The Procrastination Marathon, scheduled to take place on the seventh of June (2020) at the Jardim Botânico de Lisboa, was postponed… Or, this was precisely what it was about: something that begins as soon as it is announced and is indefinitely delayed? Could this be a part of the procrastination project? If so, a marathon only underlines what already exists but is disguised as numerous plans for accomplishment. So, are they plans for postponing or procrastinating? If confinement is prolonged for “covidic” reasons, the meeting is reflective instead of providing a real-life gathering. In place of a procrastination marathon, we have access to concrete discourses, approaching encounters that are difficult to describe. Eight interviews about the power of these encounters were proposed and are available on the TBA website. What is improvising? Conversing? Playing? Finding relationships, connections, nexuses? Positioning ourselves? Knowing how to perpetuate the place of not knowing?

These interviews conducted by performer and researcher Sílvia Pinto Coelho focus on procrastination's role in creative processes. Slowing down creation and research can be a way of recognizing that the act of delaying, of making things last, can lead to a fertile process of inventing the unknown. Improvisors and artists from the fields of dance and performance talk about their methodologies and ideas in this reformed version of the Procrastination Marathon.

Mariana Tengner Barros and Elizabete Francisca possess a vast panorama of improvisation practices, achieved through dance, and share a selection of lapidating phrases such as: “No one tells you what you are meant to do, or how. And that is a powerful emancipatory practice” (EFS). Or “How do we ride the waves of desire in a dialogue with what others are doing?” (MTB).

Márcia Lança and João Fiadeiro are artists who develop ways of being on stage, in exploration and in Real Time Composition, in their own unique way. Here they lead us through various paths, in a conversation, waxing as if we were going to continue, continue, continue… “What made us a collective was an exercise of trust and surrender to the unknown, to a type of abyss, an emptiness into which we entered.” (ML).

Vera Mantero was part of several projects that started in the aftermath of Contact Improvisation in the European dance scene of the 1990s. “What was present in those moments, when I was participating in those projects like Crash Landing, etc., was an amazing feeling, before beginning, of facing an abysm. (…) And this is because you are about to start something and have no idea what it will be. That is a crazy thought! I loved that!” (VM).

Peter Michael Dietz mentions that one of the names he came up with for a course was “Impossible Dance”. Someone commented, “But if it is impossible, then it can’t be done, right?”. “That’s a way of seeing, yes! But one can also try, no? Yes, dance can be impossible! At first, yes!”. (PMD)

Christine De Smedt, one of the proponents of Crash Landing with Meg Stuart and David Hernandez in the 1990s, reflects with us today on her mixed feelings about the various types of improvisation. "In improvisation, we also organise distraction, bringing people together, or bringing things together that we don't know yet to propel ourselves to another level. (...) I think that in that sense, improvisation also has a great element of transformation" (CS).

Mark Tompkins says that "procrastination can be very positive, as long as we don't fall into ‘waiting mode’. Procrastination can just be – ‘Well, I like where I am, why should I go around doing crazy things if I feel good here?’ Or, ‘when I'm running, why should I stop there just because it feels like I should?’ That's my idea of procrastination. And in life, I'm quite a procrastinator, but not in a good way." (MT)


Episode #1 - Elizabete Francisca + Mariana T. Barros

Episode #2 - Márcia Lança + João Fiadeiro

Episode #3 - Vera Mantero + Peter Michael Dietz

Episode #4 - Christine De Smedt + Mark Tompkins