Fluid Fundaments of work-life
Fluid Fundaments of work-life (working title), a long-term artistic research project through which I both co-develop and articulate alternative practices of organising performing art. I explore artistic and critical ways through which the
knowledge produced by such radical small initiatives – by artists and art venues - could be shared interactively with other artists, institutions, and organisations. In order to eventually evoke change systematically.
As a fellow of (2018-2020), a third-cycle artistic research group at DASresearch in Amsterdam, I am currently articulating a long-term research project for eventual enrolment in a university PhD or Research Fellowship programme. In a pre-research period at the Local School (also part of DASresearch) in 2016-2017, I decided to shape my research through the continuation of my artistic practice, and made my collaborations the subject of my study. Thereby using a methodology of observation by means of taking part. I started to observe and map the 'ways of doing' of Platform-Scenography, artist collective MOHA and institute Veem House for Performance, in terms of (alternative) practices of organising. Both MOHA and Veem continue to be important collaborative partners and case studies of my continued research, whereas I look into further initiatives that would be relevant to attend to as well.
"We are the weavers and we are the woven."
- Isabel Stengers
The Roof, a MOHA project at Veem House for Performance - 2016
Alternative practices of performing arts
Since 2012 (the year of the cuts in the arts funding in NL) I saw a great desire among my peers to create ways that are not predicated on neo-liberal value systems; that are endurable, fair practice, and attentive. Pioneering artist practices, art institutions, and broader initiatives in the field are now trying to leave existing ‘blueprint' organisation models behind and build with much more ‘fluid fundaments’; the values they prioritize and the choices that result from it.
However, structurally we are only at the start. There is a great need for examples for alternative ways of working at large. Since I take part in few of these practices, I made my own field and collaborations the subject of a long-term artistic research project. I co-develop these practices from within and ‘map’ - articulate and share - them at the same time in order to feed the knowledge back into the art field. I work with and look at these cases in the performance scene in Amsterdam: the institution Veem House for Performance, who is also one of the forerunners of Fair Practice Code that gathers five common values the sector stands for; artist collective MOHA; and initiatives like BAU or Jaccuzi, who improve practical work conditions for the independent dance and performance scene in Amsterdam. As these practices are in development and problems are far from being solved, I intend to keep my focus on the Dutch (and possibly Belgian) scene for now. However, since in many other places the future of work is addressed too, I am interested in setting up an inter-local collaboration with people researching different local scenes worldwide.
Through this research I intend to articulate and stimulate ‘new’ practices of organising performing arts, and I do this from within. Being part of the local performing arts scene that I look at, I decided to shape my research through the continuation of my artistic practice, and made my collaborations the subject of my study. By co-developing and mapping inspiring ways of organizing performing arts, I intend to make the knowledge they produce, performable and liveable for a larger field of people that are trying to change their ways.
Practices of organising performing arts evolve from the doings of artists and institutions that actively and radically re-invent how they work. Understood as practice, organising becomes an activity that matters who is doing it and how. This is not informed by pre-existing organisation models, but rather by the values and beliefs the people doing the organising wish to prioritise, and the attitudes and choices that result from that.
Using the practice of dramaturgy, I am interested in finding modes of organising artistic work that move from the condition of precariousness into more sustainable ways that are based on interdependency. As ‘we are the weavers, and we are the woven’ (I. Stengers), we are also responsible for what we today realise to be ‘weaving-flaws’ in the systems underlying our ways of being. We depend on each other for unravelling and repairing these, or weaving new patterns all together.
THIRD! | das ResearcH
Together with six fellow artistic researchers - Jennifer Lacey, Siegmar Zacharias, Rosie Heinrich, Mike O'connor, Gustavo Corceira and Alison Isadora - I am part of the second cohort of artists of THIRD! DAS Graduate School, part of the Amsterdam School of the Arts, initiated THIRD! - a 3rd Cycle Research Group to facilitate artists interested in pursuing post graduate education - in 2016. The aim of the THIRD is to prepare, coach and facilitate individual choreographers and theatermakers in articulating a long-term research project for enrolment in a university PhD or Research Fellowship programme. Currently, there are very few programmes in Europe catering to performing arts research in higher education. Though DAS Graduate School cannot bestow a terminal degree of PhD yet, they intend to support performing artists who wish to expand their knowledge(s) by supplementing PhD candidatures in the Netherlands and abroad.