We Can Work It Out - Calibration as Artistic Method (2015)

Anna Einarsson

About this exposition

Based upon the work with the chamber opera Ps. Jag kommer snart hem! (Eng. Ps. I will be home soon!), this presentation aims at describing the working process towards a new musical work, as it takes place in the setting of exploratory workshops. Drawing upon observations and conversations, benefits and challenges are brought forward and discussed through the use of examples. An over-arching concept of calibration is presented; the work in focus housed calibration on at least two different levels: calibration towards the work and calibration within the work. As the article concludes, this process is of great artistic value and may also assist in facilitating for the commissioner, and possibly in extension, the presumed audience of a new musical work.

Utifrån arbetet med elektrikalen Ps. Jag kommer snart hem! vid Malmö Operaverkstad diskuteras hur en arbetsprocess mot ett nytt musikverk kan se ut i ett utforskande workshop-arbete. Olika faktorer som kringgärdar och ligger till grund för verket i dess tillblivelse, med utmaningar och förtjänster, belyses genom praktiska exempel och en diskussion utifrån dessa. Presentationen mynnar ut i att erfarenheterna från processen kan förstås inom ramen för det föreslagna paraplybegreppet kalibrering, där en kalibrering på flera nivåer av relationen mot det nya verket kan sägas ha ägt rum. Sammanfattningsvis är detta en process som äger stort konstnärligt värde, och som i sin förlängning även kan vara förtjänstfullt för beställare såväl som en presumtiv publik av det nya verket.
typeresearch exposition
keywordsexploratory workshops, chamber opera, artistic research, composition, new musical works, artistic method, calibration, commissioning, collaboration
last modified02/07/2015
affiliationRoyal College of Music, Stockholm/National Research School in the Field of Arts
published inRuukku Studies in Artistic Research
portal issue4.
connected toRuukku Studies in Artistic Research
external linkwww.annaeinarsson.com

Ruukku portal comments: 1
nimetön/anonym/anonymous 01/07/2015 at 17:20

The exposition gives a good overview of the writer’s experiences and skills in developing an artwork through a workshop-based approach. The exposition deals with the importance of workshop practices in the formation of the artwork, so the set-up and typification of outcomes are grounded in practice.


The writer’s voice is present in the exposition, it has a strong point-of-view. The classification of the workshop outcomes and the concept of calibration are formulated in an interesting manner as practical thought patterns that give structure to the artistic process in general.


The writer’s point of view in the middle of the process is fascinating, but I was missing a more detailed depiction of the decision making process. There are some examples, but nevertheless, I was still left wondering what was specifically important in those dialogues, exercises, etc, where artistic decision making occurred? What types of knowledge production did these situations entail? How did artistic decisions come about, for example, how were decisions based on group exercises different from decisions that resulted from embodied experiences and tacit knowledge?


A more detailed analysis of the workshop images might help. In particular image 3 teases my mind: What was the purpose of these drawings, what kind of ideas did they produce into the process? The text remains to a large part on a descriptive level, and I could not identify a clear research question.


I was also missing connections and links to current debate in the field of artistic research: How do the writer’s experiences resonate with existing literature and other documented research findings regarding workshop processes? The observations as such are valid, but dialogue with other research would substantiate the findings. In this version of the text there are only a few references to outside sources. For example, Barrett & Bolt’s ”Carnal Knowledge: Towards a 'New Materialism' Through the Arts” and ”Practice as Research: Approaches to Creative Arts Enquiry” might be helpful and these two books might also aid in pointing out other relevant sources.


On another note, the writer uses the treacherous concept of interactivity in several places without really defining what is meant by it here. A reference to DavidSaltz’s typification is made, but in fact the top-level distinction between staged vs participatory interaction unfortunately only opens up more questions. Useful references might include Steve Dixon’s ”Digital Performance: A History of New Media in Theater, Dance, Performance Art, and Installation” as well as Broadhurst & Machon’s ”Performance and Technology: Practices of Virtual Embodiment and Interactivity”.


The navigation of the exposition is clear and logical. The text is mainly easy to read, although some sentences are a bit heavy to follow, structural simplification would benefit the message. All in all, a more analytical ”helicopter view”, framing the exposition with a strong research question and anchoring it with detailed references, would raise the exposition’s value and relevance.

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