Chrysa Parkinson, Frank Bock, Andrew Hardwidge

A conversation about Studio Conversations

Filmed conversation between Gunhild Mathea Husvik-Olaussen, co-editor of issue #10, and Andrew Hardwidge, Chrysa Parkinson and Frank Bock, authors of Studio Conversations. 

During this conversation, the editor interweaves Studio Conversations with the overarching theme of Circulating Practices. Through this talk, you'll get an insight into Studio Conversations, a research project focused on ways of asking contemporary dance artists about the practices, working and knowing happening in their dancing. "Studio Conversations was originally intended to be published as an exposition in VIS. In recognition of the project's specific approach, we decided in dialogue with the authors to depart from the conventional exposition format. Instead, we've chosen to present Studio Conversations as a video discussion. This decision stems from our commitment to presenting artistic research in a way that best reflects the purpose of the project and the vision of its creators. The discussion was filmed on Stockholm University of the Arts (SKH) premises at Filmhuset on 29 September 2023.

Biography

Chrysa Parkinson is a Professor of Dance at Stockholm University of the Arts (SKH). She has worked as a professional dancer in the United States and Northern Europe with dance practitioners, visual artists, film makers and curators for over thirty years. Her research focuses on experiential authorship and the performer’s agency: how dance situates itself in practitioners’ lives and how performers, in turn, engage with, dismantle, and reconstitute worlds. Since 2011 Chrysa has directed the New Performative Masters education at the Dance Department of SKH. Currently, Chrysa is head of Subject for the dance department at SKH. She is also performing with Stina Nyberg in Make Hay While the Sun Shines and creating a new dance work with Rebecca Hilton. In collaboration with Frank Bock she has developed the research project: Dance Studio/Clearings and Conversations and heading a development project with Cullberg (SE) and Rosas (BE) on performers’ experiences of authorship, ownership, and control within artistic works.

Frank Bock was a founding member of UK dance company The Featherstonehaughs in 1987, and has also worked with choreographers, visual artists and theatre directors in the UK over twenty years. Also as co-artistic director of Bock and Vincenzi (1995-2007) a project-based company which created six productions. From 1999-2007 Bock and Vicenzi researched and developed a body of work under the title invisible dances, in which perception, memory, communication, death and disappearance were recurring themes. Each step of this research opened up possibilities and multiplied the potential directions of the next step (backwards and sideward as well as forwards). During this time they worked with over fifty collaborators that included; disabled artists, non disabled artists and actors, sound and video artists, computer programmers, philosophers, photographers, poets, writers, a phenomenologist academic and a spirit medium. They were drawn from England, Scotland, Norway, Armenia, Belgium and Brazil.The project took place in 27 blocks that manifested in several theatre pieces, a publication, and a work for the telephone. In 2012 Frank was invited to join Independent Dance (a UK organisation concerned with the development of dance through radical enquiry, learning, community-building and audience engagement) as artist curator where he produced three What Now festivals as well the talk series Crossing Borders inviting speakers from diverse disciplines to talk about the presence of body in their work. He worked there for fours years. Since 2006 Frank has been an accredited Existential Psychotherapist (UKCP, BACP), working in private practice. For the past ten years has been studying and somatic trauma healing (SE) and Focusing and is a certifying coordinator of the International Focusing Institute.

Andrew Hardwidge is a dance artist, dramaturg and anthropological researcher. His research focuses on the aesthetic, cultural and political entanglements of embodied practices, with a focus on questions of health, race, ecology and religion. He has recently been working on research looking at healing practices, their cosmologies and ontological politics.  As a dramaturg, his work has included Beyond Love (2023) with Dragana Bulut, Lasting figures with Salka Ardal Rosengren (2022), Companion (2022) by Hana Erdman, На Đ§Đ”ŃˆĐŒĐ°Ń‚Đ° (At The Source) (2018) by Gery Georgieva for Block Universe, as research dramaturg for Alex Baczynski-Jenkins at Chisenhale Gallery and with the Tate Modern and Boris Charmatz’s Musee de la Danse for the project What if Tate Modern were Musee de la Danse (2016).  In 2012 he was producer and manager for Tino Sehgal’s Turner Prize nominated work These associations (2012) for the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern. Previously he cofounded and curated the gallery and project space SHOW DOME in London. As a performer, he has worked with artists including, Ligia Lewis, Dragana Bulut, Joe Moran, Adam Linder, Stav Yeni, Beatrice Loft Schulz, Lina Hermsdorf, Else Tunemyr, Lucy McCormick, Alex Baczynski-Jenkins, Tino Sehgal, Arcade Fire, Simon Vincenzi, Choy Ka Fai, and Jose Luis Vidal. 

Studio Conversations

Studio Conversations are documented meetings between a dance artist and one or more conversation partners that take place in a dance studio. Studio Conversations invite the artist to speak about things that matter, from the perspective of their situatedness. This includes attention to an individual human subjectivity and  wider, dispersed senses of subjectivity. The conversations move between how dance practitioners are constituted and how forces such as affects, horizons and shared concerns can manifest choreographically. The Studio Conversations invites the consequences of textures, atmospheres, qualities, rhythms, and metaphors. The practice is loose, subjective, and open-ended. Through the Studio Conversations, Frank, Chrysa and their collaborators, have aimed to develop a means of question formation that does not ask for solutions or direct answers but instead proposes structures to support an embodied articulation of the unruly materials that constitute dancing and dance making. Studio Conversations explore the interactions, balance and negotiation between somatic experience and language, prioritizing nuances that emerge in activated space and time. This project has thus far focused on the communities working in professionalized concert dance and the academy in Northern Europe and North America. Studio Conversations were started as ‘Clearings’ by Frank Bock c.2008 and have developed into the current format in collaboration with Chrysa Parkinson. Later, Andrew Hardwidge, contributed specifically to the documentation and presentation of the project. In June 2022 Chrysa, Frank and Andrew Hardwidge hosted a presentation of the Studio Conversations research at Stockholm University of the Arts, BrinellvĂ€gen 58, Studios 12 and 13. Collaborators include: Alice Mackenzie, Andrew Hardwidge, Anna Westberg, Peter Mills, and Tilman O’Donnel.