Remote collaboration is a current issue not only under the conditions of a pandemic. The modes and flows of production in today’s art and design fields are increasingly international, if not global; the rapid migration of cultural practices and topics, not bothering much about institutionalized borders, has a significant impact on our artistic ecosystems; the ubiquitous availability of digital technologies allows to exchange information in networks that seem detached from geographical location. The generation of digital natives often understands itself also as digital nomads.
These tendencies nevertheless pose a challenge for forms of exchange which are grounded in practices of embodiment, intimacy and in the importance of shared space and synchronicity – as for example in theatre, in music, or in the performative arts in general. Conventional digital communication tools tend to focus on abstraction – mainly verbal exchange – and are often clumsy when faced with nuanced aesthetic material. One question, therefore, is how the field of performative arts can use such technologies and, at the same time, extend their scope for their own purposes. At the same time, they might thematize their impact and reflect on how such telematic technologies influence our understanding of closeness and distance, distancing and intimacy, or of sharing and of mutual care.
The summer school is built according to a logic of growing complexity. At the forefront of the summer school (not part of this proposal), two separate workshops take place, one focusing on theatre, the other on music. In the summer school, these two streams are combined towards a collaboration which not only includes remote locations with their different cultural implications, but also different disciplinary approaches and practices. Owing to the prior workshops, the differing approaches, processes and working methods of these distinct art forms are foregrounded and can be productively developed.
Adopting the logic of a seismograph, improvisation can be understood as a methodology for a deeper understanding of a multiplicity of layers which shape interaction and communication. Improvisation – based on agility, adaptiveness and attunement to different situations – is not only a practice for performative contexts, but a method through which underlying assumptions, artistic attitudes and cultural strata can surface uninhibited. Difference is felt in action. Different ways of working, due to disciplinary backgrounds, cultural backgrounds or otherwise, can be playfully co-operate through concrete artistic practices. This method will also show that migrating cultural artefacts do not necessarily divest themselves from their local and cultural contexts they come upon. Finally, improvisational skills will prove necessary for dealing with technologies used in telematics.
Practical work in mixed (locations, disciplines, …) groups; conducting of experiments; developing works/sketches (a focus on process over result) presented at the end of the summer school; mentoring and discussion, occassional contextual inputs. The students also learn to deal with the basic telematic settings, technically and artistically.