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gift 03/2012
Austria meets California at Raw Matters Adapt Special The Raw Matters Adapt Special was a shared performance evening on the 29th and 30th of June 2012 at Palais Kabelwerk, where Austrian and American artists presented their works. Deborah Hazler and Nanina Kotlowski organize Raw Matter Events since 2010 at Schikaneder cinema, Vienna. Their vision is to create a relaxed space and atmosphere, where people can share their raw works and have an exchange with the audience and colleagues. Misa and Stephen Kelly founded the Santa Barbara ADaPT festival, a dance and physical theater festival.
Regina Picker attended the ADaPT festival, helped organize the Raw Matters Adapt Special and invited them to talk about Raw Matters work and visions.

Regina: You all work on creating space, so exchange of work can happen. How started Raw Matters?
Deborah: It started as a very informal single off-evening in 2010. For the first evening I had just this big desire to show what I was working on in a very informal frame, but with audience. So I invited a couple of other people to help organize this first evening. Among them were Nanina and Veronika Mayerböck, Maria Waldinger, Martina Rösler and Steffi Wieser. This evening ended in being such a – I hate to use the word success – but it seemed to be that. Many people who came were very excited about the idea. Maria, Nanina and I decided to continue, and Nanina and me are still doing so. What started as an evening for ourselves to show our own work has changed. Now we are giving the space to others.
Nanina: We somehow continued because there seemed to be such a great interest from so many sides. I think mainly we are driven by the people who take and appreciate this opportunity and who are interested in participating. A platform like Raw Matters and the development of “raw” performance ideas is extremely important for the Viennese dance scene.

Regina: How did you come up with the idea of ADaPT and what keeps you continuing?
Misa: It was a slow detoxification process after graduating from school. They paint a picture of what success is and when one gets out of college you don’t know any better and work with that image as you move forward in life. It was a very slow process of figuring out another portrait of me, that was actually a pretty similar image with 99 % of other art makers.
The first important lesson came of this idea to create an opportunity for another artist while I was creating one for myself. I invited the Los Angeles choreorapher Stephanie Gilliland to come to Santa Barbara. I saw how transformative it was for this company (Tongue) to be able to perform and present their work in a new place. That communicated to me, how important it was for artists to take their work to new communities. Then I figured out another way to get the work out – by attending festivals and showcases produced by others in the United States. There was a large festival of our community called Summerdance Santa Barbara. The woman who organized it focused on the super stars. I gained tremendously from these festivals, but yet, there was always this nagging bit of frustration: where is the festival in our community that celebrates the working class artists like all of us, who do not get major funding – or even generously funding, and aren’t known outside of their community. They do other things for a living, yet remain deeply committed to carving out their life work as creative beings. Stephen and I decided to launch a festival that would service this community. I was dumbfounded by how many applications we received for a first time festival. This spoke deeply about the need for this type of activity.

Regina: Concerning Raw Matters, how much do you feel supported by the community in Vienna? Is there something like a community that you feel part of?
Deborah: I am very sensitive towards this word community. I do not really see myself as part of a community. In general, it does not work like this for me. I see that there is a need for Raw Matters. I sense this from the people who have participated so far. There are a couple of people who always offer their support.
Nanina: I would like to mention Christina Druck, who works as a technician at the Schikaneder Kino. She does not only support the Raw Matters performance evening itself but also designed the Raw Matters Logo, Webpage and all our posters. Her enthusiasm and contribution are extremely valuable for us.
Regina: Is there a community ADaPT feels part of and do you feel supported by it?
Stephen: For myself I do not feel as part of a community. We do receive some excellent support, particularly people from the press, giving this great free news coverage and lots of articles and encouragement. Initially we did not receive a very wide response to our work from the people in Santa Barbara – it has been a slow process to change this.
Misa: In terms of financial support of funders we have three consistent private donors right now. When needed – don’t ask how often – we fund from our own salaries and savings and windfalls of money. Much of this year’s activity comes from a very small inheritance of sorts – a generous gift. We are working on an organizational development grant right now, seeking funding through local government and we are hoping our recent award will help.

Regina: How is the financial situation of Raw Matters?
Deborah: For me it has always been very important to make Raw Matters as much as possible a free event, so that we can cater to all different groups of people of the society. We as artists earn no money. We all want to see dance and very often it is too expensive. Therefore I feel strongly to keep the price of the tickets as low as possible or – more ideally – charge nothing. For the last couple of evenings we actually have been paying from our own money expenses that we could not cover with donations.
Nanina: There seems to be a development that more and more people are interested in Raw Matters, but donate less and less money to it. Maybe it is because Deborah and I are also getting tired of asking and pushing people to give free donations. It is a bit frustrating – if you don’t push people to donate they just don’t do it.
Deborah: So we are now in the process of thinking how we might deal with this. We hope to come up with a good solution.

Regina: What are your expectations of Raw Matters Adapt Special in June and what are your wishes for it?
Deborah: I wish that we can create a nice crowd, a nice audience and a nice atmosphere for all the performers. Most important is, that people are interested.
Nanina: I further wish that the artists from Raw Matters and ADaPT can get in contact with each other and get the possibility to exchange, maybe even beyond the two days of this festival, something that continues. ||

Deborah Hazler
received her MFA in Dance from Hollins University in Virginia, USA (2008), after finishing her BA in Dance Theatre at the Laban Dance Centre in London (2006). Most recently she worked with Oleg Soulimenko on A Visit To This Planet, Part 2 and presented her own work offnature at the festival imagetanz at the brut Konzerthaus. In 2011 she received the danceWEB scholarship.

Misa Kelly
is a dancer, choreographer and visual artist. She is a creative specialist who tends to create and initiate for international platforms. She organizes for herself and similar creative beings events that provide possibilities for others to share their works when she, through ArtBark International, shares hers.

Stephen Kelly
is a classical Pianist and composer who toured through France, Spain, Costa Rica and the USA. He collaborated with Misa Kelly in the organisation of the Santa Barbara ADaPT Festival. There he presented a critically acclaimed trio coined “brilliant” that he developed with his dancers. He toured another new work to Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and New York and is a Co-Founder with his wife Misa, and Mojca Majcen of ArtBark International.

Nanina Kotlowski
obtained her BA (Hons) at the Laban Trinity Centre (UK) before she received her MA in performance at the Anton Bruckner University. Most recently she performed in offnature with the artistic direction of Deborah Hazler. She received a scholarship by the bm:ukk and spent several months in Brazil.

Regina Picker
comes from classical music and started to train dance at the age of 18. She graduated in pedagogy for music and movement from the University for music and performing arts in Vienna and continued at the conservatory with pedagogy for modern dance, with theatre studies and a Yoga teacher training course with Sri Louise. She investigates a lot in art, travelling and building networks.
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