Monday, June 1, 2009

2009 Field Forward Network Conference

The Field, an organization based in New York City, initiated, at the suggestion of SDC artistic director Sue Schroeder, the Field Forward Network about 15 years ago. The Network brings some of the programs of The Field to satellite sites around the US and abroad.

I attended the Field Forward Network Conference in New York City last month (along with Atlanta facilitator Ann Ritter), held May 10-12 at the Field offices in Manhattan. Network members from around the country also attended. Representatives from Field sites in Seattle, New York City, Washington, DC, Miami, Philadelphia, as well as a participant from Berlin, Germany, came together to share information about their sites from the previous year.

Karen from Seattle ( shared that they are currently moving towards developing a board of directors, a mission statement, and most importantly, a facilitators’ handbook. She also shared that all Fieldwork sessions are co-facilitated, so that they are always training new facilitators.

Pele from New York ( shared that the number of participants has been declining over the past three years. As a result, all sessions are now mixed-discipline groups. She also shared information about their residency program offered to artists. It is combined with one of the Fieldwork sessions, giving participants access to free studio space for rehearsals for dedicated periods of time each week.

Elana from Washington, DC, ( shared that Laura Schandlemeir, the longtime leader of that site, has stepped back and has handed the program over to Elana. She also shared that they have a monthly event that they call a “Dinner Party”, which operates as an ‘open mic’ type of event, where people are free to sign up for performance slots throughout the evening.

Rachael from Berlin ( shared that she had lived in the Raleigh, NC, area before, and had participated in a Fieldwork session there. She felt strongly enough about the worth of Fieldwork that when she relocated to Berlin, Germany, last year, she felt that the city’s arts community could benefit from starting a Network site there.

A former Field director presented a session on curating: "To Curate or not to Curate?" Her presentation led to an in-depth discussion as to what the value of both curation and the lack thereof might bring to each Field Network site.

The second day focused on ways in which the Network members could better support one another. All agreed that better communication between the sites could help. Patton volunteered to create a list-serv to help facilitate this. Interested persons can now join to join in the ongoing discussions. Many sites that are geographically close together suggested that perhaps they open up their sessions so that participants can travel to another site for feedback from another group.

The session that served as an informal wrap up of the conference focused on ways in which artists can thrive after participating in Field programs. Morgan von Prelle Pecelli, a person who has worked extensively in the presenting realm of the performing arts, shared thoughts on how artists can begin to find ways to develop relationships with presenters. She emphasized the need for strong support materials—video, printed materials, etc. She also emphasized that adopting the strategy of cultivating a relationship over a number of years will perhaps be more successful than a short term goal. Finally, she emphasized that artists should not simply “cold-call” presenters. Rather, artists should invite potential presenters to their performances. However, artists should not invite presenters to something that they are not exceptionally excited about. Morgan has written on her blog about this session. For more in-depth information, you may visit:

D. Patton White
Production/Company Manager
Several Dancers Core

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Spring 2009, Week 8

April 8, 2009 - Week 8

Short stories and dance on the menu tonight.

A few quick responses I had to tonight's works in progress:
-visually and aurally descriptive, I could see and hear the story
-tickled by resolution of situation
-took me on a trip with you
-tickled by actuality of sneaking treats
-playful and childlike
-humorous delivery
-relaxed timing

Unfortunately I did not feel that my work had progressed enough to present at this meeting.

We have formalized plans for the showcase and everyone is looking forward to it.

Tell everyone you know to come check it out. But, especially come if you or anyone you know are interested in a creative working group to help you focus on your own works in progress.


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Spring 2009, Week 7

April 1, 2009 - Week 7

No jokes here. We really met and workshopped. Fabulous evening of works in progress and feedback.

Dance, tasting, song, & video were presented this evening.

My responses to tonight's presentations:
-starting over
-everyday movements highlighted
-marionette breaking free
-variations on a theme
-tickled by idea of "common" being exalted
-engaged by audience participation, and not typical "I don't know how you want me to interact" response
-lullaby (soft, sweet)
-related to lost muse
-drawn in by story
-flying, running, game, story time
-reminded me of using sign language
-focus shifted to other performer
-punctuated words with movement

Some responses to my work:
-ending grabbed attention
-walking away
-random reflected randomness of order
-looking at something else
-pop of color
-agitated awareness of self
-detail repeated
-how much can be evoked without words
-neutrality of character


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Spring 2009, Week 6

March 25, 2009 - Week 6

We are definitely a well oiled machine now. Works are coming along and everyone seems energized and inspired.

One thing I've recently come to realize is that participating in Fieldwork makes one a better communicator. You have to think about why you respond a certain way. The joke is "you do not like things in Fieldwork." And that's from the simple fact that liking something is not useful feedback; why you liked something is useful feedback. From my perspective, the artist is looking for responses to inform their work, not binary (good/bad) qualifications.

Tonight's presentations included dance, video, and short stories.

A few of my responses to the work:
-didn't want to write because I might miss something
-two appeared to counterpoint one, with rotating pairs
-reminiscent of reverb/echo/cascade
-resemblance to martial arts at times
-wonder how perception would change if I didn't know who wrote and who choreographed the piece
-transitions helped tell story
-variety of footage added depth to the story
-thought about curiosity of 8 year olds
-tender while taking charge

Responses to my work that stood out:
-pulled in by fragments
-related to staring into faraway place
-find extraordinary in ordinary (Jungian concept)
-fascinated by idea
-considered massiveness of large events as means of escapism

We also discussed format ideas for the showcase. It's going to be very interactive and exciting (but not imposingly interactive).


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring 2009, Week 5

March 18, 2009 - Week 5

It feels like we are finally settling into a rhythm with the Fieldworks as everyone continues with their various works in progress.

Tonight song lyrics, poetry, a short story, and photography were presented.

Some responses I had to the works presented:
-intriguing cadence/rhythm
-interested in character's plight
-felt character's frustration
-where is the pressure s/he feels coming from?
-cheering for character, even if resolution is not his/her destiny
-still processing piece
-very visual
-decoy, alibi, and cover story struck me
-how much ~do~ people consider their choice of words with which to adorn themselves/their cars?

Responses to my work that stood out:
-spiritual ritual
-border town
-story of lovers on first date
-light projected versus light within


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Spring 2009, Week 4

March 4, 2009 - Week 4
Necessity is the mother of invention and the midwife is creativity.

Apparently the campus we usually meet at for Field Houston had a major event the same night as our meeting and parking was going to prove impossible. So, of course, we improvised. Since the four of us present that night have all done several fields together and know each other quite well at this point, we agreed to meet at a fellow fielder's home. It proved to be a very fruitful evening. In addition to the presentations and responses, we also discussed changing up the format of the showcase. We have some creative ways to spice it up from the traditional offering and plan on suggesting our ideas to the other fielders at the next meeting. Hopefully, they will be as excited as we are.

There was also some discussion about creative responses to some of the presentations. I for one am very excited about the potentials of this endeavor.

This week's meeting included two video presentations, a short story, and a few poems.

A few responses I had to the work that was presented:
-could taste it, could see it
-tickled by strategy
-scared by balancing
-struck by the various references to light
-felt like an analogy, but unsure
-intrigued by recipe format
-struck by the idea of words locked in a book

Some response to my work that stood out:
-felt like in a gallery/should be in a gallery
-looking at abstraction of human behavior
-angled and steadiness of background striking
-character seemed to be looking at herself, not at a camera
-character learned about self by covering herself
-not sure about what it was, but knew it was more than dress up
-how does my uniform define me?


Saturday, February 28, 2009

Spring 2009, Week 3

February 25, 2009 - Week 3

There was no Fieldwork last week, but everyone seemed pleased to return to the task at hand of creating and working and exploring.

Works in progress included a short story, and some poetry.

Some responses I had to the work being presented this week:
-news collector
-timeless, families moving in together, kids drawn to the forbidden, people collecting stories
-felt let in on a secret
-pacing was intriguing
-someone sneaking into your soul
-intriguing cadence
-appreciate ephemeral nature of the poetry