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Tisa Neža Herlec

Mojca Zupančič

We are a dynamic improvising duo consisting of a vocalist Tisa Neža Herlec and a pianist Mojca Zupančič that have been creating together since 2015.

TNH and MZ have been collaborating for many years, organizing and executing various performative events in Slovenia and in the Netherlands.
Together, we have created events listed below:
- 24H: a collective processual and performative event that was being held in a gallery space and lasted for 24 hours (April 2019, Sign Gallery / livestream, Groningen);
- Infinity: a performance for two bodies and voices that lasted until all members of the audience left the concert hall (May 2019, The World We Live In, Prins Claus Conservatorium, Groningen);
- Obrazi: a blend between a lecture and a noise concert where our main topic was sensibilisation and fear (October 2019, Lust, Groningen);
- Formacije: Duo: a protocol for sound improvisation in randomly selected duos among the participants (August 2020, Hrušica, Ljubljana);
- RADADAR: a multimedia digestive circuit through which we were processing memories, archive material and relationships (December 2020, Cirkulacija2 and livestream in eter of Radio Študent, Ljubljana).

I, Tisa Neža Herlec (1996, LJ) communicate, improvise and create imaginaries (with sound, voice, in texts and images). Collaboration, processuality and the friction between structures ignite my inspiration. Currently I’m finishing my masters' studies of Experimental publishing at PZI in Rotterdam.

I, Mojca Zupančič (1995, LJ) live "life" and flirt with life. Using the tools of improvisation and presence I am searching for the crossroads between being self and the norm. I passionately work with sound, movement and image. Currently studying jazz piano at PPC in Groningen.

Dwelling; 04:31:12

This duo from Slovenia is driven to explore and test different modes of operation in groups, ensembles and constellations of individuals, mainly focusing on the empowerment of subjective voices and creative potentials. By introducing different methods, processes and compositions they attempt to invent new modes of organization of collectivity. Artists are striving for the immersion into a mutual present, real-time generative performative practices and communication.

Allow time to extend beyond the current perception of movement. Let it echo on in a memory, a friend of remembrance that does not know forgetfulness.

Interview

What is the language in common for the young people today?

Music has always been a connective tissue of societies. We can consider it a language. We play mostly improvised music, coming together with a plethora of musicians from different places, traditions and language areas. Expressing in sound is one of the purest modalities of interaction. We communicate through sound, unbound by the restrictions of language, creating a conversation that can be understood by anyone that allows themselves to listen carefully.

What does the process of making one of your pieces look like?

It's important to first calm down our minds and ground our bodies, from there we can start creating. When this is impossible, we start from the middle, from the rumble of the chaotic moment we find ourselves in. There are always many impulses and triggers and cues in reality that offer us the starting point. Breathe in and GO! We are improvisers by nature, so we love to get lost in the stream of consciousness and find ourselves again three hours later, enriched with new experiences, having lived a week in an hour of music, played together with our co-creators. What happens in the meantime cannot be put into words, it is an experience that each one lives differently - here speaking about the musicians and also the public that we consider as impactful for our expression.

Which challenges have you faced while making art as you know it?

Being a creative individual requires a lot of self-esteem and sometimes when we are in our vulnerable states, it is hard to trust our creations. They seem fragile in the eyes of the world. Their existence is gentle while they are in the process of becoming. A lot of times this delicateness of the imagination requires certain protective layers to be established. At times this is a lonely process, but we do strive towards working with others a lot, so then the work is already stronger from the beginning, because its seed is planted and nurtured by many minds, not just one. There are also a lot of hidden roles that we have to embody to be able to make a work come to life - we are not only the makers, we are also our own producers, managers, publishers, designers, communicators, etc. Our roles are multiplied and often this is overwhelming, planning and organization can be quite stressful at times. Again, relying on others and trusting our co-creators here brings many beautiful interactions and responsibility spreads out nicely when we trust.

Do you consider yourself an artist, and what does that word mean to you?

We are not fond of labeling. We always see ourselves as human beings with an urge to create and share out into different public situations, making experiences for ourselves and the public alike. Because we do this a lot, we are considered professional artists in the eyes of the world.

What is your escape from reality? Do you even have a need to escape from something?

Our practice is the opposite of an escape from reality. It is a potentiation of reality, of experience, of the known and the unknown. The emotion is potentiated, through sound and language we make it explode in our faces, enhancing perception, learning how to feel more. With this, we return to the reality of Life that often gets smudged by the everyday bureaucratization of contemporary living mechanics that cause only apathy, superficial relations and global warming - we are not interested in that. In short: a nice escape from reality would be a vacation on some peaceful tropical island.

What does the word innovative mean to you?

A corporate synonym for creativity.

Do you have a plan for the future? Where can your artistic practice take you?

The plan for the future is simply to continue creating, improvising, performing and inspiring. To become a better person together, bringing awareness and love to people. We trust the path that we are currently walking on. We want release some physical carriers of our music, travel to Japan, meet all the people that we must meet on our way, and play!

What made the biggest influence on you to become what you are today and do what you do now?

Mostly the people, wonderful and inspiring creators that we've met on our way. A strong influence were also some self-organizing collectives that we've been honored to be a part of, such as Transforma and Modri kot (Avtonomna Tovarna Rog) in Ljubljana. With the people there, we have created some great experiences - camps, performative parties, evenings of poetry and sound and discussions and dance. Wherever we go, we catalyze such happenings, bringing people together, organizing and making things happen.

How would you describe Serbian (Balkan or European-depends on where you live and work) contemporary cultural scene?

We are currently based in the Netherlands (Rotterdam and Groningen). The scene is very varied, everything can happen, especially in the NL, as there is a lot of support, respect and public interest for art. We like to encounter artists from other disciplines, as they enrich us with their perspectives and imaginaries. We believe this could happen more often. The art world can be pretty competitive and individualistic, which goes against our belief that we are stronger together. We are both a part of a couple different collectives that enable people to meet and join together. We float around different spaces, always on the lookout for something or someone that will intrigue and challenge us.

In which way does your creative process shape you or changes you as a person, if it does at all?

Dedicating our lives to our practice definitely completely changes and impacts the ways we live. We are open to ourselves and others, exploring what is there and what could be there. We are constantly searching for inspiration, improving ourselves and being aware. Our goal is to become better people and to share love with everyone, so the focus is less on ourselves. The music is for everyone.