We make up the rules as we go along The Praxis of Improvisation
A two-day workshop investigating the role improvisation plays in various creative endeavors: theatre, cooking, design, music, writing and theory. Conceived and organized by Fabian Goppelsroeder, Feodor-Lynen Fellow at the Department of Germanic Languages. Presenters include the University of Chicago’s Mwata Bowden, Leslie Buxbaum Danzig, David Levin, Jennifer Scappettone, and Noah Zeldin, as well as Dana Gooley (Brown University), Dieter Mersch (Zurich University of the Arts), Berlin-based designer Werner Aisslinger, and the ensemble dance-theater Lucky Plush (Chicago).
Coffee and Pastries
Theatre and Performance (Logan Center, rm. 701)
Improvisation certainly plays a role in the training of performers. But what importance does improvisation have in the generation of performance material in rehearsal and/or in performance? How do the ad-hoc reactions to partners, space, atmosphere, fictional circumstances, real conditions, etc. accumulate into a crafted and cohesive whole? We will explore these questions together with the dance-theater company Lucky Plush Productions.
Chair: Leslie Buxbaum Danzig
Despite widespread opinion to the contrary (in particular among theoreticians), theory is itself a praxis. Hence, theory is to a certain extent improvisatory. How then does improvisation influence theoretical work? In which way do we have to acknowledge the improvisational character of logical arguments? To what extend can reflection on improvisation influence our understanding of the praxis of theory?
Chair: Dieter Mersch
Writing involves a process far more complex and immediate than simply funneling thoughts into words as planned. How does improvisation with linguistic material influence the creation of language art (in prose as much as poetry)? To what extent do traces of improvisatory praxis linger in “finished" texts, and how do reading, performance, and interpretation continue to fuel this process indefinitely?
Chair: Jennifer Scappettone
Catered Dinner/Cooking Improvisation with Nate Large
Coffee and Pastries
Music is certainly the paradigmatic improvisatory art. But how exactly does improvisation contribute to a musical performance? Is it just a special way of playing, limited to what usually qualifies as "Jazz"? Or is it rather an aspect of all kinds of music, from string quartets to Jazz combos? What is the relation between improvisation and the automatic repetition of standards?
Chairs: Mwata Bowden, Dana Gooley, Noah Zeldin
Industrial design and architecture do not seem to be very improvisational. However, the creation of mass products and living space is less (mathematically) rigorous and predetermined than it may appear. We will scrutinize the way in which technical infrastructure (digital media, scale paper etc.) and pragmatic limitations force the designer to develop his or her product through improvisatory praxis.
Chairs: Werner Aisslinger and Tina Bunyaprasit of Studio Aisslinger
Moderator: David Levin
Free; registration required. Inquiries contact Mike Schuh at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Presented by the Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at the University of Chicago, Department of Germanic Studies at the University of Chicago, The Committee on Theater and Performance Studies at the University of Chicago, Zurich University of the Arts, and the Goethe Institute Chicago.