A workshop led by Karen Christopher
The Dove, the Ghost, the Handkerchief Tree is a three-part workshop taking place over three years involving students from Dartington College of Arts and interested members of the surrounding community focused on generating performance material through collaborative devising processes. Focus will be concentrated on the ideas around the last days of the Art College’s residence at Dartington. Each of the three parts will involve participation in workshop activities culminating in the presentation of performance material. The first part of the project is a one-week workshop beginning March 9th, 2009. Participation in this week does not necessitate participation in following years nor does non-participation preclude future participation. It is expected that, though a core group will follow through all three years of the project, some people will come and go after each segment.
The performance-generating activities of this workshop will focus mainly on the body as a site of information and expression. Using research methods from both studio experimentation and field or book study, participants will make short, time-based compositions in collaboration with others. Through writing, moving, and gathering, both solo and group work will combine to provide a textural latticework of interconnected ideas in proximity to our central focus on departure.
During the first year’s week-long workshop participants will focus on generating material in site-specific locations. In the second year we will involve members of the Dartington community who will be asked to make creative responses to public presentations of works-in-progress. Some of these responses will be chosen for inclusion in the next phase of the work. In the final year, the workshop events will culminate to combine material from the past two years’ workshops taking it into a new location and a final presentation. In this way the number of participants changes with each phase of the project.
As a member of Goat Island, a collaborative performance group currently in the process of touring our final work together, I am focused on ideas of lastness, ending well, lasting, and legacy. Considering the historical context of the Dartington estate and the changes it is going through at present and Goat Island’s years-long engagement with both Dartington Arts and Dartington College of Arts I am interested in further study of ideas around ending within the context of the final days of the art college’s residence at Dartington and the effect of its relocation on students and the surrounding community. In Goat Island’s work we are finding positive, creative ways to address change, interruption, and finality and I would like to expand on these ideas within the context of Dartington.
We all have a place in our hearts that provides sanctuary. It may be a house we knew as children or a tree or a corner of a street in a particular town. The garden at Dartington is such a place for many people who have been here over the years and especially to those who have studied here and afterward had to move on. As part of this 3-year project various activities will be undertaken in workshops with students drawing consciousness toward how the history of a place influences the present and how we in the present can make a lasting imprint for the future, as well as how one takes a place away with one, or documents it, or finds a way to memorialize it to protect it as a site of personal solace or inspiration. Workshops will focus on generating performance material and writing with a focus on lasting, ending, absence, residue, leaving, and surviving death and change. Performance elements will be focused on the idea of leaving the garden, leaving a part of the self behind in the garden, and keeping the garden with you when you go.
Click on this link to a downloadable PDF of the workshop description: