performance

Support Nomadic Arts Festival and its artists

We seek your support to make Nomadic Arts Festival 2014: Between Wheat & Pine the best it can be!!

What is Nomadic Arts Festival?

20140504131610-naf03_corn_cropNomadic Arts Festival is an experimental festival focusing on diversity, connectivity and community, through performance work and creative expression. Its nomadic nature encourages mobility, both geographically and in its form. Therefore the festival changes shape and is set in a different location each year. Each cultural, social and ecological context of every festival site shape the creative and artistic theme of each festival – attempting to create a mobile community of sharing, creativity, research, exploration and fluidity.

This year the festival will take place in two locations in Poland: Warsaw and Charciabałda. The latter is more specifically an “off-grid” farm, in north-east Poland, located at an old wheat field, set between pine forests, of which the 2014 festival has taken its name and theme.

The festival at Charciabałda, will therefore be a two day intimate gathering, set ‘Between Wheat & Pine’ with focus on the proximity and relationship with the surrounding environment. It will be a small community with collective dinners, workshops, regional folk dance and performances from international artists, exploring the diversity of the theme ‘Body & Earth’

In Warsaw, Nomadic Arts Festival, in Collaboration with In Situ Foundation, Pracownia Zelazna will present a two day performance event, gathering performance and live art from the transnational communities of performance makers, across Poland. It will be two busy days with a wide range of experimental performances.

In Situ Foundation

Pracownia Zelazna

Burdąg Foundation

Program

The 2014 program will be a mixture of national and international performances, all dealing with the theme ‘Body & Earth’. Here is a selection of the artist for the 2014 program:

RED BIND (Toulouse) with RED POLE DANCE
www.kedzior-­‐friedman.org

Alfie, Ben and Stefan (London, Bristol, Göteborg) with From here Dotąd
walkingfromheretothere.wordpress.com

Anna Haracz, Dana Chmielewska and Agata Gregorkiewicz (from across Poland) with Would you walk with me?
www.dialogotancu.com.pl
Karolina Kubik (Poznan)with Untitled (Wound. Landscape units, related with observations and conquest, through the rhetorics of human body)
Site Specific Performance working with the local community.

Wahshi Kuhi (Iran/Kurdistan/ Berlin) with My father was an oak tree in Marivan! The army burned him down. My mother was dried. and me…
http://wiryabudaghi.wordpress.com

Supi(Oxford, England)with THE EARTH’S EMBRACE  (Ancient Burial Ritual)
www.suepennington.com

AND THERE ARE MORE ARTISTS YET TO COME!

OUR TARGET

We have created this campaign to ask for your support to raise money and make Nomadic Arts Festival the best it can be. We need your help to reach our target of €2000 (and beyond!) in order to cover the last basic expenses of the festival:

  • -Festival materials
  • -Documentation
  • -Transportation to and from Warsaw and the festival site

But we hope to raise more!

This is why:

The festival is run voluntarily and we have done our best to keep our costs as low as possible, yet we feel we have a responsibility towards the artists who are presenting work at the festival. So far we have only been able to cover their travel costs, which means that all the artists are working voluntarily, which warms our hearts, as it means that they believe in the ethos and ideas behind the festival. Though as an organisation we do feel committed to make the best attempt in supporting the artists, both artistically and financially. The money we raise during this campaign, which exceeds our target, will therefore go exclusively to the artists presenting work at the festival – divided equally between them.

Background and Ethos

‘the nomad is a […] intensive, multiple entity, 

functioning in a net of interconnections […] 

the site of multiple connections.’

-Rosi Braidotti (Nomadic Subject)

The festival has grown out of an ecological desire to use the realm of the arts for research, sharing and creativity, whereby to explore and draw focus to the specificities of local, cultural and geographical contexts. Similarly being nomadic by nature, the festival also puts an emphasis on creating intercultural and transnational communities. Focusing on sharing as a key ethos for learning, developing and exploring, the festival therefore aims to set up temporary communities throughout the world, where connections, relation and exchanges are facilitated.

The artists are the backbone of the festival and it is them who offers the opportunity for people to get together. Their sharing of research and explorations gives colours to the festival, but furthermore create a scope into the theme each festival presents, as a body of research of that theme, which will culminate in a documentation of the festival. So the festival both have an emphasis as an arts festival celebrating cultures, communities and the value of Live Art, but also functions as an exploration and research into themes, as an aim to shed new light on human and ecological conditions and issues of living in our contemporary world.

Other Partners and Associates


Nomadic Village


Give & Get


TaniecPolska

Other Ways You Can Help

Tell all your friends and spread the word on social medias, emails and word of month. Any help would be warmly appreciated!!

Also join our facebook site and twitter and visit our website:

www.nomadicartsfestival.com

www.facebook.com/nomadicartsfestival

twitter.com/NomadicArtsFest

Performing arts conference in Canada: ‘Staging Sustainability’

This post comes to you from Culture|Futures

An international three-day conference on ‘Staging Sustainability: People, Planet, Profit, Performance’ will be the largest gathering of innovative sustainability practitioners in the world to focus on ways in which performance can positively affect our planet.

staging-sustainability2014

The conference ‘Staging Sustainability 2014’ will introduce the attendees to ground breakers working across Canada, on Broadway, in London, in community gardens — as well as all points in-between — to remake the way we work in the performing arts.

“Performance has always been about how the work affects people. Now we are ready to look at how our performances can affect a sustainable world.”

On 2-5 February 2014 the conference will be hosted at three downtown Toronto venues — MaRS Discovery District, 99 Sudbury, and The Theatre Centre — and will also be streamed to satellite locations across Canada. Live performances illuminating sustainability will be staged throughout the conference and into the weekend.

Performing arts professionals — producers, performers, technicians, funders, decision makers, and anyone interested in how the performing arts can support sustainability efforts — are invited to attend.

Session topics
• How does an artist talk about environmental issues through performance?
• What are approaches to Sustainability in the Arts? Makers, Presenters, Contexts.
• What part do designers play in bringing sustainable practice into performance?
• How are facilities integrating sustainable practices into their operations?
… and more.

Organisers
‘Staging Sustainability 2014’ is presented by ArtsBuild Ontario and the Centre for Sustainable Staging at York University in partnership with Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA), Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT),Canadian Institute of Theatre Technology, Cape Farewell Foundation, Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, and MaRS Discovery District.

Centre for Sustainable Staging
The Centre for Sustainable Staging at York University brings together learning, applied research, and industry partners at the forefront of sustainability in performance and exhibition.


» Conference home page: stagingsustainability.ca

Culture|Futures is an international collaboration of organizations and individuals who are concerned with shaping and delivering a proactive cultural agenda to support the necessary transition towards an Ecological Age by 2050.

The Cultural sector that we refer to is an interdisciplinary, inter-sectoral, inter-genre collaboration, which encompasses policy-making, intercultural dialogue/cultural relations, creative cities/cultural planning, creative industries and research and development. It is those decision-makers and practitioners who can reach people in a direct way, through diverse messages and mediums.

Affecting the thinking and behaviour of people and communities is about the dissemination of stories which will profoundly impact cultural values, beliefs and thereby actions. The stories can open people’s eyes to a way of thinking that has not been considered before, challenge a preconceived notion of the past, or a vision of the future that had not been envisioned as possible. As a sector which is viewed as imbued with creativity and cultural values, rather than purely financial motivations, the cultural sector’s stories maintain the trust of people and society.
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New Perspectives on Ecological Performance Making, London

This one-day symposium will bring together researchers, practitioners and students for a discursive investigation of performance approaches that explore the human relationship with the natural world. The recent Readings in Performance and Ecology (2012) and Performing Nature (2007) acknowledge that ‘conventional theatre’ may not be as well positioned to intersect with ecology as other forms of performance. Other paradigms such as eco-activism, bicycle performances, outdoor audio-walks, landscape performances, allotment performances, live art and site-based participatory performance offer unique opportunities for audiences to intimately engage with the living world and interact directly with the material environment. Recent examples of practice include Simon Whitehead’s work, Townley and Bradby’s The Bowthrope Experiment, Earthrise Repair Shop, Platform’s Oil City, the work of Fevered Sleep and FanSHEN’s Green and Pleasant Land. This symposium will assemble key people in the field of Performance and Ecology to explore how new paradigms can be developed from a number of different perspectives and expertise on the subject.

Hosted by the Theatre Applied Research Centre, confirmed participants include Wallace Heim, FanSHEN, Julie’s Bicycle, Sally Mackey, Ian Garrett, Harry Giles, Stephen Bottoms, Dee Heddon, Carl Lavery, Dead Good Guides, Peter Coates, Silvia Battista, Eve Katsouraki, Gareth Somers, Sarah Hopfinger, and Baz Kershaw.

Lunch will be provided along with tea and coffee.

Book Now: New Perspectives on Ecological Performance Making Tickets, London – Eventbrite.

Touring Artists and Presenters: Partnering for Change

I’m a solo, touring, performance artist.  Really solo. I often travel alone and my lighting and sound requirements are minimal.  Compared with many touring artists and companies, I’m already a fairly green operation.  I didn’t plan it this way – it’s just that my work relies on audience interaction rather than on stunning set or lighting design.  And still I worry about my personal impact on the environment because I spend so much time in the air and in hotels.

My concern has prompted me to offer a free add-on to anyone who books my shows: skilled facilitation on the topic of building greener theatres and touring practices.  Good discussions (especially those which include diverse participants) don’t happen automatically; facilitation helps.  Before I was a performance artist, I was a teacher, facilitator and mediator.  And these activities still influence how my mind works:  I look for the ways in which constituents with different ideologies, concerns and perspectives are not communicating well with each other – and I look for our common aims.  The most basic of these are:

  • Building audiences for live performance;
  • Developing more environmentally sound practices; and
  • Saving money.

So now what?  Start with what’s working well, of course.  The Green Theater Initiative is a great start.  I’ll be part of a panel on greening the theatre at the next ATHE conference (Association for Theatre in Higher Education) in New York in 2009.  And surely strides are being made around the world about which I have much to learn.  But for now, I’d like to present a few of the barriers to the type of partnership that could accelerate our progress toward these common goals.

1)  Scheduling Practices

My agent has heard enough from me about this one to last a lifetime!  “Why can’t they work together and save some travel costs?” I whine, as I struggle to schedule travel to Georgia, Michigan, California and New York – all within a week’s time! For an annual festival in a certain city, I can expect to accommodate specific dates, but for colleges and theatres who regularly book a full slate of touring artists, can’t something be done?

Interestingly, there are areas that do “block booking” better than others. My agent is active with the NACA (National Association for Campus Activities) and claims that the Northeast is better at cooperation than any of the other regions. What could they do to influence others – to discuss the positive outcomes of partnering with others to reduce travel and per-show costs? What if presenters looked at the results of a show more broadly than good reviews and good ticket sales.

A contracting economy presents opportunities to do things differently. Driving toward cheaper, “amateur”, or local arts offerings is one option.  Yet, this alone can’t supplant professional touring.  Some presenters have already reduced payment to touring groups to nothing but a cut of ticket sales, or they offer “stipends” of $500 per show.  American artists already live in a climate of limited funding and this response will further limit the array of artists who can afford to devote real time to their craft.

Another option is to engage artists more, rather than less.  Currently, the main focus is to complete the season’s schedule with large audiences and perhaps critical acclaim. What if the goal shifted to engaging audiences and community in a certain form of artistic exploration, or with a certain theme, or with a type of activism?  Surely you already know of theatres or campuses that do this – but rarely do they involve the artists who’ve just provided the performance.

Touring artists are actually a rich source of information about how things have gone well – and not so well – in different communities in the past.  But it’s rare that anyone ever asks us. This brings me to the second barrier.

2)  Presenters’ and Performers’ Roles

I arrived on the arts scene with the assumption that people with common interests should want to communicate freely and openly with one another. What I found were some pretty strict protocols about interactions that I often violate, in my idealistic naiveté. Here are some of the role-specific expectations I’ve encountered that can serve as barriers for creating environmentally friendly practices.

Artists are solicitors who are trying to sell their wares.  They may be brilliant on stage, but in conversations, they’re always selling.

We are treated like (and sometimes act like) used car salesmen pushing products of dubious quality for inflated prices.  At events such as the APAP (Association of Performing Arts Presenters) and NACA conferences, presenters rarely speak to performers, unless they’ve witnessed and loved their work.  It’s impossible to form collegial relationships based on mutual interests in these environments because it’s all about buying and selling.  The buyers isolate themselves.

If an artist is reaching out to a presenter, it’s because he’s not very good.  If he were good, he’d be in demand and not have time to chat.

Let’s face it, many performers construct a celebrity persona because that’s how the business works.  Performers who are “professionals” should seem aloof and disconnected. We accumulate fans rather than partners or even constituents.  The performers isolate themselves from all conversations except those regarding booking.

Presenters, funders, artists and performance/theatre scholars are so isolated and “professionalized” that their common interests are hidden.

First off, everyone wants more funding. (More on this in the next section.)  But fundamentally, there are different professional norms and values driving these groups that, theoretically, could work together toward common aims.  One of the biggest ideological divides is between those who protect and fund “high art” and those who champion and fund “populist art.”   There may be different ideas about the “value” of different offerings, but that shouldn’t prevent us from coming together on environmental issues. When it comes to touring, we all fly in planes and we all need the stage lights UP!

There are many ways that our role-specific behaviors negatively effect the environment.  Here’s one example: touring relies on marketing.  Of course it’s best to see an act live, but that requires a huge amount of jet fuel and hotel waste, not to mention time.  Most of us now use the internet every day, and yet, physical materials and face-to-face meetings are still the most respected ways for a performer to share her/his work. 

I’ve been surprised by the dismissal (and occasional hostility) of my new practice of letting additional presenters know when I’ll be in an area.  My assistant sends out a brief, polite email to invite the presenter to the show, or add a date to my schedule. It’s an unpopular statement, but honestly, we could dispense with the flurry of postcards and brochures if presenters would only open and read professional, timely emails with greater consistency.

Additionally, artists, scholars, presenters and funders could share the wisdom of their varying positions if there were forums for discussion.  In order to “brainstorm” ways to broaden our audience or reduce our impact, we need to learn to put aside our “primary identities” in order to focus on a specific issue.

3)  The fear of scarcity

Often times, a presenter contract precludes an artist from accepting any other nearby performance.  This makes sense using traditional “dilution of the market” thinking.  If a presenter assumes that the same 100 people are on every arts mailing list in town and they want those 100 people in their theatre, rather than someone else’s.  In a sense, however, it’s scarcity thinking that has gotten us into our current environmental mess.  If you’re the oil supplier (the artist) you want to market to as many distributors (theatres) as possible.  If you’re the distributor, you want to limit the number of distributors with whom you’re in competition for the buyer at the gas pump (audience member).  And in a culture where press is purchased (via a publicist or “professional” materials) rather than prompted by the public, this equation becomes all the more compelling.  For some presenters, cooperation is mission-driven.  This can seem like extra work, but even if that’s not a barrier some find it hard to do so because of this model – and because this scenario is further complicated by the failure of “the public” to support the arts. Unless the art is popular music – and even then – it’s difficult for artists to make a living from ticket sales and nearly impossible to keep a venue open if creative work is the only thing for sale.

Perhaps I’ve been befuddled by this scarcity model because my work enjoys a few different audiences which don’t always overlap. This may be true for others too. What if the artist were a tool for growing the audience?  For example, with literary and spoken word audiences, my work is poetry and literary story-telling.  For theatre audiences, it’s solo performance art.  For colleges and universities it’s engaging “lecture” on sociological themes.  And for participatory arts groups, I offer empowering workshop and coursework.  My best visits to a city involve multiple appearances in which the different audiences of these events can come together in venues they don’t normally patronize. It’s been true that the final few engagements in a city benefit most from this “audience-building” but in a sense, all of the presenters benefit from the greater exposure, even if it wasn’t for my show.   (Incidentally, this potential is often devalued and underutilized by presenters.  Having multiple identities, multiple specialties is seen as a failure to “brand” oneself.  And this goes counter to the norms of professional identity outlined above!)

Scarcity thinking is frightening on a number of levels.  Presenters compete with one another for funding and artists often guard their contacts and strategies from other artists.  I started offering something called “Minding the Artists’ Business” as an add-on workshop when I’m mentoring other artists and I’ve been surprised at how grateful the newbies are and how shocked some of my peers have been that I would “give away” my resources that way.  Whenever we isolate ourselves and our talents, we all lose – and so does the environment.  Just as we’re going to have to give up some of the personal space of driving alone in a private car, we’re also going to have to get to know one another a little better artistically and professionally if we’re all going to thrive.

Audiences for live performance need to grow – and they can – if we figure out how to work together and reduce our environmental impact.  Stop making the arts into “an industry” with professionalized roles that are so rigid we can’t respond well to change, and start seeing the appreciation of creativity as our birthright.  By focusing on creating greener theatre touring practices, we may well solve a variety of other problems too – and invigorate the American arts audience.  However, we can’t do that if we hold onto our rigid identities as presenters, consumers, artists, funders, scholars and audiences.  I’m excited to be in the conversation at this point in time.  Let me know if you’d like to keep talking about it.

Kimberly Dark is a poet, performer, professor and above all – a change artist. She can be reached online for questions or commentary at Kimberly@kimberlydark.com.  Her website is KimberlyDark.com.

 

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