Creating an Artistic Laboratory: Cross Arts Practice
Key in the cross arts research strand is the question how interdisciplinary cross arts practices can be shaped in such a way that they contribute to new audiences in society, are artistically challenging and contribute to the developmental possibilities of musicians and artists. The purpose of this research project is to investigate the process and product of an artistic laboratory. The pilot took place in May 2010 and has carefully been described and evaluated by Leo Delfgaauw and Ninja Kors. On her blog about the project you will find her observations, the day-to-day programme as well as student reports and interviews with the coaches/professional artists.
The research report Het Cross Arts Laboratorium was published in Spring 2011 in Dutch only.
The photo report gives an impression of the process of the pilot in May 2010. The photo's are made by Elvira Wersche, one of the artistic coaches of the cross arts laboratory.
The pilot: an artistic laboratory
From 12 to 16 May 2010 fourteen students (music and visual arts) came together on the island of Schiermonnikoog for this joint project to create an artistic laboratory, connecting music and visual arts. The special place ánd space that the island offers played a prominent role. The project was an ongoing process of searching, observing, experimenting, creating, shifting the focus and recreating. With the old fire station as their home base the students exploree a number of sites on the island to see how they can work with the genus loci on the spot. Examples of this are an old bunker from WWII, a cemetery for the drowned, sailors and soldiers, who washed up on the shores of the island. The key question was: 'What does this location ask of me as an artist?' The aim was to take the artistic process beyond the limits of the disciplines and into a more conceptual level of what it means to make art.
The student team consisted of students from the Joint Master programme ‘for New Audiences and Innovative Practice’ from the Royal Conservatoire, students from the Creative Ensemble of the Prince Claus Conservatoire and from Minerva Academy of Fine Arts & Design. They were supported in this process by a team of artists, consisting of Horst Rickels, Elvira Wersche and Leo Delfgaauw from Minerva Academy of Fine Arts & Design in Groningen.
The preparation for the laboratory started late 2009 with planning and establishing contacts on the island. Rickels and Wersche visited Schiermonnikoog together with lector Rineke Smilde and researcher Ninja Kors. The student group was introduced to the project in January 2010, when they were given a small portion of sand from the north beach of Schiermonnikoog. The assignment was to give this little bit of sand a place of its own in the world (see also the cross arts blog spot). Further student meetings in March and April 2010 triggered the students to think of initial ideas for the various locations on the island. These ideas were explored and discussed during the final preparatory meeting on April 17. Meanwhile Ninja Kors and Leo Delfgaauw worked on the conceptual (theoretical) framework and methodology for the laboratory, and how a laboratory like this could fit into the curricula of conservatoires and visual arts academies.
Artistst and coaches
Horst Rickels is the artistic leader of this project. He is a very experienced cross-arts artist, but even with many years of experience he still has the spark of curiosity that is so crucial for an artist. Rickels originally studied piano construction in Braunschweig, after which he went on to study electronic composition at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague and music theory at the Brabants Conservatoire. His work includes new principles for multi-media theatre and the development of sound objects, sculptures and installations. One of the central points in his work is how special qualities of sound relate to the natural and built environment.
Rickels teaches at the Interfaculty ArtScience in The Hague.
Like Rickels, Elvira Wersche also studied in Braunschweig, Germany, but at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste, and also in Kassel. She has been active as an artist in the Netherlands since 1975 and gained international acclaim with her installations, paintings, and performance mixed media. She is now known especially for her sand installations in which she uses sands from all over the world to make intricate mosaics on the floors of for example churches and mosques.
Leo Delfgaauw graduated from the University of Amsterdam in History of Arts in 1986. He first worked as a policy officer of fine arts with the Fund for fine arts, design and architecture and consequently became conservator at the 'Gemeentemuseum' The Hague and 'The Pont' museum for contemporary art in Tilburg. He was a member of many advisory committees and functioned as a juror for several prizes and grants. In addition he was a professor in art history at various art academies. His current position is artistic head of the Frank Mohr Institute of the Hanzehogeschool Groningen.
Artistic laboratory: place of work where the focus is on the artistic experiment and the proces within this.
Cross-arts practice: practice where there is collaboration between art disciplines, for example a project in which musicians work together with dancers and poets.
Cross-sector practice: practice in which there is collaboration between artists and other (non art) sectors. Think for example of a musical workshop in a health organisation or educational institute.