Elfenbenhård udredning I: Handlingsvaluta som en pladsholder der skal afstå pladsen

Jeg har som bekendt besluttet mig for at tage hul på specialesumpbylden, og lade den dræne, idet jeg lader strømmen af mere eller mindre færdigtygget og -fordøjet materiale passere gennem en række konceptuelle og formidlingsmæssige filtre.

Det første materiale jeg vil filtrere, er det fænomen, jeg har kaldt handlingsvaluta. For at kunne analysere, hvad der sker, når børn løber rundt i en skolegård mellem hinanden, og interagerer på en række forskellige måder, har jeg fundet det nødvendigt at smede et nyt begreb. Jeg har af forskellige grunde, som jeg skal uddybe senere, valgt at kalde fænomenet for handlingsvaluta, og jeg har valgt at lave mit eget begreb, fordi jeg ikke har fundet en passende konceptuel ramme i de tekster, jeg på daværende tidspunkt havde mulighed for at læse. Jeg har på den måde indsat, hvad jeg i forskellige andre sammenhænge har set kaldt en pladsholder.

Det er en pladsholder, fordi begrebet holder pladsen for noget, som skal erstatte det. Mit mål i denne tråd er at forsøge erstatte begrebet handlingsvalutaer med et begreb(ssæt), som kan udgøre en dækkende konceptuel  ramme. Jeg vil med andre ord ikke opfinde den dybe tallerken, men prøve at finde den, i filosofien og antropologien. Det kræver et stykke gravearbejde, og jeg skal her, midlertidigt, uudtømmende og i ikke-prioriteret rækkefølge, opstille et par af de opgaver, det indebærer for mig.

work in progress

Work in progress. Draining the special swamp…

  • Første opgave er helt enkel. Jeg skal klippe den passage i mit speciale, hvor jeg definerer, hvad jeg mener med handlingsvaluta ud, og lægge den i en blogpost. Det har jeg allerede gjort, og du kan læse den her.
  • At trække sådan en tekstpassage ud af et speciale er som at trække et organ ud af en krop. Der er en hel masse forbindelser der er blevet kappet, og derfor kan det være svært for dig at finde mening i teksten, uden samtidig at læse resten af specialet. Derfor er min næste opgave at skrive en blogpost, hvor jeg kort udreder, hvad jeg mener med handlingsvaluta. Denne blogpost skal kulminere i en kondensering af problematikken, i en slags problemformulering.
  • En næste opgave vil være at diskutere, hvorfor problemstillingen overhovedet er relevant. Hvorfor er det så vigtigt at have et begrebssæt, der kan kaste lys over de fænomener, som jeg indtil videre har forsøgt at dække ind under begrebet handlingsvaluta? Hvad kan vi lære af det? Hvilke aktuelle problemstillinger vil blive belyst på en mere passende måde, med dette begrebssæt?
  • I forlængelse af denne udredning og diskussion bliver næste opgave at lave en menu over de delelementer, som kræver nærmere undersøgelse, og sætte dem op overfor etablerede tilgange, såsom semiotikken, spinozismen, conversational analysis, etc. Jeg skal sætte disse tilgange op som prismer, der kan kaste lys over min problemstilling, og det skal resultere i en række tekster, én for hver prisme.

Der er nok at tage fat på, så jeg griber skovlen og går i gang!

København 28 august 2017

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Elfenbenhård udvidelse af tankezonen

Jeg er fornyligt blevet færdig som cand.pæd. i pædagogisk antropologi, og det har været en meget omsiggribende proces. Men at jeg har afleveret og fået bedømt min afhandling betyder ikke, at den proces jeg har været igennem er slut. Afhandlingen er et forsøg på at sætte et punktum for en proces, men der er imidlertid en del løse ender, i form af halv- og ufærdige tankeprocesser, analyser og formidlinger, som kalder på at blive knyttet sammen og ført videre. Jeg har derfor hijacked min egen blog. Jeg har før gjort noget tilsvarende. Sidste gang omdøbte jeg den til Building Sound Communities. Denne gang om-omdøber jeg den til Udvidelse af tankezonen. Og så bliver den på dansk, nu…

Planen med Udvidelse af tankezonen er, som titlen indikerer, at tage den zone jeg har bevæget mig i, i mit akademiske arbejde, og udvide den, tænke og læse videre, og, ikke mindst – formidle!

Min formidling vil følge to veje. Ad den ene vej, som jeg – med hentydning til den rolle, man ofte tildeler ‘akademia’ – kalder Elfenbenhårdt, vil jeg arbejde videre i det akademiske format. Jeg vil nørde igennem med de små og mikroskopiske begrebsmæssige, metodologiske, ontologiske, epistemologiske, mm., problemstillinger, som jeg har haft i spil i min afhandling. Format: Jeg tager afsæt i en bid af mit speciale, og går i kødet på den, tygger den igennem på ny, kritiserer, analyserer, uddyber, og kommer med nye perspektiver, idet jeg graver dybere i de tekster jeg har arbejdet med og supplerer med nye.

Jeg går videre ad den elfenbenhårde vej fordi det akademiske arbejde er en proces, og jeg er ikke færdig med den endnu. Mit arbejde kan og skal skærpes, korrigeres, udvikles meget mere. Det er et arbejde der ser tilbage og indad. Publikum til disse blogposter er nok relativt begrænset.

Hvor den første vej skuer indad og bagud vil jeg med den anden vej skue ud- og fremad. Jeg vil bruge den som et sted, hvor jeg forsøger at spejle aktuelle problemstillinger i samfundet i de indsigter som mit akademiske arbejde har lukket op for. Jeg samler disse poster under overskriften Udspil. Publikum for disse poster er den typiske avis-læser. Den første post jeg poster hedder “At være eller ikke at være …. med”. I den tekst tager jeg afsæt i Socialdemokratiets nylige forslag om at forbyde muslimske friskoler som en anledning til at spørge, hvordan det egentlig står til med den demokratiske dannelse i den danske folkeskole. Jeg har sendt teksten ind til kronikredaktionerne på Information, Politiken og Berlingske, uden held. Så nu publicerer jeg den her…!

God læsning!

København 28 august 2017

Composición improvisada en grupos – nuevas experiencias

En enero – febrero 2016 estoy en la residencia de artistas de la fundacion Lugar a Dudas, en Cali, Colombia.

Durante mi estancia tengo la oportunidad de dar talleres en la Universidad del Valle y el Instituto Departemental de Bellas Artes.

En este video se puede ver estudiantes de música de la Universidad del Valle participando en un taller de composición improvisada en grupo.

Antes del taller di una introducción al marco conceptual:

Marco conceptual del taller de composición improvisada

(Hazle clic al imagen para ver en mas grande)

En mi experiencia hay una tendencia en mis talleres que la gente se divierten mucho. No obstante tengo esta pequeña inquietud que los participantes van a quedarse con eso – el entretenimiento, nada mas.

Con este marco conceptual mi esperanza fue que se den cuenta de lo serio que es ‘jugar’, y cuales son las relaciones con la vida ‘real’ y sus representaciones.

Inspirado por el filosofo francés Paul Ricour, el papel presenta en forma de diagrama la relación entre el campo practico, o la ‘vida real’ con todos sus acciones e interacciones, el orden paradigmático, en qué almacenamos nuestra conocimiento de cuales son las posibles combinaciones de las acciones y el orden syntagmático, qué tiene que ver con las representaciones actuales, es decir las obras de arte, las telenovelas, los narativos, composiciones etc., es decir formas de combinar lo potencial del orden paradigmático en algún tipo de composición que puede influenciar el campo practico de alguna forma, positiva o negativa.

Ver la introducción al marco conceptual:

What are you doing with your hands?

For the second time this year – and in my life – I had the luck to be invited to Helsinki, Finland. This time the host was Nordic Culture Point (Kulturkontakt Nord), and the occasion was the seminar:

The Role of Culture in a Sustainable Society – Sustainability in Art and Cultural Projects

My contribution was a workshop, and as I am stubbornly continuing in my aim to find out what we can do to build sound collectives, this time as well, I invited the participants to a collective experimentation with – not drugs  – but gesture.

The participants at the seminar were people who in some way or another dedicate their professional life to arts and culture, and I saw this as a great opportunity to try out something new. You see, I have this thing for our everyday life practices, things we do with our hands, things we create, we produce, etc.

The inspiration springs from my thoughts when going back from my residency in Cali, Colombia, 2014. I had a project there about informal work, street vendors, etc., and in Cali this was an area of very diverse, rich, and sophisticated gestures. The project focused on these gestures, and together with an ad hoc group of artists, I had gathered, we made workshops, happenings, videos, etc., around the patterns of these gestures. These gestures have a very heavy cultural significance, embedded in the everyday lives of the majority, and in the plane from Cali to Copenhagen, I thought: Well, how can we work with something similar in the modern welfare states? All these manual processes, manufacturing goods, etc., have been rationalized, centralized, robotized, and the gestures of our work lives are reduced to taps on our touchpads!

As you can see, the perspective of having a group of people whose work lives are full of sophisticated manual procedures was a really happy one. On top of that, the event itself was a place where it would make a lot of sense to ask the participants to take a round of introduction. The typical format one would use to this end would be the obligatory “speed dating” session.

I felt there was an inherent impulse in the group for getting to know each other, and I chose to grab this and direct it into a collective experiment, where – instead of using language, speed dating – we would get introduced to each other’s worlds through gesture.

Instead of simply asking the participants to do whatever kind of gesture, as I usually do, this time I invited them to do a gesture from an everyday life productive activity, and specified that it be something they felt good about, something they liked doing. Of course some of the participants would choose gestures from their professional life, – I am sure that I spotted some painters and some weavers, maybe a ceramicist – but I left it open for people to include, what they would be doing outside their specific professions.

So, what is the point of all this? Of course there is a great challenge in putting into words what sense it makes to interact without words, and I must admit that the first part where I had tried to explain these things, via good old powerpoint and everything, didn’t seem to have the same effect as the second, practical, part. I guess this is what they mean, when they say “show it”? In any case, if you are interested in being confused on a higher level, as they say, you can read my introductory speech here.

To get an idea about the participant’s response to the workshop itself, see it for yourself:

Links:
Second seminar on Culture and Sustainability presented practical examples from the field,  an article by Annika Nummelin about the seminar.

The Role of Culture in a Sustainable Society – Sustainability in Art and Cultural Projects, about the seminar.

Art as consumption vs artists engaging in real life collective processes, my speech at the seminar.

Art as consumption vs artists engaging in real life collective processes

This is (part of) my speech at the seminar The Role of Culture in a Sustainable Society – Sustainability in Art and Cultural Projects, Helsinki, Finland, 2015-09-23
Artistic workshop about sustainable collectives through sound and movement

( I start by reciting my blogpost What Makes us a Collective? explaining the model above, and then continue … )

” … This model stresses the circular relationship between producing and consuming, and it suggests to regard these two processes as if they are unfolding in a space of their own. It also suggests that this producing-consuming space is embedded in a space of playing, and that there is a circular relationship between these two spaces.

Finally, I would like to add that the model will sharpen the focus on the synchronicity of the elements. It will open our eyes for the everyday life muddy human activities, where people are producing something, consuming something, and playing with the elements around them, creating new connections between things and activities.

Where do artistic processes fit in this model? The way our art world is working in general, right now, I would say that art is something people consume. Maybe the artist him-/herself is engaged in a process where he or she, according to this model, would be entering the “playing space”/ third space. But the people benefitting from this playful process are not part of it.

Still, people do engage in playful activities in their everyday lives, and as I am trying to say with this model, these are very important elements of building and sustaining sound collectives.

This is why I am saying: What happens if an artist opens up a common “playing space” with people in an actually lived, more or less culturally sustainable, collective?

What happens if artists engage real life collectives in activities that are based on the artist’s knowledge and tools? These tools that the artist has developed and used for playing with elements from the immediate surroundings, and that can now be used to play with the everyday life elements of a given collective. Not in the form of artistic products to be consumed by the collective, but in the form of a collective process, including non-artists in the artistic process.

What we are going to try in the other room, is to enter this modality of playing, while drawing on elements from our everyday activities. The same way we would be doing, if we were working with any kind of collective, as artists.”

Read about the workshop here: What are you doing with your hands?

Creating a sense of communality through sound and gesture – Minna Liski’s report on Building Sound Collectives

Minna Liski’s comments/report on
Building Sound Collectives Workshop
Casper Hernández Cordes, Fonografit (Denmark)
Fri 8th at 11.30-13.00

The Open Stage concept of the conference was about forming an experimental platform where art and science could meet and establish a dialogue. It is understood that this dialogue may help artists and scientists gain new perspectives on their own work and together acquire new ways and tools to reflect on sustainable development issues. Although science and art have become to be identified as two separate areas they however share an underlying will and motivation to extend our experience of the world and our understanding of it. I believe that at the heart of both science and art is a desire for the pleasure of understanding something new and communicating this to others. One can say that science is more interested in finding answers and truths, whereas art is more interested in asking questions and is therefore more comfortable with uncertainty. This quality of art is however extremely useful when dealing with complicated and wicked problems related to the future of this planet.

As part of the Open Stage, the workshop facilitated by composer Casper Hernández Cordes was an example of using arts-based methods in trying to find a common understanding. This workshop in particular tried to find answers and questions on what roles non-verbal communication may play in our efforts in building collectives and if it is possible to build a collective from scratch, from an ad-hoc and diverse group of people, such as the group of conference participants.

We humans normally talk, discuss, argue, make speeches, give presentations, debate, ie. communicate verbally when we try to find a common understanding. But as Hernández Cordes said in his workshop introduction, it is not that words are bad, but there are other ways of experiencing the world and much more at play in human interaction. For example Dr. Albert Mehrabian, who conducted several studies on nonverbal communication concluded that only around 7% of any message is conveyed through words, 38% through certain vocal elements, and 55% through nonverbal elements (facial expressions, gestures, posture, etc). One can disagree with his findings, but they should make us think deeper into the role of sounds and gestures in our expression, however. As is noted in the workshop abstract these forms of non-verbal interaction are ”closely linked with our fundamental capacities for building trust and showing empathy, and for relating to our peers in ways that circumvent hierarchies and prejudice”.

Arts-based methods are a general conception for all kinds of actions ranging from community art projects to workplace development interventions. They might be a one-time workshop like this one during the conference or applied for longer periods depending on the aims set. It is believed that the methods can promote (co-)learning, communality and social interaction in particular. The conference workshop clearly brought people who did not know each other before together and created interaction. Maybe therefore a better place for it would have been earlier in the programme, so the neutral platform it provided for people to meet and discussions it roused could have had more of an effect – more discussion and interaction during the rest of the programme.

The neutrality regarding arts-based methods comes from the equality the workshop participants experience as they participate without their usual social roles. The methods promote a feeling of everyone doing something for the first time and therefore there cannot be any experts. It’s a kind of co-jump to the unknown. There are no pre-set rules of what is wrong or what is right. Especially in this particular workshop concentrating on non-verbality, the participants learned something totally different about one another as there were no usual introductions of name, title and organisation etc. They for example learned what different colours sounded like according to the fellow participants – totally new kind of knowledge.

Although the facilitator sets the tasks and keeps the workshop going, it is the activity of the participants that push the workshop forward as they keep offering different kinds of solutions or alternatives to each other based on their own experience, feelings and skills. The gestures provided by the workshop participants had a whole range of human movement capacity and there was no judgement on which gestures were better. By seeing and hearing different ways of reacting, gesturing and sound making, which are all equally important, not one better than the other, can give a strong sense of empowerment. It can also help to understand how many different points of views and ways of doing things there can be, ie. the diversity. One might also understand one’s own actions better.

Arts-based methods are very good when working at interfaces, when there are many voices, many approaches. They can help form a common understanding and an understanding that there might be many different ways of solving problems. The exercise of picking two people to follow and trying to keep the triangle, an equal distance between them and yourself, demonstrated this in a very concrete way. It was hard to control the others to find the balance. It was made even more concrete by naming the persons one followed “culture” and “sustainability”.

The arts-based methods are usually considered fun and there is a lot of laughter involved, like in this workshop. Who says that serious discussion always brings better results than amusing co-creation? Could there be more fun ways of trying to solve problems? The arts-based methods are also very good at providing the element of surprise. In this workshop one of the participants suddenly facilitated the workshop because he had mentioned during the feedback discussion that he knew a similar exercise to do with listening and following your ears instead of your eyes.

There was a constant feel of testing and experimenting in the workshop. Hernández Cordes also made sure that if there was any kind of feeling of discomfort regarding the tasks, one did not have to participate. Regarding building a collective on can question if it is right if some members of the possible collective only watch and observe. Can they still feel being part of the collective? Obviously one cannot force anyone to take part, so there may be different levels of commitment to the collective.

As well as trying to form one common gesture from all the gestures provided by the participants – the group’s own genuine gesture – the workshop explored the use of other senses than sight. Because we rely so much on our eyes, it seems a lot of other kind of information passes us unnoticed. Especially with music-based methods making sounds and listening to others can create a strong sense of communality, being part of a collective. According to recent studies into human brain, it is has become clear how important sounds, which have over time become music, have been to us humans and in our development.

A common reflection at the end of the workshop can usually open up the common understanding further. Hopefully this was the case this time also. The video filmed about the workshop can give further information to the facilitator about the exercises and methods and act as a form of research. It also gives some new perspective regarding small details and timing, for example.

Links:

Video documentation from the workshop.

The conference: Culture(s) in sustainable futures.

Follow Minna Liski on academia.edu.

President of Totemization

Today: Workshop with 18 young people from DIS – Danish Institute for Studies Abroad.

On the menu:

  1. Building the collective through: gesture imitation, gesture merging, jibberish, jibberish emotionalized, emotionalizing the space by attributing an emotional state to each corner.
  2. Totemizing the collective. Dividing the group into 6 “tribes”, with “totems” borrowed from our natural biotope, ie elements from free commercial postcards, such as “queen”, “beer”, “car”, “art run”, etc.
  3. Building immaterial instruments. Each “tribe” created an “instrument”, only using what was at hand, with the constraint of using the principle of either an idiophone, membranophone, aerophone, chordophone, electrophone, none-of-the-above-ophone.
  4.  With the sound from the “instruments” recorded, and after a break, we proceeded to performing collective improvisations, a “chorus” using microphones to form the “instrumental” sounds with their voices, “dancers” conducting the chorus by moving in the emotional space. etc.

Here are the resulting collective improvisations: