Variations: the constant newness of the improvisational process

Since it seemed to intrigue people, I wanted to briefly post about the poetry component of the Title: TBD piece.  We’d blogged previously about the improvisational nature of our collaboration, but I think that’s easier to conceptualize in terms of movement for some people.  A number of artists and audience members were surprised to hear the the erasure poetry was also improvised for each performance.

So I thought it might be interesting to make available three different erasure poems created over the course of dress and tech rehearsals for the first performance of Intersections. You’ll certainly see similarities, but each time I tried to forget the previous process and just cross out what “felt right” in the moment. The final image is the erasure or “black out” poem that resulted from the final performance. I’m hoping, sometime in the next week, to blog more in depth about this process on my own blog.

The source poem, for the curious, is the final three stanzas of an original poem titled “Beautiful Fools” and can be heard in its entirety in a recording of Studio Knights, an Arlington Community Media television station program.  (The poem begins at about 8:50, but please do listen to the other poets–there was a lot of great work in that project too!)

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Video Mapping (projection mapping)

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 4.55.40 PM photo by Caitlyn Pozerski from last Friday before the first showing of Intersections ~

Caitlyn has been working with projection mapping for around a year and a half using a program called madmapper to create a layout for the videos to live in. The first map joined with the architecture of Pozen, this image is how the video is mapped with a checkerboard to see edges clearly.

The Dance Complex will be completely different and may hold some challenges, non the less we are excited for what will become of Arches on Sunday!!!

Halfway There…

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One performance down, one to go. I wanted to share the image from our Google Chat just to remind us of just how far we have come since November! The crazy winter weather had us meeting remotely at times, and yet somehow it all came together. Last night was SO FUN!!! We had a terrific turn out, and it was fantastic to see the work from Arches and TBD! With sincere gratitude to everyone, especially Kelsey, for bringing us all together. (Thanks George for the photos from last night!)

Arches ~ Collab Progress

Caitlyn Pozerski & Jenny Proscia have been hard at work on their video/poetry collab with Holly Thompson. What kinds of changes do we go through while passing over a bridge? Going under an arch? Connecting to another human being?How does time pass? These rhetorics have been kept closely in the mind of Caitlyn and Jenny to inform their video. The final form of the video will be a large scale projection mapped onto a wall. The two are currently in the final stages of producing their visual collaboration and anxious to share with the rest of their co-collaborators in all the Intersection groups!

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Above: (photo taken by Caitlyn Pozerski) An iphone image uploaded to Jenny’s instagram giving some subtle clues to their visions.

The two are excited & do not want to give any too revealing insight that may spoil their work~

Going the Distance: a remote collaboration

What do you do when the spoken word artist is in New Hampshire and the collaborating dance collective is in Boston?
In this century, you use Google video chat and screen sharing and have you have a joint rehearsal anyway.

Trying to collaborate remotely brought its own unique challenges, but the process was fruitful despite the oddness of it all, producing both a semi-finalized score and a title.

A Collaboration in Progress: Last Floor Collective & spoken word artist Erica Charis

In an attempt to create a work that allowed the two mediums to interact with each other, the meetings of the Last Floor Collective and spoken word artist Erica Charis have been highly improvisational.  The framework for those explorations has developed into a pattern of its own: it begins by “tuning.” In this exercise the artists breathe collectively and then transition into a time of pitching, creating tones and listening and responding to one another.  After this, for a set amount of time, Erica reads a more prosaic poem excerpt of her choice, which the dancers then respond to.  As the dancers move, Erica creates a new poem using the “black out” process of eliminating text to reveal a new poem in the words remaining.  The creative process draws to a close at the end of the agreed time with a final reading and period of improvised movement.

This video captures one such iteration. You’ll hear a prose poem by Richard Siken, followed by the “tuning” as the soundtrack to improvised movement. You’ll see the Last Floor Collective solo, pair and move as a group and off to the side, Erica in the process of “blacking out” the Siken poem to create a new piece.  The process will conclude with a final reading of the new original poem and the cessation of movement in a moment of group rest.  

The current goal is to present a piece using this (or similar) framework that is unique to each performance.

Many thanks to Beth Molling for the video capture!

Interactions: in collaboration with the Last Floor Collective from Erica Charis on Vimeo.

Chance Operations for “The Reading”

Naturally, if we wanted to do a performance about tarot cards and chance operations, we need to actually USE them in our process. And so, we did a tarot card reading. Together we drafted a question. This question, and the cards that come up in the reading of that question, will be the scaffold upon which our performance will hang. For more background on the origin of this idea, you can check out Caroline’s Artist Statement.

Arches: a collaborative project within Intersections

After the very first meeting, Holly, Caitlyn, & Jenny embarked on the journey to uncover an Arch. The idea sparked from Caitlyn Pozerski’s curiosity with the subject. An Arch – a connection of connective tissue, ideas, bodies, movements. We met together in January to discuss an Arch and figure out what path to take in creating a work out of these ideas. Added to our collaboration, Raquel Kober, a cellist bringing movement and musical composition to the mix. We tossed around more ideas and developed some concrete grounding on who might do what and where we start. Once we merged our ideas we anticipate the involvement of spoken word, video projection, pre recorded cello, and potentially body movement in the projected video.
We separated to reflect more as Holly got straight to writing. We met in the recording studio last Thursday January 29th for Holly to lay down some solid spoken word tracking.
We are very excited to continue advancing on this project!
– Written by Jenny Proscia –
Here are some photos of the group meeting & working in the studio:

Caitlyn & Jenny in the recording studio at Mass Art


Holly recording the spoken word track

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Holly’s notes from the first meeting

Meeting @ Andala Cafe


Raquel, Caroline, Iman, Sara and Emily met in Central Square today. We brought Emily and Raquel up to speed on the project and discussed Raquel’s work with the electric cello and voice. More ideas about the structure of the rehearsals as well as the final performance piece. The choreography of the 16 court cards might be accomplished in improvisational exercises, while the final performance might be based on a card reading. Emily has some great ideas about choreography. We talked about including Caroline’s card paintings on display and also perhaps as props in the dance. Caroline passed the images of her card paintings off to Iman so she might begin thinking about light and animation. Also discussed singing rather than spoken words.

A Shared Endeavor

Our collaboration began small, a few artists were identified but only Iman and I were available to meet. Since that first meeting the group has been growing and developing. I came to the collaboration looking for artists, particularly dancers, to work on a concept I’ve been playing with for about 2 years.

The project began as a way to introduce “chance operations” to my painting process. I wanted to get away from making abstractions based on physical reality, especially the photographic picture plane. To subvert these tendencies in myself, I embarked upon making a painting for each of 78 Tarot Cards. These cards have an underlying symbolic system that gave me a conceptual rather than visual jumping-off point for abstraction. Additionally, I created a vocabulary of marks and palettes to correspond to the suits and other symbols in the deck.
I use the newly created deck to randomly generate imagery and color for large-scale paintings.
The Need to Collaborate:
I struggled with how to create the court cards (King, Queen, Knight and Page). I wanted the paintings to be based on the human figure abstracted. It was with the idea of working with dancers and other artists on this project that I responded to the call for artists.
Rachel, Sara, and Iman were gracious enough to take on this concept for our collaboration. And now with many dancers expressing interest we are beginning to throw ideas around about how to build a performance piece.

It began for me as a way of pushing beyond my usual painting process. But my concept is only a starting place for the artists involved. This work has already changed form because of the wonderful ideas the other artists have brought to it. And this is EXACTLY what I was hoping for, the opportunity to expand creatively by working with others. This work is no longer my project but is a shared endeavor. I can’t wait to see what happens!

A sketch in response to movements the dancers developed.

A sketch in response to dancers’ movements

Dancers improvise in response to verbal prompts.

Dancers improvise in response to verbal prompts.

Who is involved? Meet the Collaborators!

Another thing I wanted to talk about before we start blogging more about the process of the works being developed is all of the collaborating artists!

There are so many wonderful artists who have come together to collaborate. We have a dynamic dimension of artists coming from different background ranging from dancers and movers, writers and poets, musicians and sound artists, painters, designers, animators, and more.

It is exciting to think about how some of these artists may have never found themselves collaborating with each other if they had not responded to the initial call for artists. There were many attributes to this proposed experience that attracted people to the original call that was put out for this opportunity to collaborate. For some of the artists, they saw this as a platform to launch pre existing ideas and projects that they had in mind but needed other artists to work with. Many were drawn in because their art practice revolves around collaboration or they enjoy collaborating, while others were drawn in because they had been looking for something new to be involved in. Many of these artist were also naturally attracted to working in the multimedia realm.

If you check out the “Collaborators” page you can read all of the personal Bio’s of the collaborating artists!

Why, When, Where, & How, did this all start? ~ A Social Practice

As the collaborating artists are developing their work and soon to begin posting about their process here, I wanted to provide a precursor to their process by sharing a little bit about mine. While I am not physically participating in all of the work that will be represented in the final exhibitions, I am creating an opportunity for a collaborative experience primarily through social engagement.

My motivation behind this whole experience was to integrate and accommodate individuals from my surrounding communities while assessing how these individuals art practices’ inform each others’ and the community.

Inspiring influences has been not only about the action of coming together, but also about an inquisition focused around how this social action of coming occurs and identifies the causes and outcomes.

With all of that being said, I wanted to go back to the very beginning of the Why, When, Where, & How, did this all start?

Last semester (Fall 2014),  I was an intern at the Dance Complex. On the first day of my internship my supervisor Kara Fili, the Manager of Community Engagement and Education, went over everything I would be doing during my time as intern. After going through all of the administrative work I would be helping out with and the other responsibilities I would take on, Kara told me she wanted me to think of a project I would do that would be my own. It could be anything I was interested in doing that stemmed from my position as intern at the Dance Complex. After bouncing around a few ideas with her I realized that I was most interested in developing a shared experience that would be built around the ideas of community and creating a collaborative opportunity that would bring together many different artists. I was attracted to the idea of providing an opportunity to others by using my opportunity.

I had so many overlapping ideas about community and collaboration it took me a while to sort it all out. From here I had to sit down and really think about what it was that I was trying to do.

In the midst of a wild writing frenzy I found some concepts and objectives to start with. Below are some raw notes that I made for myself that I dug up from back in October:


–inspire influences: How the artists influence each other, how the mediums influence the artist, how the artists’ practice inspire each other, how the work/collaborations influences the community.

–Community- As humans we thrive on community and can flourish. There are so many communities within the greater Boston art community. how do we build on this? How can we create an expansion of community in the Dance Complex? At Mass Art? Surrounding these communities? What about the communities within these communities? Meta community?  


  • Bringing together artists of different disciplines from neighboring communities to collaborate and work alongside each other on a common concept.
  • Recognizing and working towards how each medium informs the others
  • Providing an opportunity and outlet for artists to explore each others disciplines and share these explorations with the Boston community
  • Developing a multifaceted exhibition for the public to experience the explorations and connections made through this collaboration
  • inquire: why arts of different mediums need each other / how artists of different mediums inspire each other


So hopefully all of this context and language I have shared gives everyone an idea of where Intersections: Inspiring Influences is coming from.

As we continue on I plan on sharing more about the whole process. I feel this strong emphasis on process–investigating it, developing it, sharing it, archiving it– because I feel it is directly correlated to the statement I made earlier on in this lengthy blog post:

“My motivation behind this whole experience was to integrate and accommodate individuals from my surrounding communities while assessing how these individuals art practices’ inform each others’ and the community.

Inspiring influences has been not only about the action of coming together, but also about an inquisition focused around how this social action of coming occurs and identifies the causes and outcomes.”


Back in December during our second big group meeting, the process to move forward was still not quite resolved. It was exciting to have so many wonderful creative minds coming together, but at the same time it was hard to find a place to start… So we had all of these eager artists who had come together purely to inspire and influence each other, but what came next?

We tried some prompted stream of consciousness exercises. Some of us sketched while others did some writing. Naturally we found the over arching concept; Intersections.

From here we broke into smaller working groups based of off each other’s collaborative interests to begin developing the process. As we continue to develop our work we will share our progress here to archive our process and to share it with others.

During one of the prompts we started to develop some imagery to represent our collaboration from some of Caroline’s sketches. Caroline shared this page from her sketch book and then Jenny used this to design the images you see on this wordpress and our facebook page.


The beginning!

This collaborative process began as a call for artists bringing together artists of different practices to build a shared experience. From here we had a few group meetings and discussions where everyone then divided into smaller working groups to begin developing work.

As individuals and groups create work and develop their process, this page functions as a platform to share and archive their creative process.