DIY: 2010 – Karen Christopher Thinking Space: Writing in Public

A 2-day writing workshop that looks to public spaces and the influence of location to produce plural writing, marked by space, by interruption, by bodies, by sound, and polluted by public influence.

This workshop, using methods of thought connected with placement of the body in specific contexts, will be largely a practical experience that is nonetheless stitched together with just enough theory to locate what would otherwise feel commonplace within an illuminating and self-consciously productive practice. Sessions will take place in public sites: park, train station, cafe, gallery, museum, and on public pavements in transit through the town of Whitstable.

As a group, participants will be given instructions to write in specific public locations, take time to observe with open eyes, perform research, and have the opportunity to discuss emerging ideas with the group. Of special interest will be: walking as a way of placing the self in a state of flux,research as a way of gathering specific site information, designing one’s state of mind through the influence of a public atmosphere, and composing by looking to the organizational structuresof public spaces and the ways they are used. The outside world, being in and of itself full of possibility for the composing or inventing mind, is also useful as a series of symbols that illuminate the immensity of the world within us. The outer world provides a useful container for organizing the onslaught of infinite possibility and finds a shape within a finite palate of the immediate here and now. It is an organizing tool. In addition, unavailable memories, buried associations, and new interests become accessible as a function of the antenna-like properties associated with putting one’s body in a location.

My intention is to chose sites that inspire, inform, influence, and cause instability in the participants, all with a mind toward each artist finding ways both to uncover and express their own ideas and satisfy their own agendas.

Dates, times and location:
The workshop will take place in Whitstable (specific locations TBC).
September 17 & 18 (Fri 11:00 – 18:00 & Sat 10:00 – 18:00)

Application procedure:
Applicants should write an email describing why they are interested in this workshop and what they hope to gain from it at this particular point in time. Please also include a description of your work and a short biography or CV or link to your website.
Please email [email protected]   
Application deadline: 6pm Friday, 16 July. Notification by 23 July.

This workshop is open to all levels of writing experience and to any artist who is interested in writing or in using writing as a tool for the organization of thought. Performers, sculptors, film and video makers, musicians, sound artists, dancers, and writers as well as other designers and visual artists are welcome. The group will benefit from both the novice eye and the confidence of experience.

The artist:
Karen Christopher is a collaborative performance deviser, performer, and teacher. She was a member of the Chicago-based performance company Goat Island for 20 years until the group disbanded in 2009. With Goat Island she devised and performed in 8 full-length performance works and travelled throughout Britain and to Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, and Croatia as well as in the USA and Canada. Karen taught at the Goat Island Summer Schools in Britain and at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1996-2008); Winter Schools at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (2003, ’05, ’08); as well as numerous workshops in collaboratively devised performance composition over the past 20 years. She continues to conduct extended performance workshops, most recently at the University of Sussex, Dartington College of Art (Devon, England), and in the MA programs at Aberysthwyth University (Wales) and Laban Centre (London). Essays on performance and related topics by Karen Christopher have appeared in TDR, Frakcija (performing arts magazine) and in Small Acts of Repair: Performance, Ecology and Goat Island (Stephen J. Bottoms & Matthew Goulish, eds., Routledge, 2007). Since the end of Goat Island she has engaged in a number of collaborative projects with other artists, including most recently Quiet (a disruptive fog (or a hogshead full of vapor called memory)) with Mark Booth and John Sisson (Chicago, 2010).

This DIY project is supported by Whitstable Biennale, a festival of contemporary visual art exploring performance and artists’ moving image:

This project was a response to the DIY 7 Call for Proposals.

Part of DIY: 2010

Unusual professional development projects conceived and run BY artists FOR artists

DIY: 2010


Unusual professional development projects conceived and run BY artists FOR artists

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