Curated and narrated by Kirsten Marie Walsh
Podcasts on Process examines the creative process of artists and considers what tools they use to create their innovative work. This inaugural series explores choreographer Liz Lerman’s creative process.
Lerman, a MacArthur Genius Fellow known for evocative performances and innovative teaching methods, has revolutionized not only contemporary dance but also arts-related instruction over the course of her career. The series examines Lerman’s working methods and investigates how other artists and scholars are considering these same principles.
In her creative work and career, Lerman has asked big questions: Who are the dancers? What is an artist's discipline? How do we heal? Podcasts on Process identifies tools from the choreographer’s practice and explores how these tools are used to address questions around contemporary artistic practice, audience, multidisciplinary collaboration, and performance.
Listeners are encouraged to not only tune in but also interact on an episode-by-episode basis. And contribute your voice but responding to each episode's creative challenge!
The first episode will dive into Lerman’s body of work to familiarize listeners with her approach to choreography and research. Then Podcasts on Process will examine four of Lerman’s tools: collaboration, who gets to dance and make, documentation and critique.
Podcasts On Process is curated and produced by Kirsten Marie Walsh, MFA in Curatorial Practice candidate at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Liz Lerman graciously opened up her creative world to the curator, sharing with her the research and rehearsal process for Healing Wars. In addition, Walsh’s year-long Graduate Fellowship at The Contemporary afforded her the opportunity to work with and explore Lerman's practice.
ICEBREAKER—WHO IS LIZ LERMAN? (21:31)
Liz Lerman is a choreographer, performer, writer, and educator. A key aspect of her practice is a collaborative process directly involving a wide variety of community members: from shipbuilders and physicists, to veterans and construction workers. Her unique approach requires extensive research and results in performances that are participatory and timely. We take a look at her career to better understand her methods, before proceeding to subsequent episodes exploring Lerman’s toolbox.
COLLABORATION—METHODS AND MODES (32:37)
How can a group of collaborators practice as individuals, create as a group, and answer to a director simultaneously? Liz Lerman actively describes herself as “agitator, instigator, and synthesizer”, and her work is fostered by a philosophy rooted in collaboration. This episode explores how Lerman develops her work with a multi-disciplinary team.
WHO GETS TO MAKE—Everyone Dance! (37:13)
In her book Hiking the Horizontal, Lerman emphatically states, “I am interested in… performers who look like people dancing, not dancers dancing.” Lerman has challenged the assumption that only professionals can create beautiful dances with active research, listening, storytelling. In this episode we’ll hear from Healing Wars cast member and Navy Veteran Paul Hurley, and from other choreographers partnering with non-traditional performers.
DOCUMENTATION—PROCESS, ARCHIVE + PRODUCT (24:39)
In performance, documentation is vital. Videos, photographs, music, even props and costumes, are all records of time-based work. "Documentation" will build upon the discussion from previous episodes, and consider how artists, museums and organizations are utilizing documentation as an archive, tool and final product.
CRITIQUE—WHAT CAN FEEDBACK LOOK LIKE? (33:23)
Everyday we are asked to like, review, and rate—we live in a culture of critique. How is feedback structured? Is critique a form of research? The Critical Response Process (CRP), developed by Lerman, is a technique for eliciting critique on anything “from dance to dessert”. Together, with the help of several CRP facilitators, we’ll break down the process, and then consider additional modes of providing feedback.
CONCLUSION—THE TOOLBOX (12:21)
In this episode, we’ll reflect back on what we’ve heard so far. These are four of the many tools in Lerman’s practice. Are these tools for artists, makers and performers only? Do you want to use these tools and open this toolbox? How might they find a way into what you do?
In each episode you'll hear a creative challenge—a question or a prompt. Listener generated feedback and content will be uploaded periodically here. Check back frequently! Your feedback and insights will help continue the conversation. Check out all of the responses here!