Haranczak/Navarre Performance Projects was established in 2009 by Karen Christopher. The first phase of the company’s work was a six-year project — The Difference Between Home and Poem: a duet series. So Below, Seven Falls, Control Signal and miles & miles are part of this series. Other projects include Strange Pearls, Featherweight and Holding OPEN. Each project in this duet series is jointly made, directed and performed by Karen Christopher and another artist. Each duet functions as research into new methods of collaboration without a single director. Duet partners here share in defining the working process and methods for generating material: seeking to avoid hierarchies in decision-making, using duets as a direct form of collaboration with no majority rule and no mitigation between points of view. Writing, documentation and publication also form elements of this research.
A series of different research questions, developed by Karen Christopher and her collaborators, inform each distinct duet project, where different strategies and approaches to form and content can be explored.
Collaboration invites the inclusion of multiple voices, and exercises the ability to involve divergent viewpoints. Duet partners here share in defining the working process and methods for generating material: seeking to avoid hierarchies in decision-making, using duets as a direct form of collaboration with no majority rule and no mitigation between points of view.
I am using collaborative methods in support of practicing restraint, tolerance and flexibility in responding to change. In collaborative processes we are looking for multiple answers to the questions we pose. We are not hoping to find just the one answer that we hope fits all circumstances. Part of collaborating is allowing influences at play in the world around us to affect the direction of the work we make.
— Karen Christopher
"Pairs naturally arouse engagement, even intensity. In a larger group, an individual may lie low, phone it in. But nobody can hide in a pair. ‘The decisive characteristic of the dyad is that each of the two must actually accomplish something,’ wrote Georg Simmel, ‘and that in the case of failure only the other remains—not a supra-individual force, as prevails in a group of even three.’ This gives every pair its colour and quality, Simmel said. Precisely the fact that each of the two knows that he can depend only upon the other and on nobody else, gives the dyad . . . a special consecration.”
— from Powers of Two, Joshua Wolf Shenk (2014)