online: 14 april 2002

11 april 2002 a collaborative lecture

14:43 after lecture

A calm I've not felt for several days and a contentment in this place and with the many good accidents of the collaborative way of lecturing made possible by the use of a video camera.

I was at the Hochschule für Künst in Bremen at a symposium on the works of John Cage. Jörg Brüggemann was videoing the texts I was reading from and Nils Penner was projecting parts of this website - from which I was also reading. Thus everyone could see the texts while they were spoken and could see when we made mistakes (which became shared experiences) as we spoke, projected and performed them. I was sometimes the only one in the room unable to see what the camera was showing when I became a subject of the videoing process.

As the camera was hand-held Jörg was able to show superimposed pictures of me reading as well as of the texts , and close-ups of my hands and my watch as I tried to limit each part of the lecture to a pre-set duration. Thus the lecture became a composed yet improvised performance ending within the 45 minutes for which I'd been asked to speak.

At one point, when I read from the play 35 wishes, I asked Jörg to read every other line with me while he was videoing the text, so it became a dialogue between us. In this way he also became a part of the video he was editing as he videod it.

The key to all this (the action that turned a solo lecture into a collaborative improvisation) was the change from tripod-mounted camera to hand-held. Because of this, planning could be replaced by improvisation and nervousness by enjoyment.

Several people told me that they enjoyed the performance. And so did I, thanks to this change to flexible means, and to decentral intention! With thanks to John Cage and to the Hochschule für Künst and to those who took part.

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© 2002 john chris jones

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