Your Most Important Note
We asked the hosts during TRAVERS camp 3, to share your most meaningful ‘note’ on your experiences with the potential of the interdisciplinary meeting
I never ever met a place where theatermaker und musicians discussed with scientists and avitivsts – about art, cilmate, gender, music, form and fear. In general and in the very concrete. I never ever expericed a situation where almost everything was about the encounter and not the result, the discussion and not the presentation – and to be honest sometimes for me even more about the form of encounter than the concrete topics of the exchange. but I think this is the most valuable of art to be contributed to a fragmented society. A society built (or better destroyed) by individuals, a society in which a lot of parts (so called bubbles) dont even listen to each other. far from clapping all to the same we have to learn again to listen, to except, to meet, to exchange and to disagree. So lets learn form the very beginning. Travers might be a first step for me. I experieced bicycling audio tour made by painters and actors as well as a graffiti future reading made by musicians and biologists. the future already started.
Rikke Lund Heinsen
”TRAVERS is a hybrid project. Some people might even consider it a bastard. After all, it will feature radical off-the-wall, multi-faceted and mosaic-like crossovers, with no fixed directions.”
That I wrote almost three years ago as a part of my writing position on TRAVERS. The cross disciplinary field within the art is at its core a gap between traditions, positions, choices, voices, ways of handling things, ways of expecting things.
For me TRAVERS is the unexpected place and space.
The place and space for not knowing and not being sure.
Like in disciplinary art projects?
Not at all
Because we know so much and are so sure and expect almost the same when we work within our usual artistic fields.
Or at least that is often what happens.
The cross and interdisciplinary field is a mess.
It is not easy to be in.
It is founded in trust. In each other, in the suggestions, in the choices, in the outcome.
Let us keep working with no fixed direction. Because it is an artistic gift, internal and external, to do so.
Manifesto: Question your assumptions
One of the most interesting discussions we’ve had this week so far is about how we question our assumptions. What are the assumptions we make about the work we make, as we make it? Do we have any preconceived ideas about what we should be making, or what others want us to make, or aspects of the form. What are the criteria we set ourselves for the work we want to make — framed in the form of manifesto points that have been evolving through the workshop. In other words, what do we wish our work would be? These have been really great ways to take constructive critical approaches to our concepts as we develop them. And also good approaches to critique other people’s work. From an interdisciplinary perspective, these ‘manifesto points’ vary according to the histories and protocols of a range of disciplines (opera, dance, text, performance art, improvisation, musical theatre) — and we are able to apply them to other disciplines. All ways of questioning our thinking and our concepts, and the assumptions we make about ‘what is opera’.
The most interesting note I read during Travers was written on the wall of a huge storage hall for containers. It was written in quite big (maybe one meter high) letters in black paint and than underlined in red. It said: SILENT BLACK THERAPY.
To me everything about this three-word-combination seems wrong. How can a therapy be silent? How can it be black? And is there something like a silent and a loud black? And if there really was, I would definitely say that the black paint which was used here might be one of the loudest.
The color word BLACK you can read all over the harbor place and on other sites of Copenhagen. You can read it in many different colors. There are even white BLACKs on the walls of the harbor. BLACK appears together with other words like SWAG, HELMET, SPYO or SNUE and many more. There is also a connection to the three letter acronym OND (for on drugs or open new doors) which is written all over Copenhagen. But the combination with SILENT and THERAPY seems to be unique. At least I couldn’t find these words on other walls, neither in combination nor alone.
I wonder if the SILENT BLACK THERAPY has something to do with the BLACK LIVES MATTERS-movement. Is it a political slogan? Or just a poetical one? Or is it a self reflective process of healing? Does the SILENT BLACK THERAPY describe the moment of painting black letters in silence on a wall. Is graffiti this silent form of therapy? And what could this cure be needful for?
Welcome to Copenhelmet.
wild writings are placed as if controlled by an invisible hand. in a way controlled and integrated, as if the city had assigned them certain places, tags and only few buildings are bombed, most of the scribblings appears on street furniture and rooftops, crazy handstyles but in the frame, not out of control. Just as cyclists increasingly wear helmets, the facades wear protective layers or are erased. When graffiti no longer disturbs, it is domesticated. perhaps this is the future of graffiti: social wallpaper instead of a thorn in the skin of the city.
Notes on interdisciplinary work
In the interdisciplinary work we meet in between skill sets, language, practices, habits, knowledge.
Because we cannot assume that we share any references we must meet from a more curious, open place – a position of “not already knowing” in order for something new to emerge between us. This is for me the most exciting thing about interdisciplinary collaborations.
At the same time, we must bring and use our own knowledge and experiences.
The potential of the interdisciplinary work lies in this balance.
One of the things to be clear about – especially in a shared collective, creative process – is that there is always a hierarchy playing out:
Power hierarchy: the more dominating person sets the goal and suppresses other ideas.
Structural hierarchy: the group have agreed on and accepted a leader (and therefor takes a more passive “following” role)
Natural hierarchy: everybody takes full responsibility of the situation (no one is “just hanging out”) and listens for the most interesting/deep/new response/idea/contribution no matter where it comes from.
The interdisciplinary work that allows something new to emerges arises between structural and natural hierarchy. And requires that we are transparent and clear about shared agreements on context and values:
What are the collective values we want to agree on and work from?
What are we looking for and why?
Many (interdisciplinary) contexts skips setting a shared value and meaning context assuming that it is there already. Then the collaboration/dialogue is not bringing anything new – but only becomes a repetition of misunderstandings or power hierarchy (as it often happens for ex. between the younger “woke” movement and the older generations).
Eva Meyer Keller
It was a delicious, luxurious, well organized week.
After the pandemic it was first a bit disorienting to be with such a big group of people, but after a couple of days it felt weirdly familiar – similar to knowing how to ride a bike – you don’t really unlearn that.
On our Route “Where are we now?” we focused on exchange, making space to be with each other, rather than produce something.
The starting point was to extend the meeting of Cuqui Jerez and myself to the participants. Cuqui and me are friends and colleagues since a long time. This time was an opportunity to be with each other as friends and with each other’s practice.
We discovered new common interests, challenges and talked about our realties in this special time as artists and women working in this field for more than 20 years.
It was a pleasure to meet the participants of our Route, each one was curious, genuinely interested and generous to engage with each other and each other our practices.
We set up small portions of futures for each other.
Time floated away and around in a wonderful way, as hosts we where not constantly trying to keep control in general, and especially to stick to a tight timely schedule. As a group we went along with what came up and gave it the time it needed. That is was an interdisciplinary group was somehow self-evident and didn’t need any extra attention. Some magical and memorable moments happened.
The morning view and the talks in the late afternoon were a great opportunity to meet the other hosts and participants of the other Routes.
The morning view was also a chance to test a very early idea for another project, there was an openness from the big Travers group that allowed for these experiments.