Event: Workshop, VestAndPage, artist(s)/author(s): VestAndPage (Verena Stenke, Andrea Pagnes), Andrea Pagnes
The intensive VestAndPage workshops follow the artist duo's unique collaborative method through the process of making a performative piece. Through practical exercises, participants will be provided with the means to conceive, develop and realise their own performance piece. Through reflecting on the use of the body as an artistic tool, the workshops focus on introspection as a way to develop authentic modes of expression and artistic action. The workshops offer insight into the framework of process-led and conceptual art practice, with the aim to provide basis for future artistic material. Therefore, as well as for gaining further understanding of VestAndPage’s collaborative art practice, participants develop a heightened awareness of body, mind and spirit, with the means to stimulate artistic personal action though inner sensitivity.
VestAndPage workshops fund on three pillars:
Through methodology aimed at understanding prevailing behavioral patterns as well as the individual and social responsibilities of art, participants develop new ways of communicating and overcoming of fears of our conflicting contemporary conditions.
Fragile Limits is an investigation of the human body through its own reading and the concept of the "Three Bodies": Body-Body, Mind-Body, Psyche-Body. The bodies and their ways of expression; the bodies in interaction with the others and within a given reality; interaction with auxiliary tools/media. A constant fragility of every achieved moment, evolution and transformation serves as a base for artistic creation. Fragile Limits investigates existential human conflicts, as well as the often hidden but existing relationships between Man and his discomforts, frustrations, griefs and diseases (physical - mental - spiritual). More than a technical one, it is an aesthetic control and a manipulation of space (holy but empty space at the same time) that guides the participants through creative and sensitive imagery and body language, into an open confrontation with themselves.
"An artist primarily recognizes him/herself as a tool of his/her own work, improving knowledge and investigating the cutting-edge existing between “what I want to do and what someone wants to do of/about me.” ~ VestAndPage
Through a processual methodology producing site-responsive performative pieces, participants are provided in practical exercises with the means to exercise contextual, process-led and situation-responsive performance art practice. This workshop is conceived to develop body-based performance work, which psycho-geographically responds to natural surroundings, social contexts, historical sites or architecture. In Situ questions the individual and the collective within social or environmental spheres, and works with relations and awareness.
"Taking the familiar and staging it within epic, alien or unimaginable landscapes or architectures, the result is a heightened reality: both entirely surreal and as familiar as a dream. Eventually, it becomes more a matter of choosing ‘where’ to do it, and not ‘what’ to do. … Our duty is to listen, to welcome the environments influences. With respect to the history, uniqueness and powerful configuration of any location and situation, we listen in order to find ways of expressions not conceived or thought of a priori; stories that places and situations tell to and through us beyond their mere appearance. To be inspired by the surrounding, and to translate what we hear, freed from description or intent." ~ VestAndPage
MayDay is an intense 7- to 8-days workshop based on daily 24-hour conditions (or focuses). The practical workshop exercises are framed within these daily focuses. MayDay, with its extended time and durational tasks, allows the participants to enter into a concentrated process of artistic and personal research. The common grounds of investigation change daily, and MayDay follows the traces of our cultural, spiritual, corporal mutations and conflicts. The participants are being led out of (pre-)configured spaces, and invited to enter and encounter each other in real, virtual and imaginary spaces. Within these exhibition/production spaces of the individual, private/social and hybrid bodies, the full space of body experience happen as a 'melting pot', a cosmogony, that is both analogical and digital: le lieu d’habitude of our daily life.
"Tired of looking at things from an usual and obsolete perspective, with few friends, full of memories and remembrances, with a no-limits imagination, pathological, perverted, deprived, deviant, surreal, overwhelmed and overruled by daily prosaic worries and ordinary thoughts, being still beautiful, in a constant journey towards new productions, slowly moving to an end, living into an irreversible crisis, always clutched by doubts, sometimes radiant, other times miserable, being stuck for an answer, when where is a nowhere or somewhere else, with at least a hope in our hearts- looking at a feeble response, our fragile constituent limits- we invite people to gather those left things they really care - to share them with us and the others." ~ VestAndPage
The facilitators lead exercises on a range of performance techniques and approaches, which blur the boundaries between visual art, live art, writing and contemporary performance practices:
- Working solo and as a group;
- Creating intimate solo performance material;
- Devising and improvisation techniques;
- Actions/rules/chance-based techniques;
- Objects and actions in space as performance;
- Developing quality of presence;
- Confidence in using the physical self as a vehicle for meaning in performance;
- Audience-performer relationships – levels and modes of interaction;
- Exploring the role of time and pattern – e.g. duration, endurance, speed, and repetition.
- Working towards touching point zero in judgment and intention, heightening perception, introspection, to then rebuild an authenticity-based expression, for finally transforming visions and ideas into a concrete artistic action.
- Taking distance from being virtuous by establishing, evaluating, and energizing the personal action in se.
- Freeing oneself from common behavioral patterns so as to create new ways of encountering, collaborating and living.
- Investigating personal and collective social responsibility through artistic acts.
- Overcoming the fragile constituent limits, may they be based on physicality, fears or social patterns.
- Touching and strengthening the most human inner sensors in order to activate personal and universal memories, for using as germinal matter for future artistic substance.
- Entering a state of heightened awareness and perception, in order to conceive out-of-the-ordinary artistic visions, being in first instance process-led.
Actions and exercises are innovative and inspired by Dynamic Creative Breathing, Social Theater, Living Theater, Grotowski, Barba, Leclerc, Oriental Theatre and Mysticism, Martial Arts, Contemporary Dance, Authenticity, Inner Library, Liminality, Breath, Archetypes, Rituality, Memory activation, Object work, Time-Duration-Rhythm, Voice/Sound, Emotional Atmosphere, Inter-activity, Group dynamics, Macro- and Microspherology.
Verena Stenke and Andrea Pagnes are experienced workshop facilitators for students, art professionals of different backgrounds and non-art participants, either normally endowed or differently abled, of any age. They have been invited to hold practical workshops, research lectures and teachings in institutions worldwide such as Centre for Community Cultural Development (Hong Kong), Museo Universitario del Chopo (Mexico City), Universidad Nacional de las Arte Experimental (Caracas), Taipei Artist Village (Taipei), SAIC School of the Arts Institute (Chicago), NYU Steinhardt School of Culture (Venice/New York), School for Curatorial Studies (Venice), Seoul Art Space (Seoul), EMBA Escuela Carlos Morel (Buenos Aires), FADO Performance Art Centre (Toronto), Grace Exhibition Space (New York), Dfbrl8r Gallery (Chicago), TeaK Theater Academy (Helsinki), The Substation Theater (Singapore), Albanian University of Arts (Tirana), BITEF Theater (Belgrade), Theater Academy Isole Comprese (Florence), Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia (Venice), Universidad Austral (Valdivia, Chile), Alumnos47 Foundation (Mexico City), Open Space Gallery (Victoria B.C.), Deutsches Institut (Florence), ]performance s p a c e [ (London), KARST Gallery (Plymouth), IPA International Performance Association (Istanbul) and others.
The text "MayDay: VestAndPage Workshop Concept, Theory and Practice" published in: "How We Teach Performance Art: University Courses and Workshop Syllabus", Edited by Valentin Torrens. Outskirts Press, July 2014, is downloadable as pdf at the following link: https://www.academia.edu/8720659/MayDay_VestAndPage_Workshop_Concept_Theory_and_Practice