Interview as method ­

— a qualitative method

See the qualitative methods in used in movement research following the links under:


Qualitative methods emphasizes the understanding of perspectives done through interpretation and reflection. The interview is a qualitative method giving data in the form of text and discourse. This data can be analysed in order to find both a context and/or to form a message. (Næss & Pettersen, 2017, p. 16). Whether it is a collection of interviews where several people have been questioned, a single interview or a self-interview, data can be sourced in order to find inspiration for an artistic process. The sourced information can function both as a catalyst for the evolvement of the process or a tool for creativity and direction.


Inspired by the publication everybodys self interviews, edited by Mette Ingvartsen and Alice Chauchat for everybodys publications (2008), I will interview myself about how I would like to use the interview method in artistic research, practice and performance:

Hello Jonas – how are you feeling on an early Wednesday evening?

Thanks Jonas. I am okey. Looking forward to see the performance Piece for Person and Ghetto Blaster by Nicola Gunn at Black Box Theater later tonight – a welcomed break in my prescriptive method writing. Hopefully it will be better than the last performance I saw there.

What do you think about interviewing yourself?

I have actually never done it before, and I am finding it to be quite fun. As you see, I have already answered two imaginary questions without any relation to what I am actually writing about – being the method. I really enjoy my own company, so I am having a blast!

Haha – yes. Maybe you should get down to it then?

I guess I should …

What made you want to investigate the interview as a method?

The last three years I have written several interviews due to my work with the magazine PS: MAGASIN. Today I see how both preparing and executing an interview ignites creativity and ideas that are easy to adapt into artistic processes and research. This is the reason why I would like to dive further into the usage of interview as a method – investigating the different possibilities it can assess. When producing questions, I am interested in how I can create meaning; weighing words and evaluating ways of discourse.  Usually I find a thorough preparation to be an important factor for how I come a cross in relation to my work as interviewer. A good interview relies on interaction – chemistry between the interviewer and the interviewee. How the interaction develops through out the session will depend on the chemistry.  It can either be very enjoyable or come across as flat or forced. I can analyse the way of the interview itself; how the interaction developed through out the session, and of course the gathered data.

What do you find fascinating with the interview?

Being social is an essential part of most people's lifestyle. Communication through meetings and interactions with other human beings are natural elements in both how we evolve and how a person's habitusis formed. A person's habitus will also shape how the communication is executed and understood between the people communicating. In this way, communication is a technique in the same way dance and walking are defined as techniques of the body. I am referring to Marcel Mauss' description of how habitus are affected and affects our bodily techniques. What is being communicated and how it is processed are coloured by codes and conducts (derived from and learnt through society), psychosocial aspects and state of mind, sorroundings and exteriors, etc. An interview is a meeting where the interaction and all the codes and conducts within the field of communication are forced into a certain format conducted by agenda. In this way the interview is a play with standard communication; both verbal and physical interaction, something I find very interesting. It is about reading the person you are meeting, assessing the answers as well as body language and gestures. I see it as more than just a tool for gathering data, and usually the interviews turn into very nice meetings where the interviewees commit and open up.

How can the interview method be used in an artistic process or an artistic practice?

As I have mentioned earlier, the most important factor for using the interview is to gather information. Facts, statements, point of views – data are shared to open up for new ideas or confirming what is already known. However, the interview can be used in several ways where different aspects of the interview gives access to commencement. Diving into a specific subject or getting to know a personae gives insight that will benefit a form of realisation. Creation of knowledge and ignition of inspiration will always be basic motives when using this method. The knowledge may be used in order to understand a phenomenon, such as a role, an emotion, a feeling, a movement, the usage of a tool or other methods, etc. The format of the interview and how it evolves in connection with the interaction can be developed into scores or become a study of gestures. There are countless ways this method can be operated in connection to artistic processing and practice.

Please tell how you think working with the interview as a method will benefit your work?

I am interested in the method creating paths of exploration in the thematics of interest and how this directly can be applied to the creation. Researching the interaction, social codes and the dynamics created in the interview setting will connect me both to personae and thematics. I know this will benefit me in several ways. I want to try to create a score based on an interview and use it in the play with emotional approaches. Using the interview as a platform to get advice is another way of use I hope to practice.

Can you use the interview method when creating movements?

Definitely. I am asking myself how the interview can summon movements. I forgot to mention this earlier as something I want to try.

Thank you Jonas. Any comments on using self interviewing as a tool for the explanation of the method?

It is both fun and challenging. If I was speaking to somebody else I would be more direct and hopefully not as time consuming.


Jonas Pedersen Øren 2019 — Oslo