Deep Dialogue in Two Languages

Liz Lerman describes the steps of the Critical Response Process

Do questions about an artists’ intentions have a place in the critique of work-in-progress? What’s the point of opinion, since it’s all subjective anyway?  Is there value for an artist to hear a reaction to their work if it’s purely one responder’s personal interpretation? Is there a difference between “story” and “narrative”?

These are just a few of the probing questions that surfaced during day one of “Feedback Tools for Creation” here in Brussels, Belgium, where Liz and I are being hosted by Contredanse. The 15 very insightful artists and arts professionals who have gathered for this week-long intensive immediately started digging in to some of the bigger challenges and implications of the Critical Response Process, even on this introductory day.

Though promoted as being conducted in English, it’s essentially a French/English bi-lingual institute where some of the most proficient polyglots in the room have gamely been stepping up to serve as translators. (With our very limited French, Liz and I are extremely grateful!) The effect of this bilingualism as been interesting. It definitely forces us to slow down and make our language as clear as we can. We also seem to be spending more time on the idea of meaning in general, since the circle might pick apart an idea both in English and in French. And when someone misteps in French (like throwing a negative opinion into step one), it’s the other participants who jump in as “facilitators” to provide the correction, even before Liz and I realize what has happened.

Boglárka Börcsök presents a solo as the focus of a CRP session

The participants have come to the institute with a variety of works in progress and tasks to which they hope to apply the principles of CRP. It’s going to be a very interesting week.

About John Borstel

John’s role with the Dance Exchange encompasses functions in documentation, dissemination, and dialogue.