Artistic Roles, imperfection, searching, identity, power relations, tension, friction, sensitivity, practice, 10 statements.
We work like this. How do you work?
Well, I try. I am striving to create flourishing collaborative spheres. In this striving, I certainly do find myself in more imperfect dimensions at times; rewinding, evaluating and remaking. While pursuing an artistic research PhD, I am becoming increasingly observant of the field between the imagined ‘ideal’ collaborative sphere and the present one, and of how trying to collaborate is for me what really matters. Therefore, collaborative tryouts are currently my main focus, in practice, research, and in artistic life. And this trying provides me with a sense of fulfilment, of insights and valuable artistic relationships.
‘Collaboration is itself a practice and it is one that increasingly defines the contemporary music performer’s artistic work.’ Yes, it’s a practice, and this practice for sure needs to be practiced, tested and tried. Because collaboration seems to ask for a new set of skills for each unique situation and collaborator. Therefore, when practicing collaboration, I am repeatedly asking myself how, and why, we collaborate, what collaboration really is, and can be, and what I want it to be. And I find myself with new answers each time.
Picture: Ellen Inga for Impossible Situations
I began my trying in collaborations after observing frictions in my field of contemporary music. The frictions I perceived were often related to how creative processes were being divided between performers and composers, and how this was in turn restricting our possibilities of exchange. My focus soon evolved though, into a more joyful search for a wider practice, as the old one faded with the new things I learnt by trying-through-collaboration. As an active collaborator, my practice started to develop as more complex and multilayered, and new kinds of threads extended out of my artistic web, and connecting to others. I cannot say I am ready yet to state my personal collaborative practice in a manifesto. But I am inspired by those who can, and I keep trying. Therefore, I am enjoying this tryout and I trust that the search I engage in today will have effects on my practice, and hopefully also inspire other collaborators out there to try.
I try like this. How do you try?
/Karin Hellqvist, Violinist and PhD Artistic research fellow at the Norwegian Academy of Music, Oslo
June 2020, and rethought a year later