The performance part of the festival program has ended. The body of the audience at Dansehallerne have been witnessing a lot of examples of what group work(s) in the black box can be and do, but not yet encountered a lot of articulated perspectives on what group work is as a working method/condition for artists. Addressing this aspect of the festival has mainly been happening in the media coverage of Works at Work. Today, Monday, the symposium will be a platform for reflecting on this topic, but somehow the two conceptual lines of the festival seem quite separated from each other. Maybe it is natural result of the fact that group work as a method for artists to create a sustainable professional working life together is a very different thing than group work as a collective process towards an aesthetic expression/performance. Since this is my first year attending the festival I don’t know if the link between the working conditions of the artists and the artistic works has been more obvious. When reading the posts of one of the former writer in residence it seems like the connection was most present in the first edition with its’ focus on solo works. The artistic director of the festival Cecilie Ullerup Schmidt has said that the concept of three festivals with separate focus on solo, duo and group works and the working conditions for artists has been the plan from the beginning. It makes me think about concepts and their relation to changing conditions.
In the following I will reflect on my encounters with the group works in the understanding of performance producing unites, but before I begin I have to express a wonder about where the light designer, the sound designer, the scenographer are in the idea of group works. Of course “Scripted reality” is a group of people with, as they said themselves, very different backgrounds (fine arts, philosophy, performing arts, music) and some of the other groups have also worked in the post-dramatic/post-modern landscape, but non of the curated examples of group works are groups that include other disciplines of stage art than the performer/dancer. I ask myself why.
During the festival I have been presented to the idea that when working in a group not only the practical sides of making a performance (sharing tasks, sweet talking technicians, not taking the rejection of an application personal etc.) becomes easier, but also that you dare more when you are not alone. This statement made me curious. Did I as an audience experience a daring in the group works when watching their aesthetic expression/performance? And what kinds of group works has the festival team chosen to include in their program?
To be continued
(My writing has the pace of a group work)