CherylStock_httn_interdisciplinary_collaboration

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					here/there/then/now
 site, collaboration, interdisciplinary performance

             Cheryl Stock
            with thanks to
          Vanessa Mafe
   Stephen StanfIeld Ian Hutson
QUT creative industries brisbane australia
here    stairs to nowhere
there   deep crevices with no purpose
then    pillars in dialogue with floating objects
now     the inviting void of the black box
where textured memories embedded in stone
 and metal merge with human presences
BACKGROUND

bringing together of 10 independent artists in
dance, music, theatre, design, visual, media arts

responding to and evoking four sites inside the
Brisbane Powerhouse

development of concept 2001
rehearsals March to May 2002
performances 15-19 May 2002

supported by Arts Queensland, QUT Creative
Industries, Brisbane Powerhouse, Ausdance
 PURPOSE
• support creative partnerships,
  established and new, in an
  interdisciplinary project

• work together on a common concept
  that allows for personal aesthetic
  positions and specialist art form
  processes and outcomes

• explore flexible performance platforms
  and theatricalise site-specific work

• investigate ways of creating narrative
  through fragmented intertextuality

• re-engage audiences in live
  performance through choices on how
  to view the works and from where
CONCEPT

• 3 discrete performance installations, each
  with their own aesthetic and
  communicative intention culminating in a
  fourth site where memories of the first
  three coalesce
• promenade journey of subliminal
  meanings through multiple viewpoints
• construction and deconstruction of
  narrative revealed and concealed by the
  embodied experience of site
• the body as site and repository of its own
  performing and lived histories combined
  with the inherent and imagined meanings
  and associations of the former industrial
  site of the Powerhouse
artists….   chosen for the unique qualities each could
            bring to the project

            dynamic and supportive mix of
            experienced mature artists and emerging
            artists

            high level of expertise in their field(s)

            generous approach to sharing ideas and
            processes

            independent and curious

            committed, creative, resourceful

            diverse in art forms/practices and
            response to the sites

            four teams of new and old partnerships
            with crossover of some personnel in each
            team
CONCEPTS OF SITE IN PERFORMANCE


• „a site-specific performance defines itself „through
  properties, qualities or meanings produced in specific
  relationships between an “event” and a position it
  occupies‟.
• the integral link between performance and place is
  „articulated through interdisciplinary practices‟
• the creative process in site-specific performance acts out
  a “writing over” the site…‟
                                            (Kaye: 2000, 1-8)
WRITING OVER THE SITE

• the site is like a palimpsest in that is written over,
  effacing the original „writing‟

• in the case of here/there/then/now the sites were written
  over with graffiti, so we were often „writing over‟ the write
  over

• a site-specific work „inevitably operates in anticipation or
  in recollection of the places it acts out‟

• „site-specific performance attempts to define itself in the
  very sites it is caught in the process of erasing‟
                                          Kaye 2000: 11, 220
erasure

ephemerality


„one of the beauties of live
performance is that it ignites a
space and time and then
disappears‟

Meredith Monk
SITES of here/there/then/now

Focus of the work were the following
sites:
•   heightened theatrical and dramatic space of here
•   isolated entrapped enclosure of there
•   framed but open space of then
•   architectural extended space of now
shared space of memory concealed, revealed,
fragmented, disturbed by light
     here
stairs to nowhere




                    heightened
                    theatrical and
                    dramatic
                    space
here      stairs to nowhere
A study of contrasts around victim and aggressor

here
   - the familiar, safe, protected where fire is
      power and warmth
   - a dungeon where risk becomes danger
   - a shadowy realm of dreams and
      memories
   - a sharing of private moments publicly
      revealed
   - the animal in the zoo; fascinating yet
      dangerous

Performer/creator: Brian Lucas
Sound artist: Brett Collery
Visual artist: Ian Hutson
Lighting designer: Jason Organ
deep crevices with
no purpose
isolated entrapped
enclosure




                     there
there
deep crevices with no purpose


An Australian dancer and a Thai singer explore there

• barred vertical site of shadows and blinding light
• place of confinement and entrapment
• enclosed intimate world of no exits

   through dance/physical performance with acoustic
   unaccompanied voice and projected imagery, investigating
   reactions to situations of extreme stress when confronted
   with confinement.

Choreographer/performer: Leanne Ringelstein
Composer/singer/performer: Nok Thumrongsat
Visualisation: Ian Hutson
Lighting Designer: Jason Organ
       pillars
       in dialogue
       with
then   floating
       objects

       framed but
       open space
then
pillars in dialogue with floating objects


                 contemplate the performer in a still life of
                 objects, floating, hovering

                 then
                 • theme of the “still-life” as its organising
                   principle
                 • distorted beauty and fragmentation of the
                   body and sound in space
                 • heightened colour and unconventional
                   framing reflecting a Baroque sensibility
                 • a platform for the interaction of industrial
                   site and theatrical setting

                 Choreographer/director: Vanessa Mafe
                 Dancer: Ko-Pei Lin
                 Sound composer: Stephen Stanfield
                 Installation artist: Jondi Keane
                 Lighting designer: Jason Organ
now




      the inviting void of the black box
      architectural extended space
now
the inviting void of the black box

now treats the theatre as architectural site
housing a sparsely fragmented repository for what
has gone before

• place of multiple entries and exits
• performative dialogue of intersecting solos
• emerging relationships of bodies and kinetic
  pathways
• visual and aural connections to the sites left
  behind

Concept and direction: Cheryl Stock
Performers/collaborators: Ko-Pei Lin, Brian Lucas,
Leanne Ringelstein, Nok Thumrongsat
Composer: Stephen Stanfield
Visuals: Ian Hutson
Lighting Designer: Jason Organ
the viewer’s relationship to site

wide range of people from arts aficionados to
those who had never attended contemporary
performance

led from site to site in a promenade journey
by guides

able to move around the sites but not within
them thus changing points of view and
relationship to the performing body; looking
down, in, across rather than at the performers

mobility assists in making causal links
between the sites and their stories drawn
progressively through the building and into
its depths
 COLLABORATION


“collaboration is a "catalytic process" used in interactive
 relationships among individuals working toward a mutually
 defined, concrete vision or outcome”.
                                           Idol and West, 1991


Since a creative project entails working with ideas that seem
new or original, or transforming existing ideas and concepts
in fresh ways it also relies on the harnessing of group
innovation and creativity.
THEORIES OF GROUP CREATIVITY

           • a group‟s creative potential depends on level
             of diversity in the group; cognitive & intuitive

           • relationship between diversity and creativity
             includes context, decision making strategies,
             leadership issues, feedback mechanisms

           • importance of „authentic dissent‟ (diversity of
             opinion)

           • danger in early consensus or giving into
             conformity pressure

           • involves divergent and convergent processes
                          Nijstad & Paulus, 2003: 326-339
KEY AREAS OF CREATIVE
COLLABORATIONS

• Communication skills
• Developing a positive environment
• Keeping decision making moving along
• Recognising needs of individual members of
  collaborative team
• Resolving conflict and risk

                         Pritzker & Runco, 1997: 115-141
COLLABORATION
  an artist view
“Collaborations, at their best, are
profound learning experiences that
empower the collaborators to expand
their visions and their creativity, give
them courage, critique and support to
move into areas of work they might
otherwise not venture into, and provide
exciting spaces for experimentation. At
their worst, they allow some
collaborators to colonise others and this
is a most disempowering experience!”

                   Marion D‟Cruz (2003:77)
              Malaysian choreographer/artist
COLLABORATIVE DIMENSIONS
 relational/creative
 • developing interpersonal relationships of mutual respect and interactive
 support
 • valuing specialist art form differences in language, aesthetics,
 processes, outcomes
 • consideration
 • valuing and accepting difference which encourages new avenues for
 understanding
 • positive / affirmative behaviours
transactional/task
• common creative agendas which allow for diversity and cross over of
practices, approaches and ideas
• acceptance of leadership and shared responsibility
• discipline based confidence and expertise
• „a communicative relationship‟ (Grau, 1992:19) - between collaborative
partners, within the work and with the audience
• dependability
• proactive and reactive process
• participation at all levels of the project including budgets, marketing,
scheduling etc
COLLABORATIVE CHALLENGES
in here/there/then/now

Four of the original ten team members were replaced through
the following circumstances:

• sudden and tragic death of a key member resulting in a 8 month
  postponement of the project
• an experienced choreographer/dancer who had done the concept
  mapping for one site was offered and accepted full-time work
• personal political agenda of one member became an undermining
  and obstructive force in the early stages of the process, creating
  unacceptable tension
• personal artistic agenda of a lead team member resulted in non-
  engagement with the site and therefore a threat to the integrity of the
  project which was site driven in its concept
views of participating artists
Vanessa Mafe - choreographer/director then
old and new collaborative relationships

with experienced visual artist Jondi Keane:
• both experienced artists with a long history of collaboration and
   open to investigate ideas
• had already established images as the foundation for a common
   language

with young dancer Ko-Pei Lin:
• guiding and mentoring role to encourage interactive participation
• need to establish a way of working together and then identifying
   “breakthrough” creative experiences beyond the usual
   dancer/choreographer relationship
views of participating artists
Stephen Stanfield, composer then & now
Differing collaborative processes
then
• initial discussions of concept and viewing of images and movement
   of work in progress
• composition starting point was the concept of „still life and decay‟
• composition and choreographic processes were almost entirely
   independent from one another

now
• score constructed of transformed material from other sites, with new
  elements idiosyncratic to the fourth installation.
• past sounds were manipulated and recontextualised in time and
  space creating a sonic-wash of fragmented, distorted, and distant
  memories…
• collaborative process was quite organic with the music and
  choreography developing symbiotically
views of participating artists

Cheryl Stock - project concept/direction
director/choregrapher now

• assumed role of director / coordinator as conceiver of project
• interactive communication with all collaborators crucial aspect of
  role
• „participant/observer‟ in first three sites; no primary creative role
• collaborative consultative process involved overview integrating
  visual, theatrical, auditory elements, and links between sites
• creative process of now dependent on deconstructed narratives and
  images from other 3 sites; fluid , morphing between created and
  creating images, objects, artists
• blurred and indecipherable „ownership‟ of resultant work
COLLABORATIVE OUTCOMES
for the artists:
opportunities for expanded dialogue
renewed investigative practices in the arts
building of artistic communities
emergence of more layered approach to own practices

for the audience:
collaboration between performer and audience results in
“meaning-making”, „where the performative text is the
reading, and where the emphasis is on process, on meaning
as becoming‟
                              Sandra Kemp, in Campbell, 1996:9
DANCE AS A BASIS FOR
INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION

elements of a discipline/artform applied to collaboration
form the basis of a shared interdisciplinary language:

                •   space / design / shape – the architecture
                •   rhythm / flow / time – duration
                •   dynamics / force / energy – texture
                •   body / instrument - medium

Dance language, in common with music and visual arts, is
poetic rather than prose-like because of its „multiple,
symbolic and elusive meanings‟ (Hanna, 1997:147)
INTERDISCIPLINARY PRACTICE
• involves collaboration between distinct disciplines with different
  approaches, viewpoints and forms of expression

• enables specialists to find the spaces between their individual
  practices in which to discover a shared creative/performative
  language based on common principles

• entails a change in processes of creation, observation and
  reflection

• an ongoing journey of discovery, questioning, and discussion

• requires multiple interpretations and knowledge of more than one
  discipline

• allows what is there to form the interdisciplinary language being
  created for each particular project

• creates multi-layered narratives since „reading, watching,
  listening…assumes that a story is being told‟ (Kemp, 1997:172)
INTERDISCIPLINARY OUTCOMES
• establishes common working ground between
  disciplines

• generates open lines of exchange

• questions and offers alternatives for the
  conventions, vocabulary and assumptions inherent
  in each discipline

• defines one‟s own artistic practice more clearly
  inside and outside the discipline

• has the potential to shift, connect differently with,
  and transform one‟s particular practice

• broadens one‟s knowledge of other approaches
  and opens up new possibilities personally and
  creatively
here/there/then/now
CREATIVE AND PRODUCTION TEAM
Concept/direction: Cheryl Stock

Collaborating artists: Brett Collery, Ian Hutson,
Jondi Keane, Ko-Pei Lin, Brian Lucas, Vanessa Mafe,
Jason Organ, Stephen Stanfield, Nok Thumrongsat

Project manager / production coordinator: Kyle Petersen

Lighting/site coordination: Jason Organ

Sound coordination: Stephen Stanfield

Stage manager: Ryan Colbran

Wardrobe: Bianca Sevil

Program design: Ian Hutson, Pam Koger




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