In this entrance, I describe and reflect on my learning experience during the practice-based internship that the collective PIPS:Lab offered me and the impact in the research of the conversations I had to Keez Duyves during that time. The experience lasted three weeks, between November and December of 2018.
Moreover, at the end of this entrance, I reflect on how the feedbacks of Keez Duyves, who became an active stakeholder of the research, influenced the inquiry and the resulting art piece.
About the internship.
My internship was hosted by the company PIPS:Lab, a hybrid collective which creates performances and art installations and does research in the field of technological storytelling. Moreover, I had the opportunity to observe while working and research with Keez Duyves, an artist and inventor that makes part of the collective.
About Keez Duyves
Keez Duyves is an artist and inventor with theatre and technology backgrounds. He is one of the founders of PIPS:Lab and at the time I had the internship, the most active member of the hybrid collective I perceived.
My observations during my stance.
The shadowing of Keez happened on different days and intermittently. The whole process covered about four days of shadowing experience spread during a period of three weeks.
My first observations started when I was sharing my idea of a practical internship with Keez.
Although I was not aware why exactly Keez was offering me this opportunity, I sensed that the cross between different disciplines, in this case, dance and technology, was interesting for him.
Later in our conversations, he confessed he offered this opportunity to me because I was fun, something I understood later in the internship it was an essential element in his practice.
Coming back to the point, from my awareness of Keez’s interest in the insights that a cross between disciplines can bring, I had to ask myself what I could contribute on in that cross.
Thinking along with Keez was as enriching as challenging. His knowledge about different disciplines and his awareness of the possible potential of bringing them together to make them work toward his interests were making the conversation fast and complex. His ability to zoom out and see the potential of our ideas and suddenly get extremely fast to the practice was as inspiring as uncomfortable for me, as I was not mastering those abilities yet.
One of the conversations that made me step out of my comfort zone happened while we were preparing the schedule and methodology for the research internship. He asked me to place a session, at the beginning of the internship in which we would jump wildly into the potential of the use of the panels while forgetting about pre-made concepts, goals and thoughts. This, of course, was interesting for me but confronting, as the uncertainty brought by my lack of knowledge of technology and the lack of awareness related to where that session could lead my process was asking from me to lose a certain amount of control.
Finally, embracing his methodology, I discovered, for example, a very valuable tool now present in my research as is the maquette from where I produce live images on stage.
On the other hand, although this fact is impossible to frame now for me in single actions, the humour that Keez uses as a tool in his research as well and in his communication tools, made re-value that tool and implement it gradually in my research.
Moreover, I observed Keez tools on leadership and they were related to my last point. While observing the way Keez was bringing a team together and achieve the involvement of every person in the project, I realize that joy and humour were an important tool related to his leadership. The fact that he was able to spread or maintain a joyful atmosphere while researching was making people feel free to fail and so to research. Moreover, he has a deep awareness of the strong connection that humour creates between people and use it to create cohesion within the collective.
This reflection made me implement the tools that humour and joy would bring me, not right away or at least not consciously right away in this internship, but in my following movement research with a group.
Another tool Keez was using to involve and connect people with his project was based on finding the common interest between those people and him or his project. Working from a common interest, especially when the cross of disciplines is involved, make a path possible and enriching.
This observation made me implement this tool right away, maybe not very consciously yet though, for example in my relationship with Sjoerd, an intern at PIPS:Lab.
Finally, my observations of Keez’s methodology were related to a question I had when I first entered into the studio space: What is doing all this mess here?
A considerable amount of the conversations I had with Keez, as well of the rest PIPS:Lab collective, they were about where to find this or that cable, or phone or light or key. This experience made me wonder if this fact was bringing a lack of efficiency to the process and made me wonder what would happen if as researchers we would find more order there.
I first asked myself and the answer was, again, found in the process of doing itself. I found myself researching with tools I spotted on the floor, without asking for permission, experimenting with technology I would never dare to use if I would find it in a drawer perfectly saved and targeted. I also found myself allowing myself to get loose in my process, inspired by the space.
Then I imagined the people who, like me, is coming to the studio space with lots of ideas but with an uncomfortable feeling of being scared about the use of technology or simply about the fact of researching in a new environment that does not belong to them.
The answered was simple for me, the lack of order was as inefficient as a good research process should be, under my point of view.
The fact that the studio space was allowing experimentation and failure was a really nice tool for the dialogue between disciplines and the act of creation.
An interview with Keez.
After the internship, I had the opportunity to interview with Keez. The talk happened by Skype. One can access the recording of the conversation here:
Notes on the feedbacks of Keez Duyves during the creation process of the piece.
After the internship, Keez Duyves became and active stakeholders and external eye of the research and creation processes, offering multiple feedbacks during the rest of the inquiry.
The feedback sessions happened in three different moments: in December of 2018, after I first presented the result of my findings on the research line about de-structuration of the space and expanded scenography, named lines of flights and expanded choreography; in June of 2019, at one of the rehearsals in which the movement research and the scenographic research were brought together; and in August of 2019 after the final piece was presented for the second time in front of an audience.
The first feedback of Keez was centred in my performativity as a hoster of the event and manipulator of technology and the relationship between the use of video images and the movement of the panels. From this feedback on, I started understanding and naming the space created through the scenography as a playful laboratory. Also, I started to diving in a more specific relation between images and movement in order to build a second dimension in the space with its use and choreographing them through space with the same precision as the other elements on stage.
The second feedback of Keez brought insights into the aesthetics of the disposition of the technology tools such as cables and beamer. Keez advised us to display those tools in concordance with the delicate atmosphere of the piece and the clean appearance of other props. Moreover, Keez pointed out the humouristic approach of the creation, brought up by the physicality of the performers and tinted by the absurdism of certain actions and images.
Finally, in the last feedback, Keez helped us with the technicality of the piece, working towards a cleaner approach to the transition between video projections. Moreover, he questioned the accessibility of the audience to the multiple actions that happened at the same time, bringing the question about the importance of making explicitly visible both actions for the audience and making me wonder about my purpose while not making explicit that view.
Meeting Keez brought me valuable insights into many layers that I already started to implement in my research. On one hand, his tools for communication, especially with people that apparently do not share interests with one, inspired me and made me look at humour and joy as powerful tools to build enriching bridges and to enjoy my process.
On the other hand, his research methodology inspired me to get back to my deepest interests, where wildness and joy are they both always present.
Moreover, Keez tools to connect and deepen the involvements of the individuals inside his collective brought me insights for further teamwork process in which I will be involved and hopefully for the setup of my own company.
His ability to be aware of the repercussions of his own research inside his field and other fields increase my urgency of being open and prepared for the impact of my own research in other fields out of the choreography one.
Finally, the feedbacks that he offered us influenced the research and the resulting art piece in a technical, artistic and epistemological level.