Phase I – 2013-2015

The first phase of the research in the network (2013-2015), involved eleven research groups from ten universities and research centers in three countries: Brazil, France, and Argentina. This phase had financing from the National Council for Technological and Scientific Development, of the Ministry of Science and Technology. The objective of this phase was to broaden the epistemological bases for the description of creative processes, to expand this practice among artists and scholars in the field of Performing Arts in recent years. The investigative work stemmed from a growing concern with a particular question in the field of the performing arts in Brazil, France and Argentina, countries in which the study was undertaken: How can creative processes in performative practices be described? The limits, challenges, and possibilities of the act of describing as a research tool were problematized, when this tool is used to grasp the ephemeral aspects of performative practices. As a result, it involved describing the movements between a state in which artists are not prepared to conduct a performance and another diametrically distant moment when they can conduct the programmed performance. What takes place in the in-between, in the space-time between not knowing and knowing, between a time when the body is not able to perform and the spectacle itself? This is what description strives to grasp. And this is where we confront a significant group of questions that are difficult to identify. Before asking ourselves; What is the creative process? which is a curious question that is impossible to answer, we ask: how can the creative process be described? From this initial question emerges all sorts of impasses, doubts, and limitations that language itself offers to the task of describing the indescribable, of describing that which is ephemeral, describing movement, describing what cannot be grasped, the process, the coming to be. Thus, this study conducted through a network is based on the premise that language cannot do justice to the task that we propose – describing the creative process – because it does not encompass presence, the intensity of life. Language makes the complexity of life linear and simplified. Moreover, the process itself is foreign to the limitation of time and space. We observe rehearsal, but the creative process takes place beyond the essay, beyond the workspace. Artists, practitioners, actors, and directors create or are in a state of creation, in times and spaces that cannot be grasped by the observers or by the artists. Despite these limitations, the creative process does not lend itself to the photographic process, to being registered, it is too alive and too collective. The issue is not to describe the path of a person, or of an idea, or a moment, but of a complex network of relations that it is impossible to be definitively grasped. We can use description of the creative process as a register that seeks to remount the spectacle. But our greater concern is connected with research and with the notion that perhaps we can imagine description as a text that revives the performative effects of performance. Thus, what do we need to be able to describe? How can we describe a creative process, recuperating its power to act? Can a text be performative as is the performative practice? Can a text have similar effects on a reader as the effects of presence at performative practices? Through these questions, three research phases were undertaken. In the first, the researchers elaborated different modes of description of the creative process. In the second, a collective analysis of the descriptions was conceived that pondered the question of writing and of the performativity of text as a mode of approximation to the creative process. This analysis was based on the question: what cannot be described when we describe the creative process in performative practices? In the third and final phase, the network of researchers formalized the results of these analyses in texts. These results were published in the form of a book, entitled Descrever o Inapreensível: performance, pesquisa e pedagogia [Describing the Ungraspable: performance, research and pedagogy]. Thus, the study was able to advance in the development of some concepts that we had about the description of creative processes. The most important are: the problematization of modes of writing and gaps between the living (and ephemeral) process and the communication of an event as a performative procedure; the educational quality of description, which configures in the act of describing a form of creating, beyond recreating the performatic act; and finally, the study of the authority of the written text for the reader, revealing the ways by which the authorial function assumes for the reader a creative function.