Axis 4: Devising the Future

Kyoung’s Pacific Beat’s NERO, Pregones/PRTT. July-August 2022, Bronx

Based on DIY models, artists have for decades created their work outside the mainstream and this shift has enabled artists to continue their practice without the need to find ins to major institutions or mass-audiences, to instead focus the work on one’s artistic freedom and embrace one’s identity without fitting into any ethnic–or discipline–specific mold, transgressing the traditional definitions of aesthetic practice or identity-based narratives, if necessary.

Interdisciplinary, multi-disciplinary, hybrid, experimental, devised are all words commonly used in the field to classify new works coming from the dance and performing arts, but as performance and dance becomes more visible within museums and installation art becomes more popular in theatrical spaces, the cross pollination of artists and artistic disciplines will continue to provide both creative freedom and collaborative opportunities to further aesthetic forms, while tapping into different art audiences in new live experiences that challenge our conventional understanding of the arts.

Hybrid Theater & Pandemic Art (2022 – Present)

“Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.” – Arundhati Roy

Arundhati Roy described the COVID-19 pandemic as a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. How have artists changed while creating art during the pandemic and what new forms have emerged to reflect our times? These questions were investigated through a series of discussions following rough-cut screenings of NERO at The Exponential Festival 2022 and 2023.

Experimental Theater-Making

Kyoung’s Pacific Beat’s TALA, HERE Arts Center, Jul. 2012, New York City

“Experimental Theater-Making” is an interactive presentation that provides participants with an eagle-eye’s view of what it’s like to devise experimental theater based on Kyoung’s Pacific Beat’s leadership and organizational model. Topics covered include:

  • Developing Artistic Intentionality and Sustainability
  • Establishing Artistic Collaborations
  • Addressing Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in contemporary experimental, performing arts
  • Building Community Partnerships in the devising of new work
  • Addressing Ownership, Copyright, and Collaborative agreements for Devised Theater
  • Finding your Audience

The goal of “Experimental Theater-Making” is to provide frameworks and infrastructure to the creation of devised theater, in order to balance the creative generation of material with the organizational planning necessary to support artistic collaborations. 

Experimental Collaboration

“Experimental Collaboration” is a practical workshop designed to develop new works-in-progress through artistic explorations in performance, playwriting, and direction, based on techniques developed by Kyoung’s Pacific Beat. The workshop trains pre-established, collaborative ensembles that are already developing new projects, and serves as a space for artistic reflection, the imagining of supportive creative structures, and the implementation of new skills that strengthen artistic collaboration. The workshop goals are to:

  • Nurture collaborative techniques through performance, playwriting, and devising exercises focused on self-reflection and artistic inquiry
  • Generate new theatrical material through assigned tasks addresses specific needs within the collaborative team
  • Explore aesthetic identity through the sharing of new materials between workshop participants and a general audience
  • Determine long-term goals for the creation and production on artistic goals and intents determined by the collaborative ensembles

Experimental Playwriting

“Experimental Playwriting” is a practical workshop for writers interested in experimental American playwriting, which incorporates different writing techniques based on visual arts, poetry, performance, and Pataphysics—the science of imaginary solutions. This workshop is an intensive course designed to write a new play through writing sessions that incorporate theatrical games, writing exercises, and aesthetic-based discussions related to the participants current practice. The workshop is structured as follows:

  • In-Class Acting and Writing Exercises based on Sense-Memory and Voice
  • Daily Writing Assignments
  • Overview of American Playwriting Avant-Garde
  • Group discussions and individual feedback is provided to each participant upon completion of their first draft.