International Interdisciplinary Artists Consortium Residency
This past August The Suitcase Fund supported the International Interdisciplinary Artists Consortium (IIAC) residency and Moving Arts Lab at Earthdance in Plainfield, MA, organized by Peter Sciscioli. The project included artists Iskra Sukarova (Macedonia), Daniel Han (Poland), Guillermarc Froidevaux (Poland), Ana Sofrenovic (Serbia) with US based artists Ursula Eagly, Ben Spatz, Maximilian Balduzzi, Susan Oetgen and Sciscioli. Read Sciscioli’s report below.
From August 4-8, 2013, fifteen artists from around the world gathered at Earthdance, an artist-run workshop, residency, and retreat center located in the Berkshire hills of Western Massachusetts. Building on a residency initiated in 2012 by New York-based interdisciplinary artist/performer, administrator, educator and member of Earthdance’s Programming Committee, Peter Sciscioli, this year’s gathering was initially intended to foster exploration and discussion of collaboration across disciplines and cultures, specifically focusing on creative partnerships between American and European artists. While in the planning stages, it expanded to include other artists working in collaboration, several of whom participated in the 2012 residency and others whom Sciscioli has met and worked with in other international settings.
The four-day residency led into The Moving Arts Lab, August 9-11, 2013, during which the residency artists were joined by an additional seventeen professional artists from the local community as well as San Francisco, Minneapolis, New York and Philadelphia. Each collaborative group taught a two-hour interdisciplinary movement workshop and performed in a faculty concert open to the community. Thirty-five participants registered for the workshops which were also open to teachers and the staff of Earthdance, creating an average class size of 20 people. More information on the offerings, structure and teachers’ bios can be found here.
The final roster of participating artists in the 2013 Interdisciplinary Artists Consortium Residency (IIACR) included collaborators Peter Sciscioli (New York) and Ana Sofrenovic (Belgrade, Serbia); Ursula Eagly (New York) and Iskra Sukarova (Skopje, Macedonia); Daniel Han and Guillaumarc Froidevaux of Studio Matejka (Wroclaw, Poland); Ben Spatz (New York) and Maximilian Balduzzi (New York/Italy); Martin Lanz Landazuri (Mexico City) and Emily Sweeney (London); Krista DeNio (Northampton) and Tara Rynders (Boulder) and Sean Hudson (Boulder); and Terre Parker (Western Massachusetts) and Susan Oetgen (New York).
After an orientation to the grounds and policies at Earthdance, the first day began with a 45-minute Goal Session led by Susan Oetgen, who in addition to her work as an artist is also certified in Conflict Resolution and Analysis. This initial session helped to identify personal intentions and goals for the residency, and employed voting and consensus to choose two specific goals for the group.
The Goal Session was followed by 45-minute introductory sessions for each collaborative group, which included oral presentations about each individual’s background, a brief overview of the group’s collaborative history, video or slide presentations representative of the work, and/or a brief experiential exercise related to the group’s practice.
Day two began with three 2-hour work sessions, during which each collaborative group led the other participants through an experience related to their process. Daniel Han and Guillaumarc Froidevaux introduced a series of exercises related to their physical theater training; Martin Lanz Landazuri and Emily Sweeney worked outside in several specific sites and explored both the notion of lines through movement, writing and drawing, as well as group composition in an environment; Peter Sciscioli and Ana Sofrenovic led the group in various vocal and physical exercises related specifically to attunement, group vocalizing and harmonizing. Following the session with Han and Froidevaux, Iskra Sukarova initiated a conversation about feedback for the sessions. Later that evening, she and Susan Oetgen facilitated a group discussion about different models and systems of feedback, as well as those for exchanging knowledge.
Day three continued with three more 2-hour work sessions: Ben Spatz and Maximilian Balduzzi combined physical theater exercises and singing based on their individual training in Poland and Italy; Terre Parker and Susan Oetgen worked both indoors and outdoors pairing each individual with their respective collaborator in a series of sculptural exercises, observations and interactions with nature; Krista DeNio and Tara Rynders created specific characters for each individual based on the introductions and led an improvised mock-workshop in new age paradigms. The evening concluded with three short films created by Daniel Han related to his own group’s work (Jubilo) with marginalized populations throughout Eastern Europe, and a slide presentation by Sean Hudson of his kinetic paintings, followed by a raucous dance party and bonfire.
Day four concluded with a 2-hour work session led by Ursula Eagly and Iskra Sukarova centered on knowledge exchange through both verbal and non-verbal interaction. Oetgen and Sciscioli then facilitated a final Wrap-Up Session during which the group revisited the goals identified during the Goal Session. Each collaborative group was then given ten minutes to receive feedback related to the Work Session they offered. Preparation for welcoming participants and other teachers for the Moving Arts Lab began immediately following, and orientation for the Lab began that evening with introductions and descriptions of the workshops each teacher would offer.
During the Faculty Concert on August 10, 2013, all of the residency artists, with the exception of Ben Spatz who had to leave the last day of the residency for family reasons, collaborated and performed a ten-minute movement and vocal score.
Immediately following the activities and events at Earthdance, ten of the residency artists (excluding Emily Sweeney, Tara Rynders, Sean Hudson, Terre Parker and Susan Oetgen) participated in an hour-and-a-half round table discussion open to the general public titled “What we talk about when we talk about Interdisciplinarity” at New York Live Arts, on August 12, 2013, moderated by Sciscioli and International Projects Director Marya Wethers.
You can watch the video here.
Since the residency borrows from the forms of a conference and a practicum and exists as an experiment in the exchange of artistic practices, research, theory and pedagogy, there is a strong interest to employ a similar model in other places. Sciscioli hopes to curate more residencies around the world, and has been invited to create another residency at Earthdance for Summer 2014. Specific discussions between Peter Sciscioli, Iskra Sukarova and Ursula Eagly may lead to another gathering in Skopje, Macedonia in Fall 2014. A discussion between Peter Sciscioli, Iskra Sukarova and Martin Lanz Landazuri may result in a similar format in Mexico City, combined with another laboratory format that Landazuri created earlier this year. Lastly, Landazuri, Krista DeNio and Ana Sofrenovic devised another residency model specifically for Earthdance that could be employed over the next two years. Daniel Han and Guillaumarc Froidevaux are also interested in creating an opportunity in Poland and in returning to the States to teach and perform. Projects among the other artists will continue to grow and flourish, influenced in part by the information gathered together during the residency, and new collaborations may form.