Improvisation and Experiential Knowledge

In life there exists no script, no modus operandi. The primacy of experience is a form of ‘trying out’ or improvisation, a moving from an indefinable and undifferentiated state to feeling our way by creating a direction.

In art improvisation 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, embodying its issues within new experimental forms of practice.

Calendar Variations 2010-11, A Day in my Life 2011 and Sipping Water 2011 are three projects within an ongoing research inquiry into embodied, experiential knowledge. All three projects work with ‘scores’ in the form of text based poems that imply or invite activity. They have emerged one after the other as a development from each other.

The research moves across visual and musical, active and reflective, public and private modes of activity. In particular, we are interested in understanding how we manage the relationship between constraint and freedom as an ongoing dynamic within experience.

Outputs include

Douglas, Anne & Kathleen Coessens. Movement and Moment: in-between discreteness and continuity in The Somatechnics of Movement special issue of Somatechnics. Vol 4.1 2014 (Forthcoming)

Douglas, Anne. Drawing and the Score Chapter 14 in Sound and Score. Ed. Kathleen Coessens, and Paulo De Assis. Leuven: University of Leuven Press, 2013:206-17

Douglas, Anne & Kathleen Coessens Improvisation and Embodied Knowledge – Three Artistic Projects between Life, Art and Research in (re)thinking improvisation Artistic Explorations and Conceptual Writing Henrik Frisk &Stefan Östertjo (eds), Malmö Academy of Music, Lund University, 2013

Ravetz, Amanda, Anne Douglas & Kathleen Coessens. Editors. Improvisational Attitudes: Reflections from Art and Life on Certainty, Failure, and Doubt. Critical Studies in Improvisation Vol 8, No 2.Montreal, 2013.

Douglas, Anne. Altering a Fixed Identity Thinking through Improvisation in ed. Amanda Ravetz, Anne Douglas & Kathleen Coessens. Critical Studies in Improvisation Vol 8, No 2.Montreal, 2013.

Douglas, Anne & Kathleen Coessens Experiential knowledge and improvisation: Variations on movement, motion, emotion in Katrin Niederrer and Kerstin Mey eds in Art, Design and Communication in Higher Education. Bristol: Intellect Books. 10.2 (2012): 179-189

Coessens, Kathleen & Anne Douglas, Calendar Variations Banchory: Woodend Barn Publishing 2011 ISBN 978-0-955-1397-5-8


Anne Douglas

Kathleen Coessens

Amanda Ravetz

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