“The Critical Response Process is not a opportunity to describe your artistic process,” says Liz Lerman, citing how artists in CRP often fall back on restating things they already know in response to Step Three questions. “It is a confrontation with where you succeed and where you don’t. It’s an opportunity to deepen your understanding of how to progress, whether that’s tiny or vast. The artist should be using it as a chance to reach a place they haven’t reached before.”
This potential power within CRP came to the fore in the second day of “Feedback Tools for Creation” here in Brussels, Belgium, where Liz and I are being hosted by Contredanse, a wonderful institution devoted to nurturing dance artists, providing expansion training and disseminating important ideas through institutes and a very impressive program of publications.
Highlights of our second day of this week-long intensive included a chance to experience “the cube,” a component of Between the Lines, a collaboration between three Belgian-based artists George Harold, Vincent Keuntz, and Gael Revidovitz. A combination of art object, stage set, and interactive environment (eagerly explored by many of the workshop participants), the cube provided the focus for a stimulating Critical Response Session. We also had a chance to experience sound art as a dimension of dance performance and a module from an Anna Halprin-based workshop focused on movement and body perception. The varied content of these works is affording us a chance to probe into many aspects of CRP.
In another highlight of the day, Liz led a session using the Dance Exchange’s “Walk and Talk” structure, inviting participants to focus on a particular project or challenge and to respond to talking prompts based on each of the Process’s four steps: What’s exciting and meaningful? What questions do you have for yourself? What neutral questions would others (particular people, real or imagined) have for you? If they expressed opinions what would they say? The results of this exercise were challenging and provocative, and a few of the participants described thinking breakthroughs as a result of placing this CRP filter on their reflections.
Everyone is jumping into the deep end with great faith and willingness and it’s such a charge for Liz and me to be in this community of artists.