OPENLAB is a model for professional self-development for performers devised and facilitated by Antonio de la Fe.

Its frame of work revolves around a basic question: what does to perform entail?

OPENLAB takes the form of regular working sessions although these sessions are not fixed in shape. The model is fluid: always changing, always open to dialogue within the group… Sessions may occur within different setting: they have being done in different locations, from dance studio to public spaces, passing through theatre stages and other non-public spaces such as houses, flats, bars, etc.; they have being organise both within a self-manage class-like configuration and within different variations of workshop-like intensives; they may last just over a few hours or to be planned to be a full-day event.

OPENLAB sessions are developed by constantly changing group of people. Any person can join the group at any time according to the personal needs and circumstances. Each member of the group may use these sessions the best way they suit them: they can attend at any given time and do not need to commit to every session. Generally, the members of the group are artists interested in performance, movement, the body and in the actions the body can deploy as an artistic medium.

Antonio de la Fe initially shared with the group his own concerns and reflectios around the performance question. The dialogue within the group departed from the principle that performing is closely related to the skill of being present (or should we call it making presence?).

To explore the idea of presence as a trainable performance skill during each sessions Antonio propose different practical exercises and tasks inspired by studies and theories about consciousness and perceptions, specially those theories that address the mind as being embodied and that perception is not a passive mental event but an action performed by the mind body continuum. This exercises and tasks are constantly juxtapose to a guided meditative practice based in the concept of mindfulness.

Once again, each member of the group may make use of these sessions the best way it suits them: the idea of the lab is not for one person to give answers but for the group to share a common interest and research together about it. The instructions given as part of the guided practices as well as the rules of the exercises and tasks are intended as suggestions and not as a doctrine. Participants are encourage to follow the instructions the best way they can without self-judgment or without trying to hard. The instructions are given for a reason but rules are made to be broken. Each person must make their own sense of the instructions, using those that work for them and abandon those that don’t. This guiding model intents to facilitate a learning process based in accessing each person’s own sources of knowledge and trying to substitute a more traditional teaching models of transmitting knowledge.

The first session of OPENLAB took place on Friday, 27th January 2012. Since then sessions have been taking place on a regular basis.

This blog is a space for people attending the OPENLAB sessions to share their own reflections and contribute to the lab’s ongoing discussion with the intention of serving as an archive, documenting the work developed during the lab’s sessions. You can have a look in The Archive section.

If you are interested in joining OPENLAB send an e-mail to Antonio.

1 thought on “What’s OPENLAB?

  1. Always generous with your insight, energy and openness, Antonio ~Thank you! Floating, in it’s flexible and affirming way, was a pleasure. There is much to sense and revisit from today. Bravo to Hamish! Thank you also, fellow participants ~ It was a delight! Tim Taylor (Nov 25th)

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