January 2019 Project Review – Marie

Dear Alan,

We decided to share our reflections before our ‘review’ conversation with my collaborator Mette Terp Høybye later today. I have attached my provisional answers. I hope they will give you an idea of how I will answer later, despite the text’s incompleteness.

How well do the introductory texts describe what we have ended up doing? How might they be updated to better reflect our activities?

Reading back on what we’ve written in our introductory texts and the rules we set out I think we have caught the essence of what this project is/should be: it lays the groundwork for a collaborative hybrid between artistic/academic work and it does so by being a ‘meta-project’ that is not concerned with a specific topic.

I encounter two minor issues: being too precious and not being enough in my body.

  • One sentence that appears in both rules for setting and performing tasks is ‘to not be precious’. Over the course of the first 16 tasks we have frequently addressed this issue to the other when one of us had our head stuck in the computer 5 minutes past the Monday midday deadline trying to finish a response or refining the task to pass on. ‘Don’t be so precious’ – ‘just respond with whatever you have’ – ‘just post it as it is’ we will say to the other. Yet I continuously find myself being dissatisfied with my responses/tasks, as I feel I haven’t developed my thoughts and ideas to their fullest potential. In short, I am VERY precious about tasks! The problem with this is a) I do not have more times to devote to tasks b) by investing more time/energy into a task, the focus shifts from the iterative ‘tennis rally’ aspect of responding fast and intuitively to trying to ‘polish a response’.
  • Our engagement with process vs product featured in the first few tasks and spilled into discussions at the dinner table. There are questions of aesthetics and working methods at stake in this distinction which I will leave for now but the topic exposes a challenge for me as a dance artist. My work and interests focus on the practice of movement and the body yet the nature of the project always leads back to a ‘disembodied’ way of posting: in prose. I ask: How can the project feed back into my physical practice and how does it leave an imprint in my body? In my view the project allows us to zoom in on awareness and experiences of artistic and bodily qualities but how can we allow these experiences to stand alone and not always be ‘translated’? Or is this important? And of course thinking is not a disembodied activity per se so perhaps I need to be more specific about what I feel is lacking for me. Some questions for myself and perhaps also for you: What do I mean when I feel that the body and movement are being neglected in the project? What is lacking for me? How can I/we engage more physically and bodily with tasks and responses? What kind of parameters and rules could be applied to encourage this? How can the body and process be a more active component in how we deliver the project? Is it worth considering a rule that entails eg. a monthly response and task posted without written material?

List of introductory texts:

Home page

I love how the collage-like picture heading on the ‘home’ page develops and change as you continuously update it with images from new tasks and responses. Then I see the relationship between them all and the variety of thinking and ideas throughout the project. I think in many ways this image speaks the importance of the project: the accumulative collection of responses that interacts and relates to everything around it.  Other than that I think the ‘home’ page is to the point, well organised and directs the viewer to continue exploring the project. We could consider adding a catch phrase/research question to make viewer curious?

About page

It is concise and informative. Should we perhaps add some pictures from the tasks/responses?

Looking back, which of the tasks do you like? Why?

The short answer:

  • I liked task 5 Dad Dancing – I had fun choreographing my heroes and teasing you with the movement material
  • I liked task 9 Folding Time – an opportunity to re-embody past choreographic material and reflect on the ‘timing’ of it.

Which of the responses do you like? Why?

I liked many of the responses but if was asked to single out a few I would point to these:

  • I liked your response 10 Folding back the Years – it was a clear and simple idea yet very effective and very ‘you’ (your aesthetic and your idea of what is a parametric approach)!
  • I was quite happy with my response to task 9 Folding time – Again, it feels clear and simple and I liked I got to physically work through the task.

The longer answer:

I think reflecting on the value of the individual responses/tasks is an crucial part of moving into a discussion about the parameters and practices. When this is said I wonder about this question and the importance of ‘liking’ and the individual tasks. Our personalities shine through in the tasks/responses and I ‘like’ that and I enjoy seeing the development of themes from one task to the next. However, the project as a body of work is what fascinates me and the potential of the format, it is the meta-aspect that will give us an idea of what we are up to. But of course even a body is made up by single cells (or tasks in this case) so the project is never greater than the sum of its parts.  So perhaps there’s something about looking at the accumulation of posts and how the tasks and responses progress and propel the following one in a new direction. How does the process of responding generate a new task? What links task-to-response-to-task-to-response etc?

Do any of the activities in the responses introduce novel forms of working or surprising ways of dealing with tasks? Do any of the responses point the way forward to something else?

I browse through our responses and notice common denominators for the tasks and responses mentioned above that I ‘liked’. I wonder if the tasks that had a clear and simple intentions and the responses that extract one idea, point the way forward to a way of refining rules for task making and performing these.

What differences between our creative personalities have been revealed? How can these differences be deployed productively to take the project to its next stage?

I think the project has exposed our creative and aesthetic differences to a greater degree than I was expecting. Despite spending many hours discussing the format of the project, writing introductions and agreeing on rules before the first tasks was posed, only in the moment of making material choices did our distinct creative personalities become visible for me. What are those differences? I find it hard to define it.

How well does the project as a whole serve our goals?

(a) laying the groundwork for a hybrid mode of artistic/academic work?

The dis/advantage we have of being life partners as well as collaborators blurs the answer for me to this question. When Maria Kapsali and I spend the previous academic year on Two Trainers Prepare the focus was on prompting the other to investigate their own practice and less on creating something together.

(b) offering a model for artistic/academic collaboration?

This leads me to more questions: What kind of model are we aspiring to offer? One where each collaborator will develop individually or where partners work together and learn new skills? What outcomes or objectives do we imagine other artist/academic collaborators to have?

Are you happy with the website?

YES

Some questions that have come up:

  • How can we find simplicity and clarity in the way we propose tasks and responses?
  • How can we more explicitly address the inequality between us that you mention in your introduction? What are these inequalities about, how are they present and what steps could we take to foreground them?