“It’s a place to underline things… It’s a place to stick to stuff. And not just say ‘yeah, yeah, we know there’s something about, for instance, sustainability, but we’re in a hurry and we need to do this play very quickly because, whatever, premier on Sunday’… research allows you to dig deeper, and also to ‘stay with the trouble’ or at least stay with the need or the urge to tell whatever it is you need to tell”.
Rikke Lund Heinsen is a producer, essayist, artistic researcher and associate professor at Den Danske Scenekunstskole, where for the past few years she’s been sharing with me and my peers of this MFA in Performing Arts, her knowledge on artistic entrepreneurship and on artistic research. She is also, by my very specific request, the supervisor and mentor of this project. This is because there’s few things more contagious and exciting than listening to her speak about these subjects, and her approach to the field has allowed me to feel comfortable entering the blank, unknown spaces of my own investigation.
In our interview we speak about her transdisciplinary work and how this is where she feels most at home, but also how artistic research has expanded this practice, through a project within DASPA called Semper Plus Ultra (Always Beyond This), where she sought to find significantly different work spaces within Performing Arts, an expanded version that would allow for greater exchange of knowledge and being able to ask important questions.
When asked about her own perception of the embodiment of knowledge, she speaks fondly of the transformations experienced within her practice, but more importantly, the confidence needed for entering unknown territories in her field:
“I had a lack of courage to both ask different questions and to provide stuff to people because I had the feeling that I was always met with a – we do this already, so what are you searching for? – so I needed to leave myself, the known stuff, the knowledge within myself… (and through this project) suddenly I had space to find, what specifically needed to emerge”.
This is something you too might have noticed… a piece of information that echoes throughout each of these video interviews I’ve been making for The Ecology of Artistic Research, for each of the artistic researchers has in their own words confided that one of the more physical or tangible aspects in which their practice has been affected or modified due to artistic research is a type of new-found or unearthed courage. Rikke adds: “What I mostly discovered was kind of a braveness in my system. I suddenly became brave within discourse and language. (…) I felt brave in moving these experiences into something very specific, and I started to write long poems that I gave value to immediately, so I think what happened is I stopped having these pauses of doubt, so there was something about the entanglement of being in a room, sensing things that were significantly different, asking people, asking myself, and then creating stuff… as a response… and that felt entangled within my body… and it was a connection that, even though I did it alone, I felt like I could at anytime ask my peers a question without being afraid… and to me that still is, also emotionally, the most important thing of doing artistic research… to quit the old habits… and also, from an academic standpoint in an artistic world, a world so filled with experiences of being afraid, how to create a conversation… this is still running in my body as a strength, but also as a necessity.”
A second echoing piece of information, or rather than an echo a repeating pattern, is what I have received as a response when asking about the possibilities of artistic research to help us find new mechanisms for more sustainable practices… Everyone’s response has been simple: time. A slowing down of the process. A sticking around and digging deeper, like Rikke explained.
I’m certain you’ll find this interview insightful and inspiring, but I also leave you with the question Rikke asked me once we finished the interview, regarding other possibilities of what could be found through this project, but also what in general, she’s still interested in understanding. The blurred spaces. What is artistic research and what is artistic practice, and when do you know you’ve entered one space and don’t need to produce in order to be part of the other.
So I ask the universe, and you reading this: When, in our practice and in this field, do we stop feeling the need to produce, and understand that our process is also the product of our investigation?
To read some of her work on artistic entrepreneurship, visit: