I’ve always felt drawn to the shared artistic language that can reach us across nations, borders, cultures, and norms. The unique ability preforming arts can have, to touch us beyond our mother tung and move us beyond our ability to verbally understand. That is a potential I truly I am truly curios about and have explored in this artistic research. I tried positioning myself in place where I could instead of only preparing for contingency and planning for optimization- be open to emerging novelty. Emergence did absolutely occur, and I did not for a head plan the elements of this semesters assessment. Instead, I started out with a question about the precariousness of working as an artist, under the title “sustainability in artist life’s”. Being curios about how the glamour of art, can cover up the precarious vulnerability, insecurity, and the inequality in the field of art. From that research inquiry I went on a journey to Reykjavik exploring performing arts as a space for social action, by asking our self and each other: How can the work we make, help create the world we need? How can our theatres be a space for new stories – and new storytellers? How can they be a place for difficult conversations – and how do we hold them?
In the beginning I found it difficult connection arts and activism- finding the crossroad from artistic activist thinking – to artistic activist doing. During my stay, that feeling was challenged many times and the complexity I thought I had to invent to create activist art that could change the world and the working conditions for artist sometime had more banal and concrete answers, as composer Boff Whalley so simply put it “ what is the smallest possible change that makes a difference and that my system can cope with? and my research inquiry expanded with new elements and questions. What values lies behind the stories we tell and how we tell them? What power structures and hierarchy are we upholding by the way we organize, learn, work and connect?
I felt a strong urge to continue this exploration by meeting more people, with a more diverse view on the future of art. As Pupul Bisht says “futures for all cannot be imagined by a few”. So when I spontaneously got the invitation to go on a five day long Symposium, with theater and performance artist from the Baltics and Norwegian country, I was very pleased. The symposium called “The annual symposium for artistic theater geniuses” were financed with EU money and consisted of strongly curated selection of “artistic theater geniuses”. Everything was paid for, I had a hotel room with Seaview and in the airport, I was picked up by a taxi that was holding my name. For a moment I forgot about my precarious work life and enjoyed being a part of the chosen few, who’s success and privilege will cover up the vulnerability and insecurity. We drank the champagne and pretended to be the same. But Denmark and Lithuania, is not the same. And when we first started talking about exactly those working conditions and general ways of life, the differences and privileges that were hiding behind the champagne became clear. I experienced how my primarily Danish and Scandinavian experiences and references were so limited, narrow minded and almost entirely connected to DASPA and Copenhagen. The meeting inspired me tremendously and I got a strong sense of purpose thinking about working much more internationally and therefor expanded my field research: how can we connect, learn from each other, and continually open our horizons in a changing world, with a burning planet and with limited resources? How do we tour and travel sustainable?
With these new questions it made perfect sense for me to apply for the ActinArt Academy Bootcamp 5.0! “Sustainable well-being*: Re-discovering the place for artistic practices in times of biggest challenges” to which I was luckily accepted. In Tallin, at the bootcamp I met a new eye opener. Whilst the theme of sustainable well-being attracted so many extremely interesting people, the organization of the bootcamp did not in many ways support a very inclusive viewpoint on sustainability. We had a rich programmed from 07:00-22:00 almost all days, few or none breaks during the day, and managers there themselves were already stressed out when we got there. All of that were spices up, with only sitting on floors (no chairs allowed all day), new age exercises where we as morning practice were supposed to do contact dance, trust exercises and “feel each other’s aura” and do privilege walks. These exercises were for some silly and funny but for others directly boundary crossing, stressful and triggering. I found myself in a position of great privilege, coming from a culture were sustainable wellbeing also means social and mental sustainability. But whilst the organization of the bootcamp were deeply criticizability, the effect of the “common enemy” creating a strong bond of trust, care, and responsibility between the participant. The structures that we were “oppressed” by, created an opportunity to rebel as a community. It felt like a social experience that was showing us how dangerous and efficient “thin stories” and enemy images are. I rarely felt so connected and alive as when 13 of us late at night left the bootcamps area and went to Tallin to a techno club instead of preparing for tomorrows pitch on sustainable solutions.
I went home from Tallin, whilst the war in Ukraine were escalating with a bittersweet taste I my mouth thinking of that feeling.
Not many days after, i continued my investigation for international relationships, broader perspectives and sustainable futures for arts and artist in Berlin at Theater Treffen. And even when my application for the Alexandria Nova symposium in Berlin where first declined, I tried leaving room for emergence by placing myself in a situation where the unexpected could happen. And it did, so the unlucky circumstances for a fellow student that could not participate for visa reasons, gave me the opportunity to jump in and participate in the whole program. Here I not only got to reconnect with some of th students I already met in Island, I also got to meet new people and take part in workshops that I did not prepare for. One of them where the workshop on The Decolonial directing approach from Rodolfo García Vázquez. The workshop did not only provide me with a whole new conceptualization of the themes and interests I came with, it also gave me a common umbrella agenda for the different related perspectives that I’ve explored and investigated in the past semester. I while I have not come to any conclusions at all, I feel how the systems thinking, helped me to interconnect the different elements of this journey into a functional purpose of challenging the modern, traditional, Eurocentric, genius based, patriarchal, Autor tradition that Is my educational background, point of reference and national heritage. The decolonial approach opened a whole new set of research questions and ideas that I cannot wait to further investigate in my final project.
This semesters journey showed me how leaving room for emergence can take you places you did not know you needed to go, and to quote my talented fellow student, Tam “How you can fill in the blanks- by leaving them open”. I now took my first steps into the world as an emerging international creative producer and curator. I went on a travel into the unknown landscapes of interest, curiosity, and frustration. Frustration about the precarious working conditions we as freelance artist face in the proximity between art and life . Frustration about my lacking artistic change agency, and my ability to connect art, activism, and social change. Interest in opening my eyes and world views internationally, cross disciplinary and cross-aesthetic. Curiosity about who out there had these thought before, and where I could go to meet them. I wanted to weave strings, bonds, and connections to my close and wide surroundings. So, I went on this travel. I opened doors into rooms I am yet to deeply see. I asked of question about sustainability, rest, access, participation, cross disciplinarity, international collaborations, European and colonial art history. I started out this journey in the comfort of not knowing what would come: what did come stretch across 6 countries, at least 12 nationalities, I met and collaborated with artists of all kinds: performance makers, musicians, visual artist, futurist, activists and change makers. I had and still have no idea where it will take me, but I feel that I am on the track (baby, I was born this way). And by this, I mean that life must be lived from the front but understood from the back, as the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegård says: At this point in my I am beginning to explore how questions about sustainability, precarious work conditions, accessibility, decolonization, and artistic change agency can be integrated in both my artistic practices and research, and while I have not arrived at a resolution, I am very much in the thick of it and keep asking. As great mentors and helpers I have my amazing classmates, my talented professors and guest lectures and the huge privilege it is to be a student in an organization that has resources to support me in this journey.
 Feminsit politics and the proximity between art and life, Bojana Kunst
 Alexandria Nova workshop, Performing arts as a space for social action – Sarah Woods
 The Annual Symposium of Artistic Theatre Geniuses, Helsinki 7.4.-10.4.2022.
 Feminsit politics and the proximity between art and life, Bojana Kunst
 Performing arts as a space for social action – Sarah Woods
 Born This Way, Lady Gaga
 Søren kierkegaard