I be seen
(Performance lab / film )
I wanted to collaborate with the local community.
Social art is an important part of my work. For the last fifteen years I've worked a lot with young people on creating space where they are allowed and able to express themselves in a safe space. My focus is always on them being allowed to listen more to their inner selves rather than immediately doing what they think is expected of them.
I wanted together with young people, living in Skien, where Ibsen was born, to make something around the theme of the Ibsen festival - "designing the self". I wanted to base what we together would make on the young people's voices and thoughts today.
I contacted a local ballet school in Skien and asked if they wanted to collaborate.
I was in a long dialogue with the dancing school on how to invite participants and the content of the workshop in order for the participants to be interested and prepared for working in a way that might be new to them.
Right before I started the Lab, it became clear to me that I didn´t want to push them into making something with me, and I shared that with them before we even started. I decided to just hang out with them, do exercises, and see what happens.
I was trying to build a safe space and getting to know young people, to see what we together could create, document and share with others. I focused on here and now, honesty, conversations and dancing. I facilitated a performative lab with different exercises, where I as a facilitator and performer joined in and we all danced for each other doing the different exercises. We spent time getting to know each other and building trust after each experiment. We all took risks and accepted vulnerability and spoke freely about our experiences and thoughts after the dance improvisation tasks. We together made a dance video where we all improvised a dance solo and we all , each one filmed one who danced.
When working with the participants I tried to build a relationship with all of them.
I had to consider each person's ability to enter into something new, in a new way.
I have never met a group of people I don´t know before and at the same time worked so extensively within the same day. From meeting the first time we even ended up making a film together.
After the video was cut and edited, before the showing of I be seen in the gallery, I contacted the young dancers and invited them to meet me for coffee and to evaluate the whole process. I met some of them individually and some in smaller groups. I also did another evaluation with them a week after the festival had finished, in case something had come up since the first evaluation.
All agreed to the video being published. I am thankful for how they chose to open up their hearts and collaborate with me. I learned how complex and rich improvised work can be and how much can be accomplished in just one day.
What I wanted to achieve was to give them an experience of being in a supportive environment, for them to be able to trust, talk, and be free with each other in a group setting.
I be seen- Part 2
(video-screening at the Ibsen Festival)
I wanted the audience to see the dance video I be seen in a loop on the big wall by the DJ-booth during the festival´s closing party. I hoped the guests would walk over to the wall and pick up the headsets I had hung there. There they could listen to the sound from the dancing video while viewing the film.
The elements I used:
I made sure the headsets were noise canceling.
I added a video clip of one of the participants editing something she had written during the workshop. I also added part of recordings of the group discussion.
I printed out notes the students had written during the workshop and put them on the wall next to the headsets. I asked those who run the festival to invite the young dance artists to be present at the gallery as artists when the gallery showed the work and they agreed to do so. All of them were able to be there.
The “I be seen”, dance video was projected on the wall and played in a loop in the Spriten gallery to view for the invited guests during the festival closing party. All of the guests in the party watched the film, but not everybody used headsets. A few people read the texts that the young people wrote.
I created, together with the young people, the I be seen video, as a collective experience. They expressed themself freely, made a video, exchanged experiences with other artists in the festival, and saw their own work on the wall. They got to be a part of the festival. I wanted to put the dance art of young upcoming artists up on the gallery wall in the same way as painters and other artists are displayed there. This as a response to, and a comment on who and what gets to be on the wall in galleries.
I wish I had prepared better and researched more regarding how to invite the audience to wear headsets and perhaps also to speak with the young people. In the future I want to spend more time on the installation of the film in a gallery, and also work more with graphics on the text that will be displayed on the wall and the placement of it.
I was reminded of how communication, time and details always matter when the time is limited. How I share a film, the whole setting, how to invite the audience and how a film behaves in a gallery, what does the film do to the setting ? How does the film, the content and the fact that it is an added element to an already defined setting influence or change the setting or the circumstances. I learned more about how I can take care of collaborators after the process is finished, which is deeply important to me.
MAIN PHOTO : IS THE NOTES THAT THE YOUNG PERFORMERS WROTE DURING THEIR PROCESS