"To experiment means you must put what you know at risk to what you do not yet know."
Ann Lauterbach, The Night Sky
In my role as teacher and mentor I ask each student to pause, listen, and situate in silence,
to take risk and always maintain regard for themselves and each other as creative thinkers. I strive to create a collaborative
community that one needs to build and participate within the classroom, local, national and global culture off and online.
This is the challenge and opportunity in a highly technologically networked and collaborative climate of the 21st century.
I am interested in exploring how presence, and engagement with the live and mediated body can create and construct images we
can read, critique and digest in a contemporary accelerated culture.
I see my role in the classroom as facilitator, one who imparts a framework and set of tools. I invite the students
to make these tools their own and utilise them in the generation of material in their studio practise and ultimately the creation
of works of performance. In addition, I bring contemporary and historical materials in for investigation and discussion. I arrange
fieldtrips to expose the students to new work, content and approaches. I provide readings to fuel their investigation into their
own material and practise. I see one-on-one tutorials throughout the semester as key to engaging each student in the particulars
of their process as well as a way to inform my approach to the curriculum. Throughout the course I demand a student to be present,
and attentive to the specific task that is being attempted.
When beginning the generation of material in a studio class I present a specific, highly visual text, video, audio clip
or object. I will then ask the students to embody this material for a defined period of time. Through investigation and repetition
the movement becomes a piece of vocabulary. Through simple assemblage of the students into duets, trios, solos the sequence gains or
loses form and complexity. During this exercise, I act as the rowing coxswain and keep the pace and recombination of the material flowing.
The duration of this exercise may range from a few minutes to an hour or more. The pace compresses and opens allowing the students to
explore temporal and physical capacities of themselves and the group.
I evolve this type of exercise by introducing specific constraints. These constraints could be in the form of a film reference,
a photograph, a diagram, an article, a surface to perform on, or the weight of time. As I facilitate this image making I will ask the
students to consider how they embody, fracture and reorganise the material within the space. I have discovered that imposing diverse and
specific parameters facilitates discovery, engages the mind and body transforming the student into an instrument of expression.
- Mark Jeffery
see also: Goat Island Teaching Philosophy
The Performing Body
Live Presence, Technology, Virtual Spaces
Performing the Document
Materiality, The Body and Motion
Contemporary Practices: Core Studio
Intro to Performance
© Mark Jeffery 1994 - 2011