I recently had the exciting opportunity to attend CARPA8, a colloquium on artistic research in the performing arts hosted by The Performing Arts Research Centre (Tutke) in collaboration with the Comparative Dramaturgy and Performance Research Programme of the Theatre Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki.
This convening, at once a colloquium & a laboratory, brought together two processual activities: dramaturgy and artistic research, and kept them in motion over a 3-day period.
Triggered by the question of what happens to artistic research when it takes a dramaturgical twist, CARPA8 served to explore the ways in which we might form generative, wandering crossovers between the two. The conference, dynamic in form and content, aimed to combine embodied artistic practice and demonstration with timely conceptualisation and theorisation. It assembled artists and practitioners from the performing arts field with innovators, researchers, and theorists to explore, experiment and discuss how expanded notions of artistic research and dramaturgy cross-fertilise these fields and beyond.
Day 1: Opening the Door to CARPA8
My CARPA8 experience began with the opening day, which was aptly labelled as the “Colloquium.” As I walked into the venue, a palpable sense of excitement filled the air. The programme for the day promised a deep dive into three main areas of investigation: Transitions and transgressions, Thresholds and frictions, and Algorithmization and automated movement.
The colloquium featured a series of presentations that explored these themes in-depth. From discussions on decolonial artistic research to innovative approaches to multimodal music performance, the diverse array of topics showcased the breadth and depth of the field. Each presentation was a window into the world of artistic research, offering fresh perspectives and thought-provoking insights.
Day 2: The Laboratory – A Day of Movement and Exploration
The second day of CARPA8 was labelled the “Laboratory,” and it lived up to its name in every way. This day was not just about intellectual exploration; it was about embodying the concepts and ideas discussed during the colloquium. The day kicked off with a unique offer – a pop-up VR work tryout. It was a chance to experience the intersection of technology and artistry, a fitting introduction to the day’s activities.
The laboratory was divided again into the three strands, each focusing on a distinct facet of artistic research and dramaturgy. From discussions on devising and dramaturgy to reflections on the relationship between process, methods, and dramaturgy, the laboratory sessions were a hands-on exploration of the concepts and techniques that underpin artistic research.
The highlight of the day was undoubtedly the “Solvitur ambulando” sessions, as we embarked on outdoor walks to explore questions generated during the morning workshops.
These walks were not just physical journeys; they were intellectual and artistic explorations of Helsinki, prompting us to see the city in new and unexpected ways.
As we ventured outdoors, we formed small teams to discuss and document our findings. It was a unique opportunity to merge theory and practice, to breathe life into the ideas generated within the conference walls, and to connect with the urban landscape in unexpected ways.
Day 3: Commons – Sharing Reflections
The final day of CARPA8, labelled the “Commons,” was dedicated to sharing reflections and findings from the three strands. Facilitated by the hosts of each strand, these sessions brought together the diverse perspectives and experiences of the participants.
The day began with sessions dedicated to each strand, where attendees shared and discussed the findings of their “Solvitur ambulando” walks. It was a moment of collective reflection, where the city of Helsinki became a canvas for artistic research.
In the afternoon, the plenary sessions featuring keynote speakers added a layer of depth to our understanding of artistic research and dramaturgy. Marcela A. Fuentes, Synne Behrndt, and Hanns Holger Rutz shared their insights and expertise, challenging us to think beyond the conventional boundaries of these disciplines.
Closing Thoughts: CARPA8 as a Catalyst for Exploration
My journey at CARPA8 was nothing short of transformative. It was an immersive experience that allowed me to engage with the vibrant and evolving field of artistic research and dramaturgy. The conference blurred the lines between theory and practice, challenging me to think creatively and critically about the intersection of art and research.
I am immensely grateful for the Research Support Award that made this journey possible. CARPA8 was not just a conference; it was a catalyst for exploration, a platform for collaboration, and a celebration of the endless possibilities that arise when art and research converge.
As I reflect on my time at CARPA8, I am inspired to continue pushing the boundaries of my own research, to embrace the unexpected, and to see the world through the lens of this performative artistic inquiry. It is a journey that I will carry with me, and I look forward to the new horizons it will open in my academic and creative pursuits.