EMORY IMPROVISATIONS Home Page
IMPRONET (Improvisational Network) is a system of Web pages devoted to the art of intellectual improvisation and to the experiments in creativity-through-communication.
These pages are set up and maintained by
Mikhail Epstein (Emory University).
MATERIALS OF IMPROVISATIONS:
Walled Cities and Wasteland, Emory, February 2009
Threads, Emory, January 2009
Speech Genres, Emory, November 2008
Water, Emory, April 2004
Belts, University of Rhode Island (Providence). March 2003
Arranging and Arrangments, Emory University. March 2001
Frogs, Emory University (Atlanta, GA). February 1998
Strings and Borders, the international conference:
The Future of the Humanities in Europe and the USA, Santiago de Compostela University. August 1997
The Possibilities and Limitations of Technology, Bowling Green State University (OH). October 1996
Experiments in collective improvisations began in Moscow (Russia), from 1982 to 1988, and continued in the USA since 1996.
Typical invitation to an improvisational session:
We are seeking between 6 and 12 participants willing to devote several hours to the following exercise. Each member of the group will propose a topic, out of which one will be chosen by negotiation. An hour or so will be devoted to individual writing on the chosen topic, followed by reading and group discussion of each essay. Participants should be prepared to improvise on any topic, including the trivia of everyday life, from the angles of their professional discipline, personal experience or general world view. They are also invited to become specialists in alternative, virtual or non-existent disciplines.
This improvisational session is what might be called a metaphysical assault on everyday things. It can also be identified with the task Richard Rorty has set for thinkers of the future: to be "all purpose intellectuals . . . ready to offer a view on pretty much anything, in the hope of making it hang together with everything else."
The most regular kind of improvisation includes 5 stages:
1) each participant suggests a topic for the improvisation.
2) discussion of these topics, choice of one of them, and distribution of its various aspects among participants (each chooses his own personal and/or professional angle on the subject);
3) writing individual essays (1 hour);
4) reading and discussion of essays;
5) collection of all written materials into a coherent whole, a micro-encyclopedia of the given topic.
On the theory and history of Collective Improvisations: