Protean Knowledge



How to Cite

Nicely, M. (2021). Protean Knowledge: On Researching while Studying with Sherwood Chen. PARtake: The Journal of Performance As Research, 3(2).


For performing artists, processes that enhance and revitalize our research are equally educational. Attending training and compositional workshops as a student, in dialog with a teacher’s offerings, can raise new questions then folded back into our own research process. In this essay, I analyze my participation in two workshops and the highly physical training that preceded them, devised and led by movement artist Sherwood Chen. Chen teaches and performs throughout Europe and the US and is one of a small handful that lead Body Weather-based training, developed by Tanaka Min alongside others. While Chen was a member of Tanaka’s company in its later years, he neither considers himself an authority, nor what he imparts to be the only approach to this pedagogy. Chen’s compositional workshops take a similarly ambivalent view of codified methods and their transmission, while at the same time posing more poignant questions about lineage, embodied knowledge, and the student-teacher relationship.