At the turn of 2010/2011 I was clear that I wanted a working period on the continent in countries that I could also imagine myself working in after finishing my degree. Therefore, I looked into possible Erasmus Exchange destinations and compiled applications to Berlin, Vienna and Amsterdam. My motivation to choose Berlin lay in its match with my political interests, Vienna, because it’s music traditions rang with my affinity to voice work and Amsterdam, because of its renowned dance scene and personal ties.
So, I researched and formulated 3 very different project proposals as all universities I had in mind as workbases required concise proposals supported by adequate footage of matching work. This trained my sense for finding a clarity within myself about what my interests are and why and resulted in much clearer proposals than I have written in the past, I felt.
Malin Gebken, Samu Laiho, Alexandra Codling

© Bossert 2011. Mind The Dub!

While performing and composing for various performance projects and a short film project last year I was happiest with a duet I choreographed based on a song by and performed with the vocalist Sabrina Sauer. This and my idividual vocal production work fed my affinity for working with text and sound. And following this interest I became an apprentice with Katie Duck for her music and dance improvisation concept for five weeks and worked for her afterwards being part of her organ collective workshop in Amsterdam in summer 2011. With Katie I had a chance to train my awareness of sound, focus and acteurs in space as a performer and go into discourse on all matters of sound and movement improvisation.

© Evans 2011. Freakatoni's Messy Weekends

Throughout the process we took different positions, for example when it came to structuring improvisation. In dialogue with musician Alfredo Genovesi I perceived him to look for leaving improvisation as free as possible in order to enable people to come up with completely new and random things. Whereas my more limited experience has me believe that limitation, themes or rules facilitate people to find new solutions, quality, focus or colour.

Also, Katie challenged us dancers to be ‘the better musicians’ and find something to add to the space and the sound in it rather than portraying what is already there. And the task staying alert to everything at once, sound, space, people and time was one to attempt rather than to master. And when there was a block of sound coming at me from all musicians present gathered in one corner of the space and my ear was not up to distinguishing them any more it had me call out for a more equal hierarchy between music and dance,-)

We performed every weekend on Friday and Saturday nights and unless it was our own scores the shows usually did not have a score or theme further than fixing the numbers of musicians and dancers and the time in space. And although I used to feel at home in improvisation settings, during this apprenticeship I found myself in state of neither wanting to be seen on stage nor stage any work. On the contrary I took to observing what I connect with in other art practices and why and transform these findings into a clearer definition of my own practice.

Carla Behal, Kagi, Malin Gebken

© Evans 2011. Freakatoni's Messy Weekends

I discussed my interest in political art with Katie and she asked me ‘What is political art? How can any art not be political?’ So I realized I had to define more clearly what I mean by political and at this point I was thinking also about the impact a piece of art has on society.

I stayed for 2 more weeks in Den Haag in the Netherlands and worked in the library of the arts forum Stroom/Den Haag as well as walking the streets and galleries of the city. During this period of work I identified some of my political themes with the practice manifesting itself as pickíng up on discourse in personal and professional context and processing while seemingly walking streets at random and finding metaphors and reflection ground with what I came across.

Themes I identified for myself are situated within capitalism and feminism and aspects of this going on in my context at the time were the contemporary dance funding cuts in the Netherlands and the nature of working environments for females in the free economy. And personal reflections in these contexts related for instance to my attitude towards the acts of giving and taking and to a quote from a conversation with my partner  who said once with vigour “You’re not a feminist, Malin, you’re my girlfriend!”

© Malin Gebken

For further reference to the work with Katie please also take note of:



produced by Katie Duck and Michael Evans

and with password: Dundee

filmed by Roel van Gorkum

1 Response to STARTING OUT

  1. The scene in which Katie practices is part of the whole world’s nourishment!
    Thanks for your involvement, Malin.

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