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The Red Shoes Project Revisited

The author addresses various approaches to artistic research on the basis of her own artistic research project, The Red Shoes Project (2008-14), which consists of three closely related theatre performances for young children (0-3 years). The project was concerned with the development of dance theatre for the youngest children, in which opportunity was given for the children to participate actively and bodily in the performances. As a PhD project The Red Shoes Project (Hovik, 2014) explored the theatre event through three different art settings, following theories on performative aesthetics. Methods and research design are from the field of artistic research. The Red Shoes [De Røde Skoene] (2008) was a dance theatre performance for 1-year olds, Red Shoe Missing [Rød Sko Savnet] (2011) was an art installation, and Mum´s Dancing [Mamma Danser] (2011) was an improvised dance concert, both for 0-3 year-olds. All of these productions had red shoes as a connecting theme and playful artistic material. Playing and musical communication are core concepts guiding this interdisciplinary artistic research practice.
The research methodology changed during the 6 years of artistic research and theoretical studies. Henk Borgdorff’s division into an interpretative, instrumental and performative research perspective (Borgdorff, 2012) provided a comprehensive theory for the development of this research process. These research perspectives together are helpful methodologies in the artistic process of creating art for the very young, and the artworks demonstrates the possibility of creating common artistic experiences between performers and children, in which both can take part in reciprocal interaction and improvisation.
This exposition aims to give a presentation of the artistic research process as a whole, leaving out the more theoretical discussions from the PhD thesis, emphasizing the visual aspects of the artistic works .
As the initial research questions from 2008 might be outdated today - there are a multitude of interactive performances for babies in 2018 - the presentation will touch upon some new relevant works and perspectives within this topic. Looking back on the research process and outcomes, focus will be on the investigating progress and methods in this specific artistic research. The exposition will connect text and visual research material, and open some internal reflections on the development of the research questions along the way. The shifts in methodological perspectives will be highlighted as this still can be fruitful in further research on the topic, both as artistic and academic research.

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Journal for Artistic Research
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