This Website / Blog is being discontinued. I leave it at this place on the web as a reference, for archival purposes. Maybe you have come here through an old link.

The Meeting Point was an international platform for the practice of interdisciplinary instant composing, operating from Amsterdam, but in it's time also connected to artists in Helsinki, Berlin, Barcelona and Milan.
Improvised performance and instant composing seen as a disicpline in its own right, supporting interdisciplinary exchange, artistic production and social communication.

It all started with the Meeting Point sessions at the Bimhuis, Amsterdam, which are now continued under the name 'Monday Match'.

On this blog you can find the posts until August 2010, relating to the events that happened in Amsterdam and around (The Netherlands).


The Carpet Collective

This is a new platform for interdisciplinary instant composition in Amsterdam, facilitated by Thomas Johannsen:
Find them here:
We hold weekly research sessions where the performance professionals from various disciplines lead the work in turns. Sessions are set up to (1) train and (2) discover and define work methods and vocabulary that work for any discipline.

The Meeting Point as a project of Valeria Primost is being continued via this website:

The Monday Match is the current regular spot for music/dance improvisation (continuing the concept of The Meeting Point) every first Monday of the month in the Bimhuis, Amsterdam:

The Genetic Choir (instant vocal composition) has also now his own website. You can find it here:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

IMPS@WORK&SOUP! nr.3: Fools and Objects

the 3rd installment of Imps@work@soup! will happen in Arnhem:
What is Imps@work@soup! ? Click here.

31st May 2009: Fools and Objects
time: Soup at 18:00, Performance at 19:30
place: De Zaal, Nijhoffstraat 42, in Arnhem.

The discipline of object/puppet theatre will meet this time with a specific brand of improvised theatre:

"Fooling" is a way to compose a performance in the moment, by letting all your 'inner voices' speak. In Arnhem lives and works a group of experienced Fools who regularly give instantly composed performances. On their website: they are describing in more detail how they work. (The website is in Dutch, and Dutch language might also be used in this performance.)

For Imps@work&soup! they have started a collaboration with Thomas Johannsen to explore what object/puppet theatre has in stall for them. This collaboration will culminate in a public Fools performance on 31st of May.

performers: Anita Kooij, Edgard Geurink, Fabiƫnne Belleflamme, Pimm, Paul Greidanus and Willem-Paul Nijs
facilitation: Thomas Johannsen

What is IMPS@WORK&SOUP! ...?


Letting the world of object/puppet/visual theatre inspire the instant composition practice and vice versa, that is the general goal of the IMPS@WORK&SOUP! series.

Every time, a group of performers will work together for a short period prior to the performance evening. The focus of the work will be a question or quest that crosses the boundary between at least two disciplines or peformance practices (from the world of instant composition on the one hand and the world of visual/puppet/object theatre on the other hand).

As improvisation is a practice that lives from a strong and generous relationship between audience and performers, we are having food (soup!) on every performance night and are eating together with our audience. An inspired cook is invited each time to compose the menu.


27-10-2008: Music, Movement & Laundry
Dance and live music meet huge amounts of objects, all connected to the washing process

24-11-2008: The Body of Shadow
Instant composition dance engages with shadow theatre techniques

31-05-2009: Fools and Objects
The improvisation practice of 'Fooling' meets working with single objects

Below, you can find a more detailed description of the philosophy and inspiration for these interdisciplinary meetings.

Feel free to contact me if you like:
My e-mail: johannsen{DOT}t{AT}gmail{DOT}com



The first part of the title pays homage to the definition of improvisation as coined by Enrique Pardo: “Improvisation is imps at work”, hereby refering to the little demons/spirits that are according to folklore often of mischievous intend, living along the borders of our reality.
In the same line of thinking, he defines an impuls as 'an imp giving you a push'. Uncensored thoughts, unplanned movements, sudden unexplainable feelings, these are imps at work in and through us.
In object/puppet theatre, we usually intend to give life to inanimate objects. But there is also the notion that this proces is not so much us giving life to an object, but rather that we are trying to discover 'it's life'. So we allow for the possiblity that there is knowledge (or content/spirit) in every material and that it can teach us how to handle it. Of course there is usually an interplay between ourselves and the material, so it might be hard to define who's imps are at work when we engage with an object or a puppet.
When working on a stone sculpture, Andy Goldsworthy says: “I try to understand the stone”. This is on the one hand a practical/concrete notion, gathering information about the handling of the stone by working with it, but also an intuitive one: The information cannot easily be put into words, and the resulting stone sculpture is a mixture of Andy's intention with the stone, and the stone's response to that intention. Which is to say: Objects/materials have an inside (spirit? imp?) that is only accessible by working with them. And this 'unconscious'/inconcrete aspect of the material can be unraveled by engaging with it concretely.
To me, these definitions give a picture of the way our unconscious or intuitive selves are in play whenever we are improvising. First of all: Improvisation is more than just a clever, virtuoso act of an artist handling his discipline. Improvisation is the attempt to let those 'imps' speak to you and through you, meaning that we are trying to unveil the unconscious reality that is present in the here and now, and work with it. But also: The best route to working with this part of reality is through concreteness: A stone is a stone. Work with it. Don't get sentimental.

So one thing is to invite our intuitive or unconscious selves to come out and play with us. But that is not where it stops. There is no use in just taking the lid off our 'inside world' and throw everything what is in there out on the stage. There is work to be done.
“In dreams begin responsibilities”: When we bring this 'other world' into this world, we have the responsibility to handle it: Any impuls, any action is a theatrical (or musical/visual/...) fact that asks to be cared for.
One thing is to 'know your tools': Know the discipline that you are working with. But more importantly, the act of taking responsibility in itself means that we have to work. That is also why instant composition (building a piece, in front of an audience) has little in common with the notion of 'improvising freely'. With the first step, the first picture, the first word being uttered, there is no freedom anymore: Anything that follows will have a relationship to what is already there, and we as performers have to take care of that relationship.
“Free play” is certainly an important aspect of improvising. But “taking responsibility for what is there”, is just as decisive an ability. And combining both without smothering the valuable quality of one or the other is what constitutes the work.

'Soup' has a lot of associative meanings, but the concrete meaning to Imps@work&soup! is that there is a cook who is making a soup for us and the audience in the beginning of the evening.
Soup is food, and therefore directly related to our bowels - maybe the most unconscious parts of our bodies. Making soup, on the other hand, is very concrete work. And good cooking requires an intuitive understanding of ingredients and processes which, again, you gather through the working knowledge of concrete experience.
But most importantly, soup is nourishing and warm. There is a giving aspect to sharing soup with each other, which is, for me, also central to the notion of instant composition. If I have no intention to give, it does not make sense to invite people to come and watch me improvising.
If you want a soup to be nourishing, there also needs to be some content in it. Which means that instant composition is blatantly off balance if it is mainly circling around the process or the experience of the performers. Thinking about improvisation as something that needs to be nourishing for your audience as well as for yourself helps avoiding this trap of self-centeredness. Of course one shouldn't be trapped either by wanting to fulfill the audience's (supposed) expectations. So the work is again in finding the balance.
I cannot always make soup that is to everybody's gusto. But I can take responsibility to make a tasty and nourishing soup, according to my best knowledge of both ingredients and eaters.
Last but not least, soup is gathering: a mixture of ingredients in the same pot. And there, time is another important aspect. Time to let the different ingredients work on each other and transform the soup into something that is not merely the sum of all the parts. Remember how soup can develop extraordinary taste, after the leftovers have been sitting in the pot for one night?

I hope this gives you some idea. Feel free to contact me and I hope to see you on one of the nights!

Thomas Johannsen

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Meeting / Music and dance dialogue, May 2009

The master has said that writing never expresses words completely and that words never express thoughts completely and that thoughts never express movement completely and that movement is everything that touches the space.
Improvisation is an art that gives and demands...
And dialogue is improvisation.

Makiko Ito and Valeria Primost: dance / Michael Fischer: sax, violin / Marcos Baggiani: drums / Anne van Balen: lights

Wednesday, May 20th, 21 hrs
De Wittenstraat 100, Amsterdam

Thursday, May 21st, 20 hrs

Rotterdamsestraat 71, Den Haag

070 350 60 09