Art Lab III

03.09 – 08.09.2017 – Art Lab III, Agdz – „Hosting Relations“

Participants:

M’Barek Ait El Caid (Association la Paix de Culture et Développement, Agdz), Absamad Balahcen (Practioner/Musician/Dancer Ahwash, Agdz), Mohamed Balahcen (Practioner/Musician/Singer/ Dancer Ahwash, Agdz), Francesco d’Amelio (Dancer/Student at Centre for Contemporary Dance – University for Music and Dance Cologne), Norbert Dennig (Philosopher, Cologne), Mihyun Ko (Dancer/Student at Centre for Contemporary Dance – University for Music and Dance Cologne), Michael Maurissens (Dancer/Filmmaker, Cologne), Holger Mertin (Musician/Percussionist/ Teacher, Cologne), Seyedeh Taraneh Mousavi (Singer, Student at University for Music and Dance Cologne), Boubker Marrouk (Practioner/Musician/Dancer/Teacher Ahwash, Agdz), Frida Michels (guest) (Medicine student/Charité, Berlin), Nezha Rhondali (Dancer/Founder of Irtijal Maroc, Casablanca/Rabat/Lyon), Vera Sander (Choreographer/Dancer/Professor for Contemporary Dance at the Centre for Contemporary Dance – University for Music and Dance Cologne), Yannik Tiemann (Musician/ Student at University for Music and Dance Cologne)

The artistic research to this project is embedded in perspectives that accept knowing and being as emerging and transforming privileging the embodied experiences and voices of the participants. The thinking underlying this research aligns with the experiences of the reflective practice within the process rather than a validation.

Dance is inherently a socially organized process of shared and embodied experiences. It is practice! One learns to dance through its practice. Implicit and explicit knowledge merge in the embodied practice of dance and music and is based on cultural traditions and practices. It holds information about a culture and the people belonging to it.

Performance 2017/09/03 – 6pm

The performance presented two actively practiced forms of performing techniques related to the Ahwash ritual as well as the cultural traditions of berbers. It was performed by practioners from the region and shared with practioners of the contemporay dance and music field.

What’s troubling me? – 2017/09/03

In a project like ours we face new, challenging, sometimes exhausting situations. In this talk we addressed primarily emotional limits or expectations with which we are faced. What are our expectations, wishes? How do we transmit them into the group. How do we deal with a situation when we experience discomfort or when we feel communication seems difficult? How can the group come to an agreement and decisions?

Workshop 1 – 2017/09/04 10am – 1pm

In the workshop forms of techniques related to crossover between Ahwash and contemporary music and dance have been explored with practioners from the region as well as with practioners of the contemporary dance and musicfield.

Questions/aspects looked into: Learning practices, Artistic practices, Artistic concepts and formates, Collective processes, Extending & Deepening on choreographical and musical structures

„ (…) sympathy as a human capacity (…) serving to coordinate the laws that allowed the human society to function (…)

(…) sympathy as a theory of connectivity among the people increasingly seated in the physiological functioning of the body (…)

(…) sympathy as a process of reading the body in its scene (…)

(…) sympathy as a property within the body (…) that provided the means through which evaluation and regulation could take place. (…)“

(Susan Leigh Foster)

Methods: A range of currently practiced feedback-methods in the form of a moderated exchange of experiences as well as observations around the topic of quality and evaluation opened possibilities and opportunities to engage: (per)form feedback, physical feedback through sensory experiences, perception and physical reflection.

Instant performance 2017/09/04 8 pm

An instant performance by contemporary dancers and musicians was proposed as a perform back score. It referred to the performance on 2017/09/03 which served as a proposal by Boubker Marrouk and two traditional dance & music groups to open exchange and feedback.

Workshop 2 – 2017/09/05 10am – 1pm

In the workshop actively practiced forms of techniques related to Ahwash have been explored with practioners from the region as well as with practioners of the contemporary dance and musicfield.

Questions/aspects looked into: Rhythms, Learning practices, Artistic practices, Artistic concepts, Playing/Performing techniques, Repertoire

Methods: a moderated exchange of experiences as well as observations around the topic opened possibilities and opportunities to engage and deepened the understanding related to structural concept that can be identified as Ahwash. F. ex. concepts related to cueing, decision making within the structure of the Ahwash formation, non-verbal communication, hierarchies, improvisation

Children Workshop – 2017/09/05 6 – 8 pm 

This workshop addressed the practice of Ahwash to about 30 children (girls and boys) of the Agdz region. Moderated by Boubker Mourrak it introduced through physical experiences concepts related to Ahwash. It furthermore focused on how to use and further develop the understanding of Ahwash as a collective and social practice.

Questions/Aspects: Learning practices, Artistic practices related to Ahwash, Gender, Dissemination of aural heritage, Playing/Performing techniques, Repertoire

Workshop 3 – 2017/09/06 10am – 1pm 

This workshop highlighted pratices related to interdisciplinary work and introduced various ways of approaching choreography in a broader sense. It furthermore proposed strategies to receive and work with critical feedback. The workshop included small choreographic and musical miniatures as proposals for further discussion and sensory experience.

Methods: testing material in long durational processes, (per)form feedback, sharing observations, perception and physical reflection

Workshop 4 2017/09/06 6 – 8pm

In the workshop actively practiced forms of techniques of the Ahwash ritual were performed by practioners from the region and shared with practioners of the contemporay dance and music field. The setting allowed to ask questions towards aspects of structure of the musicians, cueing, decision making, repertoire, playing/performing techniques a.o.

Workshop 5 – 2017/09/07 9am – 12 am

Drift’n’Dialogue invited participants to a dialogue that took place during a stroll in the garden. The practice of walking and thinking occurs simultaneously as a continuum between the dialogue partners. Both the route of the walk and the ‘thought path’ are followed, without any objective or fixed outcome. Simply drifting… intuitively deciding – perhaps without even knowing exactly which of the two dialogue partners will decide, because perhaps a path of thinking/walking emerges only through joint negotiation. This allowed new thoughts beyond the main place of action.

Questions:

  • How might artistic and learning practices related to the Ahwash enrich/influence your artistic practice and understanding?
  • How does this process produce criticality?
  • What questions related to gender occur? 
The workshop ended with a 30 minutes jam with all participants providing a practice field in which the participants came together to pursue their improvisation practice one more time.

Performing Ahwash – 2017/09/07 10 – 12 pm 


In the performance setting Ahwash was performed by practioners from the region and shared with practioners of the contemporay dance and music field.

diurnal somatic tuning-in opened every day the workshop sessions and invited through sensory experience to tune in body and mind, setting up a collectice understanding. No prior knowledge was required – working together in pairs, alone or with the group in loose fitting and comfortable clothing.

Joint visits of Ahwash ceremonies in Agdz allowed the participants to experience Ahwash as a socio-cultural practice within the community of Agdz, helping to identify and appreciate differences in formats and settings (f. ex. Women Ahwash, Men Ahwash) and to exchange experiences and observations.

visit of key spots in the region (f. ex. Ksar Assalim, Oasis, Tamlougat) allowed the participants to understand better the geographical, historical and cultural framing of the project.