Haranczak/Navarre Performance Projects is devoted to the investigation and strengthening of collaborative methods of performance making. Because of its focus on communication and method, the style of the work and the form it takes vary from piece to piece. The first phase of the company’s work is a series of duet projects, each jointly made, directed and performed by myself and another artist, with each duet functioning as research into new methods of collaboration without a single director. We focus on remaining open to a new and different working dynamic for each collaboration and sensitive to the delicacies of establishing a unique approach for each partnership. Each effort is characterised by the articulation of desired working practices and the attempt to find common ground agreeable to all parties.
Content is determined by each project. Rather than starting with a theme or focus on a particular area of concern, each project begins with a search for how and where to begin. By determining the content of the material through a process of discovery we allow prevailing concerns and interests of the artists involved to be affected by prevailing concerns and interests of the community around them. Context is delivered via a poetics of collage and fragmentation and invariably involves some amount of historical research which is brought into the current context for reconsideration and to address social concerns. Subject matter ranges from the inability to move forward in the face of overwhelming sensation, inspiration from historical documents in the mass observation archive (specifically an entry from a 1937 essay contest answering the question, What is happiness?) to a critique of our natural inclinations toward control and the dark places they can lead us (specifically, from a 20th century American context, the electrocution of problem elephants and national “traitors” accused of selling atomic secrets to the Soviet Union).
The duet series is titled The Difference Between Home and Poem. Separate webpages are dedicated to each duet project, under Performance. The TwoFold festival (2017) was an opportunity to share all the duet projects made up to that point, alongside duet collaborations by other artists, a symposium on issues around working in pairs, and workshops.
The company name comes from the maiden names of my two grandmothers, inspired by the ethnicity forms I’ve had to fill out for the NHS (white mixed) and contemplating my own interest in hidden characteristics, I’m conscious that my surname Christopher hides a mix of ethnicities commonly obscured by the American label. By way of uncovering what is hidden I’ve chosen a somewhat unlikely name for this company, one that reveals hidden characteristics. Though it is from my own family history it is pointing at the multitude of mixtures behind each of us.
If you have trouble knowing how to pronounce it, just think how it would sound in an American accent:
Haranczak = ha-ran-zack (as if the ‘c’ weren’t even there). It’s Polish but we’ll just use the American pronunciation.
Navarre = na-varr (rhymes with “the car”) emphasis on the second syllable. It’s a French name (after a town near the border with Spain); again, we’ll use the American pronunciation (that’s what my grannies did).