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CRITICAL ENDEAVOUR 2012 –WORKSHOP ASSESSMENT

Kinga Szemessy (Hungary)

First of all I do must declare that Critical Endeavour is a prominent opportunity for all
the people who’d like to quote and examine their opinions in public about the function, the
trait and the quality of today’s dance and art life in general. It’s for people who feel
themselves a bit responsible to shepherd the curious, but defenseless audience in the streams
of hardly-definable, interdisciplinary performances, so accordingly it’s for people who are
glad to initiate public benefit debates with the principle of somehow equality of professionals
and laymen in view. People who simultaneously strong- and open-minded.

In this Vienna episode of the CritEnd series we were privileged to get know five
committed tutors with terribly different conceptions: Pieter T’Jonck, Claudia La Rocco,
Angela Vadori, Boyan Manchev, Marlon Barrios Solano. One was concentrating on accuracy
and deep, philosophy-based analysis; one on get us to composing self-principles and
exploring our weaknesses; one was sounding that ’critique is art’; one made us jump into
Bataille’s Critical Dictionnary; one offered an introduction to the new Internet technologies
and their implications for knowledge production and distribution. Inspiration given by them
broadened my perspectives on my experience in watching and thinking about the
’contemporanity’ and the ’dance’ in contemporary dance. I gained information about different
writing methodologies that I can (and want to) use in my practice; I became more aware of
my ’schizoid’ attitude – I mean because of my current studies (Dancer BA) I usually watch
performances through a semi-insider’s eye and it could make me unbearably ruthless.

I found the logistics ripping. I was very pleased of our accomodation where I got the
chance to become a visible writer (e.g. for the dancWEBers) and be in a community
atmosphere. It is also very useful for the programme to take place in the frame of a great
topsoil, the very well organised ImpulsTanz International Dance Festival, featuring young and
emerging performers and the idea to have a group of peer, entrant critics confronted with
them – however it doesn’t really fit to this year’s content in neither side, as many of my
classmates were undeviating and already prosperous in their own field. This remark connects
to my overall verdict as well: we haven’t really stepped across the secure boundaries. The
daily schedule would have been less unanimous to include diverse activities – not only oneway
communication lectures and discussions, but also: more playful interaction between the
workshop participants (in different places instead of staying scores of time in the office at the
Museumquartier) and artists whose performances we were watching. Not just being pupils
apart from the festival – we should emphasize the training to write during it, rather than write
after. So thus the timetable didn’t seem to be creative (and in this manner a bit more risky of
course), but careful, restricted, school-like. We’ve been taking impulsive brainstormings in
occasion of innovations several times, but 99% of our ideas have never come true, because we
had to cleave to the previously arranged plans.

On our last official working day we’ve assembled our feedbacks and some suggestions, what
now I’m trying to list down below:
- I think the order of the included, short-term workshops was not exactly the right one.
Actually I wish we had been prefaced with Marlon’s meta-media tools – if we had
have the time to get familiar with them earlier, we’re likely to use them next to the
blog.

- The range of participants was not really balanced between academics, journalists,
performers and different levels, what provided some facilities, but on the other hand
the group dynamic claimed a stronger leadership. Re-think it or it is worth considering
to lay down an unitary system of the participiants’ selection process. Or split the
whole into two types or two parts: ’Critical Endeavour’ for collective research and
’Critical Residency’ for individual. The main question is what’s your ambition, your
detailed desire: a permanent sharing or exploiting the meeting situations with various
experts for enriching your own results? What’s the perfect measure of inputs and
outputs? You prefer to give or get?

Critical Endeavour 2012 had the inner potential to develop and extend the blanket
judgement of our role and (dance) criticism and that’s why all the participants had expected a
fruitful and quite intensive weeks from the programme and then brought home an ambivalent
experience. I can’t really state that I was enjoying entirely this period, but how I check the
thickness of my notebook, it’s undoubted that finally the workshop itself was worth taking
part in and I would dare to recur as well.

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