistic process in real time for them and asked back to open their process of perception with us together and separate in a movement of certainty/uncertainity. Following this procedure we wished for a  qualitative feeling to emerge between what we were doing on stage (dancing, lighting, sounding) and what the audience were doing in the tribune (thinking, feeling,perceiving).

 

 

3.) What does such a work practice mean in regards to funding/production/presentation possibilties? Is it not contradictory to certain mechanisms of the performance market? What are your strategies in this field?

 

It is totally contradictory to the performance market. The market ask you to have a “concept” ready and clearly communicable one year in advance and provides you with resources to make it in five weeks. Reality is that concepts, ideas, methodologies are in the making. They are in a continuous movement of change and adaptation as time passes by. Those ideas need to be tried on the floor, discarded, re invented, transformed, due to the natural and intrinsic mutative aspect of art. Five weeks time of work is enough for a product orientated work in which little is expected to change.   We propose to production houses to work over periods of ten days and to show the result as a performance in the making. We created a frame that gives all the signs on stage to understand that things are happening now and that we know as much as audiences know. We collected several periods of ten days over a period of one year and a half, together with a longer period of four weeks. In this way we provide us real time for the performance to change and re adjust as the ideas go shifting during the year. We also adapt the process of creation to the schedule of every artists so that they have enough time to work in another projects and make a living out of it. Ten days occupies short periods in the agenda of people. Because of that fact sometimes we work with very little economy, knowing that our resources also come from other projects. Sometimes we work with generous resources, like in the period of four weeks time financed by HKF, but we don’t work in “stress mode” , because the process has been created and established from long, promoting a communal-horizontal dynamic that shares responsibility and pressure between all the people. Lastly we promote and present the piece as a “modular” choreography. We have presented several sections of the piece in different orders for various contexts. Again, this depends in artists availability and in the economy of the theatre that invites us, depending in how much they wish to afford.

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