P33
The art of improvisation

Convenors:
Amanda Ravetz (Manchester Metropolitan University)
Kathleen Coessens (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
Anne Douglas (Robert Gordon University)
Location:
SSS-I Committee Room, Ground Floor
Start time:
4 April, 2012 at 8:30
Session slots:
3

Short abstract:

This panel explores embodied, experiential knowledge through the lens of experimental arts practice using an expanded notion of improvisation. How do new understandings of embodied knowledge within and beyond artistic practice sit beside anthropological formulations of improvisation and creativity?

Long abstract:

This panel is driven by an interest in understanding embodied, experiential knowledge through the lens of experimental arts practice. Taking an expanded notion of improvisation as a state of 'being alive' (Ingold 2011), the panel will explore trajectories between improvisation in life and improvisation in art as follows: In life, asserts Tim Ingold, there exists no script. The primacy of experience is a form of 'trying out'. We might think of this then as a movement from an indefinable and undifferentiated state to one of feeling our way through creating direction. In art we cast a critical eye on the 'givens', the predetermined structures of social, cultural, material experience while recognising that freedom and constraint are profoundly interrelated. Improvisation in art across cultures is a specific approach to form making that centres the imagination (of the creator/ performer/spectator) precisely on managing the interplay between freedom and constraint. In artistic research, the artist/researcher places him/herself at the sharp point of the inquiry, re-imagining, re-configuring, intensifying and scrutinising practice to create insights within and beyond the arts. • How might a revisiting of improvisation as a condition of life open up approaches to improvisation in art, challenging its current formulation as a specific formal approach? • In what ways might such an inquiry inform new understandings of embodied knowledge within and beyond artistic practice? • How might such knowledge sit beside anthropological formulations of improvisation and creativity?