Reflexivity/Bracketing

My bias/perspective: My own creative experiences, values and aspirations are the primary tools to make sense of my findings. The research is by nature subjective, as are peak and flow experiences. I think this is the right approach to fully engage and understand the phenomena and present the findings.

I am assuming that my collaborating dance artists or filmmakers whose works I am engaged with (Langan, Truffarrelli, Czarnecki, Millar, Greenfield, Harris…) experience/have experienced some or similar peak-flows in their practice. This may not be the case.

It is very likely that my cultural and personal interests in spiritual writings and practices of meditation/prayer, interest in internal and mystical experiences, values placed by my culture of origin on aesthetics, poetry and lyricism, all impact my approach to my art practice, research and assumptions. Many, if not all of these, are not shared by my collaborating artists or those I interview.

It is clear that although I don’t feel a strong affinity with my Iranian heritage, it has shaped in part my approach to art, its meaning and purpose. I only attended primary school in Iran and most of my upbringing has been in the UK, my immediate family was scattered around the world since I was a year old, and following many traditional Persian cultural practices were not particularly strong in my family. Nevertheless, I heard and have been influenced by some of the characteristics of Persian (Iranian) culture, especially the emphasis on lyrical and poetic aesthetics of visual arts and literature. I often heard my father recite poetry and speak lyrically about it while growing up. I find I instinctively tend to look for these in art and life. I feel a sense of belonging in my practice when I engage reflectively with beauty and aesthetics in making art, in the visual poetry of movement through the lens of the camera, in drawing, painting and animating it.

I have an inherent assumption that, in one form or another, that some other artists feel similar experiences in their engagement and immersion with their art form and practice. I need to be mindful of this, that it doesn’t affect the authenticity of my research and I remain open to other experiences which do not include peak-flow.

I need to make sure my own interests and assumptions are bracketed during interviews.

How much am I influencing the collaborating dance artist/s, interviews and outcomes?

  • I need to take care, while using Maslow’s ‘rhapsodic communication’ technique for interviewing, I don’t influence the artists’s reporting of their own experiences.
  • It is different with the dance artist Maeve who I mainly collaborate with. We have already discovered and established that we share a very similar approach and expectations/aspirations to and from our different practices. I think it helps the study for us to be so in tune and it facilitates the possibility of experiencing peak-flow in our experimentations.

I have looked for a sense of recognition of my approach to art in collaborating artists or those I seek and engage with as a viewer. This is what I ‘sense’ especially in Maeve as a dance artist, we speak the same language in art and sensation, there is an immediate recognition and ease. This is why I am drawn to working/collaborating with her.

It seems natural and instinctive to share freely my thoughts and feelings with Maeve and she freely resonates, as though I have said what she has already been feeling, just waiting to hear them out loud by another, like a mirror, seeing yourself in another’s face, words, sentiments.

I think this is the right approach for my research. As I have already experienced Maeve’s art practice and her striking interest in being in ‘the flow’, ‘the zone’ while dancing and her eagerness to be part of my research practice, I think sharing my experiences and aspirations fully with Maeve can only help us fully collaborate, intra-act (Barad) in an ‘enkinaesthetic’ (Stuart) way.