Archive | October, 2010

Weird Ass Novum

28 Oct

Don’t wait for me! I’m not gonna come up with any solutions, no proposals, no promises, no nuttin. How could I, what do you think? Do you live the stupid idea that I write a blog to convince you? Are you nuts? I’m writing this because of pure and simple despair. Not because I know anything, not because have anything to offer. I’m not writing this thing in order to stay human, or in order to fence myself off the brink of madness. No, I’m very happily sane and normal. I hate showings, sketches, drafts, modesty! Showings are a cry for help. No to autonomy, no to DIY, no to management. Big no to production houses that tell you what to do! Insist – insist on the right for the independent artist to apply for subsidy. No to autonomy, be dependent, be without ties, but rely on everything. Arbitrary is already here. Be absolutely naïve and approach the work without the slightest defense. Say no – shout curses in their direction – - to those that consider minimal cool. It isn’t, it’s conservative, graphic designerish, male, Christian, heteronormative and stabilizing. It is another time now – arbitrary doo-ip doo-ip – - you aren’t making revolts by insisting on keeping it minimal, on staying on your spot – on reading Deleuze, or categorically not doing it. There is no time for revolution, no moment of ripe, time for harvest.

Fuck minimalism, it has no, nothing, nada, zilch capacity in 2010, and was never admirable. It was necessary at some point, as an act self-castrating of the one who you were not, but it was never transforming anything what-so-ever. No no, it only made the other, the dominant discourse look even more ridiculous. Minimal is the music of architects, it’s the music for those whose name is Francis but call themselves Frank, it’s music for hard on the outside and gooey on the inside (just like me). Minimal is for people, who when taking somebody home for a one night stand excuse oneself for the mess in the apartment. Minimal is for those who find it weird to masturbate fantasizing about things that don’t exist, or like fuckin a multi-vaginal mother dragon instead of a suburban MILF or the local plumber. Minimal is for selling: yeah, even if it’s boring, i.e. diverse, like a Swiss army knife it’s one thing and that’s always something that stupid folks find appealing. Minimal is for people that make fresh pasta on Saturday afternoons and can talk for hours about their espresso machines. – SHIVER -

Go romantic. Go go go. Go Rom-a’n-tique. Yes, exactly minimal is for guys who won’t admit. But fuck them, we have nothing to defend, we engage in what others’ call shame. We don’t care if it’s kitsch, tacky, OTT or whatever we just can’t stop our fanatic tour the force into the depth of sensation, sentiment, atmosphere, ambiance – but fuck quality, never quality – this is about amount, immeasurable amount. Long live New York Dolls, all over the place. Embarrassing and overwhelming. Nothing well balanced, tempered, sympathetic, dramaturgically correct – “continuous transformation” who the hell invented that. Oh no, don’t misunderstand me – - continuous transformation is like secretly believing in God but cursing him on a daily basis. Continuous transformation is like being afraid of the dramaturge abandoning ship. Nothing with those sexy attributes will ever make into any best of… except mediocre. Nothing of such will make it into contemporary. What’s contemporary dance? What you are talking about, there is none! And if there were you wouldn’t recognize it. You know, just like Andy Warhol insisted on wanting to be a machine but obsessed about being human, minimalism is precisely the same gööööö gesture, actually desperately affirming life. Stop that, no it’s not a time to convert to some belief system, there is only one solution: to become a Finnish science-fiction writer called Hannu – and how easy is that?

Dance is not about the affirmation of life, not about the pleasure of investing in the endless possibilities of a join. And btw stop talking about modernism with that double tone, like as if it was the time when everything was so great but you can’t allow yourself. Just adore it, worship it. Stop that astanga shit you are up to and go modernism. Be a sucker for modernism, but not for what it was but for what it can make us now. Don’t look back, never! Bring the back-up to speed, here and now, face the future and take off your glasses. Fuckin’ drop em, it’s getting hot in here. Round asses, wet hair. Be a romantic and change the word, be a sucker for modernism and stay dirty. It’s only Zizek that considers Deleuze pre-Felix work misunderstood and for the wrong reason. We roll around in it searching for the G-spot and we refuse duos, couple dance and submit to Artaud without a second’s consideration of Derrida. And we are totally obsessed with materiality as much as we despise architecture. That’s were incommensurability lays dormant, our job is just to mess it up. Let’s go out there into the desert and lateralize – - we live like foxes [avoid the wolves, they epitomize the flock] and move like swarms. We are men without bodies, tentacles attached directly to our heads, we live with the octopuses of the sand – digging canals, organizing new surfaces, we are problematised ontology: unthinkable without surprise. We are very very old, ancient like smoke: weird ass novum.

Social Democratic Dance

27 Oct

The opening scene in how many Hollywood movies when the protagonist is released from prison. We se him walking corridors moving towards freedom, a brief halt when some dumb ass looking guard returns his now historical possessions (please, nothing with sexual connotations), a watch, a mobile phone… and then he is standing there outside the gates smelling the air of liberty and we know this movie will be so boring, so shit boring whatever it is Hudson Hawk, something featuring Ice T or Steve McQueen, Wall Street, perhaps George Clooney can get away with it – but only once – We know it’s just a detour, a ride around the block and the dude will of course not do anything else than run the same course again and again. So tiring, so embarrassingly tiring. Don’t do comebacks, it’s no sexy – SVP – you are not worth it, and your fans don’t need you resurrected, stay dead and enjoy it. New versions, is so uncool, don’t build your celeb status on already earned graces. Buy in to super bad, start from scratch, from the freakin beginning.

The release scene could be understood as metaphor for choreography. This is how we do it, we get out and start again as if nothing had happened. We adore our sentence, and serve our time real well so we get released in advance, and then we continue doing more of the same. We are so eager to get back in the saddle that we don’t waste a second on rethinking. “-Have to make piece! Have to make piece, new piece!” – we stutter like some Frankenstein’s monster, and it’s just a matter about days, hours, minutes, seconds, instants and we are back in the can again.
Choreography is like contemporary social democracy – the very epitome of stability, self-pity and self-glorification. Choreography is: “-Oups we lost the election, like major, what we can do? Let’s not change anything at all and put all our savings on a deus ex machina.” Oh, yeah, we know that politics is theatre but does it really have to be Greek theatre, look what happened to their economy? Social democracy a curse from day one – as long as it lasted it was a brilliant answer to the sanded down reality of democracy – but today, it’s not even a joke, not even a Dutch choreography, not even in line with a German dance festival.

In the social democratic HQ, “-Hey Guys, anybody have an idea of an argument to build a decent opposition?” Silence… More silence… Really a lot more silence. “-Yeah, I have one… this one is good.” “-Tell us, tell us…” “-Ok, here it comes: the others are wrong!” And the social democrats celebrated all night long. Bright idea! Let’s build a future on the motivation that the others are wrong. But shit we forget what the alternative is, they’re just wrong. Very wrong, and more taxes preferably and more money to retired people. Total absence of vision. Same story with choreography, let’s change nothing at all, and by the way the others are really wrong, i.e. everybody who have just a tiny bit of a different ambition. However, in dance and choreography the situation is even worse than in politics, as the guardians of the system – whatever the system could be called – are also faithful social democrats. And this is a mysterious thing, in dance and choreography everybody is against everything and yet it’s the liberals that are in parliament, or perhaps the parliament is empty we just didn’t check. Because, even if we could get out of our precarious situation we are fuckin happy with the comfort position, playing the underdog that knows he will never get the chance to run the country.

But perhaps it all started with Pina Bausch. The bitch from Wuppertal is the Vater der Nation, that royal social democrat that made things livable, danceable or something -eable and now we all live in a scabby utopia cut of a second rate Guy Ritchie movie with Brad retouched. So lame. Ingmar Bergman wasn’t cool, Liv Ullmann no thanks, “Scenes From A Marriage” however am-a-zing television it might be renounce it, curse it, voodoo the shit out of it. Spit on Bergman like you spit on Woody, spit on social democracy with the same diabolic energy as you spit on the Freud House. Send social democracy and choreography to eternal life on Maresfield Gardens, to breathe the pestilent stench of Berggasse. And that’s obviously where the prison scene comes back – the moment when Gordon Gekko exited he could as well exited psychoanalysis becoming a well-behaving social democrat again. Demand life, no chance of release. Demand lifetime.

It’s pretty much amazing, not only are social democrats curiously lousy in producing opposition. When the Swedish losers of red and green coalition today put out their alternative budget to the one proposed by the winners they proposed a something so void of potentiality, vision, ambition, desire, life, prophecy, cool, sexy, attitude that even their most devoted fans cried all the way til afternoon tea. This is choreography: since it didn’t work last year let’s try one more time.

No, certainly not. I’m totally convinced about choreography. It’s my cup of tea, it’s what I do for a living, it’s the way I live, it’s the print on my damn socks, the name of my dog, fuck you too – I dig it, and I’m surprised – group dynamics I guess – but how come that choreography hasn’t spiced up its self-image since the invention of gun powder. Get it, nobody fancies liberal politics. It’s like French cuisine in Manchester, like Veuve Clicquot in a paper cup – exactly – great but for the wrong reason. The sole reason why liberals have any chance in Europe today is simply because they are funkier than the grey sauce of cemented rhetoric that has opened up a disco on the leftwing – yes, absolutely non alcohol – totally – what were you thinking. Choreography today is so free from risk that it can but lose and on knock out. Or in other words, social democracy is as groovy as the New York dance scene.
Who the fuck does the branding for the social democratic parties around Europe? A laid off dramaturge with two weeks course in graphic design financed by they unemployment office? Or is it the same agency that does the marketing for all the seven hundred and ninety six black box theatres in Europe including Tanz im August, oh I get it. Yeah, cool. For Christs sake PAF has a better campaign. I’m not saying that dance and choreography is about marketing and simply attitude but check it out, that does not say that we should practice politics as if a marching band was the only marketing instrument around. We won’t win with a bunch of clarinets, dude.

Barely a month ago social democracy lost the Swedish election with bigger numbers than ever before, what do they do? Yes, it’s the second lose in a row, never happened before, so what do they do? They proudly announce to the population that they trust the party leader and are convinced that next time… What the fuck, what do you think, that the greyest woman in the history of mankind suddenly will start to groove like Beyoncé or go as angry as Pink, nope – it’s more likely she will sing another duet with Rod Stewart or start a barbershop ensemble with “We Shall Overcome” as the newest hit. What kind of music did you use for you last piece? Oh, another really interesting minimal techno collection. Sexy!

So we know we are fucked, what do we do? Yeah good idea, we hook up with the green party and the leftovers of the communist party and since we are so totally convinced about our own excellence we are completely unprepared and the first thing that happens is that we dive head first into the wall of more, less, more, less, a lot, a little, more, most, less, nothing, taxes, climate, jobs, taxes and are still convinced that we will win the election without a single element of consensus. No way, I totally don’t argue for consensus as the mode of collaboration, but for the love of Satan get real and don’t make a scene on direct television. If you don’t know how to open your mouth, or even say your name, select one person to talk for the whole orchestra. No, the left is so keen to govern the country and so convinced of themselves that they will of course collaborate but will not change their policy for anything. Soon soon soon, you will see – like an eruption communism (which is a word that the left has already forgotten) will flourish and we will bring back the world to justice, good tone and public space is public space and only one television channel. Long live…

Communists, leftists, greenists, dancers, choreographers, festival director and bloggers get your shit together. What do you want, what is your vision? No no that’s being realistic! What’s your fuckin vision? That everybody is given a chance, yeah rule the world on that basis and it will certainly be brave. Openness, yeah – also a great concept. Open to what on what basis, to everything? Also a smart concept to run the business. You have no chance, you will remain small, insignificant, comfortable and not even laughable. Clench fists, stop fuckin collaborating, stop listening understandingly – take decisions, run the others over, show no remorse, ban house music, point with your whole arm, fire your producer, dramaturge and your set-designer husband. Stop admiring anybody at all! Beat somebody up, throw yourself headlong into the fight, it might be the last one (fights are rare these days). The others are not wrong, it’s you! So stop fuckin complaining and make it happen. Complain louder, loudests! Say NO!

Am I Back, Fuck No!

26 Oct

Conceptual is not enough. In fact it’s not even enough to accuse somebody for – in twentyten I mean seriously and fuck me in the mid nineties same shit. “-You conceptual…”
But I remember a worldwide choreographer dissing one French so called conceptual choreographer for making dance with only three centimeters of the body: the three centimeters just above a human being’s eyebrows. Probably the only time that that choreographer, or rather, theatre-maker with dance routines, said something funny. And – - I think it is funny for two reasons, the obvious one that it’s quite funny as an accusation – Precise if you know what I mean – and second because exactly that accusation is so embarrassingly obvious.

If we lay aside the notion that all artworks retroactively gained a conceptual level from some moment in the early seventies, what does it mean conceptual? Uhaa, for most it means nothing at all, but is a term that shows up oscillating from being genuinely negative to something one says, that feels nice. You know, not that I know what it means, or want to know, but it feels good. “-It’s kind of conceptual…” or “-Yes, my work is a little bit conceptual…”, feels good but doesn’t matter. Next time you end up having to talk to a choreographer, listen to how often he or she says “kind of”, “a little bit”, “…I don’t know” or “something like that” – and you’ll see that there are more works constructed to be connecting some “something like that” with a fair bit of “… I don’t know” topped with a French cuisine sort of nouvelle “kind of” and “you know what I mean.” No way, I totally don’t want to defend articulation, reason, coherence, inner logic OMG no no no, but “kind of” and reason is not dialectical, nor distinctly separated, they are, in dance and choreography, the same BS.

Conceptual is not enough. Nope, and what does it mean in the first place and what is it’s relation to “concept”. Conceptual in dance, ehhh – means absolutely nothing at all. At one moment somebody told me Hooman Sharifi did conceptual work – tadam -, but he has a dramaturge – - which obviously is the first thing the conceptual choreographer gets rid off – - Yes, of course in dance conceptual could also be interpreted as over protective, paranoid (in the bad sense of the word), hyper proprietary – - but you knew this – - so I guess in that sense whatever his name that Norwegian choreographer is indeed a strongly conceptual choreographer – - “-Why overprotective, what do you mean?” – Isn’t it rather funny that so called conceptual choreography in the nineties was totally obsessed with authorship and it’s relation to dance, movement and perhaps the body but oh no no – identity politics came later – when what conceptual’s first dictum was to rid itself of the influence of production, process, performativity and performer. Conceptual is stupidly male, totally defensive and the first sign of malign control obsession. Conceptual, obviously the result of a childhood trauma (spit on Woody Allen, spit on him), is the little boy screaming “-I can, I can myself” – conceptual is the residue of the child’s failed emancipation. It is also possible that that sentence wasn’t entirely serious, but who knows? It is also possible that conceptual dance never existed? It did and it didn’t, exactly depending on what conceptual would mean. Conceptual, in either meaning has nothing and nada to do with concept or concepts. Considering that a dance could be conceptual in the sense of representing an engagement with a conceptual framework, protocol or procedure, then conceptual dance never existed, it couldn’t – as such representation necessarily must disqualify time, at least initially or on the level of illusion, and cannot depend on climate, circumstances and the performers’ feelings. Conceptual in this sense is about remaining the same, indeed it is about consolidating the same, the self, norm and leaning steadily on discourse or even worse linguistics. But if conceptual means to think a bit before going to the studio and perhaps not just to think scribbling in the notebook about creativity and chance operations but to apply some repeatable procedures to one’s work then conceptual dance has been there long before the name was given by the author.
Conceptual, have we forgotten, is not exactly a contemporary term. Mind you, when it first saw the light in the museum it was more or less the fault of a small handful of people that in their insecurity signed up to structuralism in order to at the same time gain stability when modernism had lost its momentum and at the same time slip out of whatever kind of political/critical work, taking to the streets or supporting the revolution. Conceptual art was already 1970 a totally conservative blunder. Especially in the case of Kosuth and Weiner conceptual had only to do with language and modes of signification, whereas Berry and LeWitt at least had some fun. No Berry had a lot of fun. We like, but whatever fun there are only two options: Kosuth showing that he is smart and that art, beauty and aesthetic criteria is the result of more or less stable conventions, or LeWitt and Berry inviting the visitor to take a look at the result of some or other procedure. Smart, oh yes, but only to the degree where it asks a question without contesting anything at all. Conceptual art is bogus in the sense that it completely confirms the modernist regime of representation.

Conceptual is all about interpretation and has nothing to do with the production of concepts. A concept is something that negates interpretation, a complex of potential connections that evades localization, stability and repetition. Of course, the art object is immer inscribed in global market economy and has no critical potentiality whatsoever, but capitalism tends to forget that an object can be more than a oneness, but can also function as a machine. As an object visual art, dance and fuckin poetry has no chance, but it’s machinic capacity has yet to be thoroughly explored, i.e. the machine as object is inscribed but the engagement it produces with the visitor is not yet commodified, or it is – engagement is certainly commodity, but consumption of one’s own subjectivity can still be charged. Concept work, which is exactly not conceptual, in other words, is an art that instead of representing an engagement or idea, produces engagement, and produces it in such a way that the visitor or spectator can not maintain his or her comfortable position, that sets the spectator out of balance and disobeys criteria and quality. It is so totally not communist, nor is it liberal but it contests the very criteria of democracy. Concept art is anti-democratic, no, it just doesn’t apply to democracy – it doesn’t vote, and it doesn’t not vote, it fucks conditions. Concept art is an art that you can’t give an answer to, that you can’t reproach nor leave behind. It’s an art that is so not smart, it’s the absolute opposite to Maurizio Cattelan. It’s an art so void of good ideas, that completely fucks the idea of “brilliant” and doesn’t give a flying fuck about its audience. “-Why?” – - Aha, because it never had one, and never relied on one, but is producing one right now. Of course concept art is very timely, it fades quick and doesn’t sell well. But it saves lives, at least mine, and yours. It doesn’t postpone the crises but proposes the apocalypse. It is exactly enough, or a bit too much. Concept art refuses the crisp “simple” of a really good piece of art, exactly because those criteria in no way make us think differently, but just sit there and like it. Concept art is irresponsible, demanding, it corrupts and makes people throw up, it betrays all sides and has only one perspective – change at any price. Pleasant, no not at all, it totally sucks, but at least it sucks, sucks like Oh My Fuckin God. It’s Axl Rose, like abstract if you know what I mean. Conceptual is not enough, propositions are worse than pickup lines, and theatre is not about changing the set, it’s about – - it’s about – - it’s about getting the fuck over it, over it to the extent where there is no, and I mean NO turning back. Are you ready, are you a warrior. Unfasten your seatbelts, disobey speed limits, ignore customs and tax numbers – - Mel Gibson my man – - , betray all sides and be a motherfuckin dragon.

Speak Up

23 Oct

As long as you don’t open your mouth you can’t be held responsible for anything at all. To defend one’s silence, at least in the Western world, is piece of cake but to spit something out you better know what you are talking about.

But, look, this is education. It’s not class, it’s not nine in the morning. You have chosen to be here, to devote a part of your life to learn something, and this something is dance, art, theatre, performance – so you must be pretty fucked up, I mean you’ll never get rich here, never get anything at all. It’s work, and work again, it’s about getting your ass around the last bend. This is education and it has a job, it’s there to protect you. To produce a site where you can play, here we are one for all and all for one, and I’m Charlie with the angels.

I’ll never let you go, not until you decide to leave. So why don’t you grab the opportunity, why don’t you take the chance of acting like an idiot, why don’t you ask the question, why don’t you scream, “-Dude, you are talking bullshit”, or “-I don’t understand what the hell this is about, get real” – look if you have a question that’s hundred percent legit, and if I can’t answer it’s my problem. Check it out, learning, school, knowledge, education is not about me being satisfied – I get paid – you have nothing to lose, but everything to win, so raise your voice.

Don’t come say you weren’t allowed to participate, that you weren’t given the chance to express your opinion or perspective. Don’t come saying you couldn’t follow. You didn’t tell me to start from the beginning again, so? And why would you want me around if you already knew it all? We are here to produce problems, new problems, difficulties that make us think diagonally, make us have to fuck up. If you weren’t allowed to participate, is it my problem or is it you who should stop acting as a spoiled brat. You weren’t allowed to express your point of view. How hard did you try? Hard? No you didn’t, I didn’t see you take out a knife, load your shotgun, I didn’t see you getting blue in the face, I didn’t see you bring out a megaphone, did I? Oh, I should be more sensitive, perhaps even ask you… No, of course I can’t, that’s completely patronizing. You are not eleven years old, this is advanced level education and you wrote a motivation letter. You are thirty years old and take yourself seriously, you are in education but don’t consider yourself a student. You “are” an artist, and you ask me to be sensitive and offer space? Open your mouth, and make sure you’re articulate. Make sure you know what you are talking about, punish yourself every time you use the hide behind “or something”, kill yourself every time you say “I don’t know”. If you don’t make sure you know now and take the risk of expressing it, even when you have the support of an education, you will certainly never dare to say anything when you are done with school. It’s now you have the chance, you have no money, nothing to defend so why not take the risk. It is after all better to fuck up today, when you are protected by the thick walls of the institution, than to do it later when you will only gain the contempt of programmers, colleagues and art councils. If you are such a fuckin coward that you can’t open your mouth during your education, how are you gonna stand up for your practice when you hit the market and it’s reality time. Hell, the only serious students in Europe today are in Vienna. I love the idiotic action of occupying the art academy. What difference does it make, nothing of course, but those motherfuckers stand up to it anyway. And you, what are you, comfortable shit heads that so enjoy to be guided, so happy not to have to take decisions or just one or two artistic ones when it is already too late. You so don’t want to lose your comfortable position of sitting back being served. It is a little bit too cheap to defend oneself with and through passivity. Of course any resistance, any argument and conditioning will strengthen what it opposes but are you ready to give up the battle already before it’s been fought, just because the enemy will fight back. History wants to stay alive, so if we don’t aim at killing it off it’s gonna stick around stick around and contemporary dance will forever be covered in acne. Be serial-patricidal, kill kill kill and before you do it, stop sitting quite in the seminar, but announce yourself with a warrior’s roar.

And remember, you gals and boys in NYC that are younger than thirty, we support you unconditionally. Take them relics out, decapitate all the zombies of the New York dance scene. Spare nobody, and fight without strategies.
If you don’t open you mouth and take over, what’s your fuckin mission statement. Are you signing up to some Confucian ideology of honoring the elders? Stop it, Asia is nothing good.

It is my guess that, among other reasons, contemporary education have become so good in preparing students for established markets that they simply don’t know what else to do than to comply, be enthusiastic and perform criticality. It mustn’t be the responsibility of education to teach students to fit in, rather the contrary: the task should be the opposite, to encourage the student to pursue other paths, different formats to stop confirming existing markets. This can not be done by preaching counter ideology or by blaming the market, but rather through allowing the student not to identify with what a dancer, choreographer or performance maker is, i.e. to appropriate identity. It feels good and is comfortable to be a choreographer and it’s a shaky path to create ones own territory. Education tends to license the student – “-Well done, now you are a choreographer.” – but only as long as you remain the same. Instead education should give the student permission, permission to act differently and free him or her from the responsibility to confirm dance and choreography. Think about it, an education that takes as its responsibility to maintain or surveil a territory, it’s that similar to a research and development department that obsessively tries to create last years model.

A few years ago the French thinker Jacques Rancière contributed to the our context with a text entitled “The Emancipated Spectator”, where he argues that theatre is stultifying per definition and as a way out proposes an activated spectator, that without becoming a participant is able to activate him- or herself not on the basis of identity but rather in respect of individuation, i.e. expanding the possibility for what the individual can be. We should however remember that the emancipated individual is congenial to our present political climate. Emancipation for Rancière does not mean to be, or become more oneself, but on the contrary to contest one’s identity and what constitutes identity (in general) in our specific contexts and environments. Emancipation can’t be given, it’s war – whatever war means, but it is war – and somebody’s not gonna get out alive. So stop running around in nice Camper shoes and training clothes, stop being convinced about your assumed political neutrality [“-I just want to do my work, don’t have time with politics.” Jezuz], bring on your superhero costume and arm yourself. No, don’t collaborate, don’t work together with some leftover schoolmates. This is your fight, and you have to do it alone. Be a hero. Colonialist, take over, vanquish and do it screaming, shouting and forcing your way. Don’t stop. Speak up, scream, roar, holler, fight.

Opinions Is Like NYC Dance

21 Oct

“-Here we aren’t trying to reproach each other, you know, convince each other through argument. We… it’s not very productive, you know. We are… rather, trying to form opinions.”

The reason why Americans came to Europe twenty of thirty years ago advocating the importance of abandoning judgment wasn’t exactly an accident or misunderstanding. Oh, and by the way, tonight Spangbergianism is written from Amsterdam the centrefold of lack of judgment and hippy education [Ehhh, the centre of bad consciousness and Calvinism, I’m convinced it was CIA that sent these dance flappy improvisers over here]. Remember to spit on Andy Warhol, he was a fuckin’ hippy and supporter of stepping back in favor of indifference. Great business model, but how embarrassingly last Friday. Look, it’s not cool to be a fan of Andy, it’s as fucked up as admiring John Cage, or stating, after thorough thinking, that “The Bicycle Thief” is the number one movie of all time [Oh, obviously I think so…].

So why did they? Non-judgmental… Because they came from another word, because they arrived from a continent that was overwhelmingly homogenized, from a society that had just disqualified a handful of upcoming economies in South America and experienced ’68 with a pair of binoculars. They came from a time that had seen Woodstock but still worshipped Balanchine, that had seen Easy Rider next to Vietnam war, so of course they preached a whole bunch of go soft attitude things. Let’s get precarious and free sex. But only in the warm-up, you know already in the beginning of the 70s they all got constipated and moved, make their living on teaching, teaching and teaching even more. – - Fuck Vermnont – - The dance scene in NYC is a great environment, wasn’t it for a few too many of passionate oldies safeguarding their positions or on the other hand, slightly younger really mediocre people that maintain the importance of the oldies because they know that as long as they are there, their comfortable position is safe and sound.

Renounce Movement Research, ask them to not just stop sending you their newsletter, ask them to stop doing it to everybody in the whole world. Movement Research is like a family day celebrating vintage cars, a class reunion taking place five days a week every week in front of a five or six generations younger audience. If dance in NYC should have any change, get rid of everybody over 30, seriously. – - send Miss Brown to Montpellier – - All of them, producers, choreographers, set-designers – all of them – and everybody called Barbara – no exclusion. All of them! If you one more time produce a memorial evening, if you one more time do an anniversary something show, it’s over forever. And the result is Dance Theatre Workshop, an oversized venue without any attitude at all.

The non-judgmental that one day came over to Europe, and stayed too long, has become so amazingly hegemonic in the New York that nothing what-so-ever can happen. Also and of course because it is admired, we all want to go to NYC to feel the authentic and become artists. No, there are no exceptions. Whatever you say, there are no exceptions! No, you might think it looks different but it doesn’t, it’s just you who want it so badly. It’s all the same soft bullshit watching out for some authenticity, the same authenticity but from time to time punked up with some extra high leg movements or a whatever an identity dance, where the ballet trained dancer with a Cunningham legacy – oh dear self-pity – is doing some yoga inspired formal choreography with a plastic sculpture of Madonna introduced to the behind. New York dance is over, and the more we write about it – except me naturally – the more nice and bad, and critical critiques we write about it and the pieces the more harm we do. All you dance critics in New York, stop now. This is also good cuz then you will not be able to complain anymore. It’s is remarkable New York City can pride itself with the most provincial dance world wide.

Judgment is totally great. It’s absolutely necessary, and you can’t hide. The moment we try to get away from it, other regimes will emerge and dominate discourse, activity, feeling and sensation. Judgment makes production possible, makes differentiation capable, non-judgmental interaction is not about to produce no fuckin nothing except the sensation, but only in the beginning, of feeling free and creative. Creative is a bad thing, you are not imaginative just because you jump around a little bit crazy. Judge Judge Judge, and be categorical about it.

You wish to get rid of judgment for two reasons… Oh, I forgot the one about offering space to each and everybody. Are you so fuckin naïve that this is your image of democracy? Go home! It’s the other way around, democracy if that is even a favorable concept, is based on the necessity of the individual or a group to claim space. The moment with space is offered you and your fluffy colleagues will drown in your own ability. Democracy has one fabulous feature; it makes you feel like shit. What you produce is a feel good life where Bill Cosby will be President for all times. Judge Judge Judge. Don’t feel shame. It’s OK if you are not articulated or have no idea. If something is crap it’s all fine. You know, if somebody asks you to come to a showing or whatever, if somebody comes up to you after the show and asks: “-What did you think?” Don’t fall for non-judgmental – just spit it out: CRAP. Say, you loved it and talk about it for far too long. Stop being from Manhattan, stop living in Lower East Side, stop being proud about yourself for curating a little I forget the name festival, that present ninety percent local artists that I also forgot the name of. Stop collaborating with Movement Research and stop reading that idiotic magazine. Stop.

The reasons for why we don’t want to reproach each other, the reason that we don’t want to contest each other’s argument is simple. The reason why we here want to produce a little opinions or something is because we have no idea what the hell we are doing. Because we don’t know what we are talking about and because we don’t know how to run a class that is more then ninety minutes long and have no idea what so ever about what a workshop is? The reason for why the NYC dance scene is what it is, is because it’s full of mediocre people that know they are mediocre and love to belong.

Be judgmental and you will know, at least you will have a fight, or get hit on the nose. Judge to save yourself from release depression. Judge in order to shun critical distance. Judge others and fuck being self-critical in order to make art that is not like sleeping with a Celine Dion hit. Judge in order to be in time and remain too ambitious. Be completely unreliable, judge left and right, use inappropriate language and judge again. Anything that is worth talking about can stand an upright introspection and will not suffocate for being called shit, crap or stupid. Judge the NYC and you will, it’s so bad it’s not even crap. Judge French dance and you will see that it’s also quite sad. Hmmm, I wonder when we will pop into something fun? You know what, wouldn’t it be terrible to come out of every dance show with a blissful smile on our faces. What about if all those dance performance you have endured where really amazing, what kind of world would that be? A utopia of mediocre? One thing’s for sure I don’t want to live there. It’s called Sloterdijk, it’s known as house music, it’s called anthropology. Stand up, be a revolutionary. The time of the revolutionary is over, so over, and yet stand up for it. Revolution, com padre. Don’t you dare call me brother.

Book Late

20 Oct

“-What do you do with an e-mail with the following letters in the Subject field: “Urgent”?” “-What do you do? – - “-Exactly, you forget about it… for a long time, a really long time!” – - “-How do you react when the subject of an e-mail tells you the following: urgent, urgent?” “-I didn’t hear… / pause / exactly, at least until lunch you react on any kind of human contact by showing your teeth. If you still were human one could classify your behavior as seriously pissed off, a kind of Samuel L Jackson ’98 pissed if you know what I mean?”

“-Are you asking me about when you receive an e-mail with the subject: URGENT URGENT URGENT! – - You know what you do… or will do, and terra firma should just be happy it hasn’t happened cuz your rage would be devastating, – - so devastating that like the final episode of “Heroes” would be approx the intensity of a fart model Mademoiselle XXS.

A creature that responds to any kind of urgent, in whatever typeface, size or font, is either a curator/programmer or educated in Belgium. Don’t do it, it makes you a small person. If you answer an urgent mail you forever and automatically receive the newsletters from Olafur Eliason, Portikus and Performa with a personal greeting from Roselee. Any one person that sends an urgent mail has pronounced an absolute disinterest in anything at all, or at least in sex, group sex and orgy. Mr Urgent Mail is enthusiastic, positive but defensive and could say things like: “-For me, it’s important that a show has diversity, it’s important to give context and an entry point for the visitor.” Don’t answer the urgent mails, those that do transform into werewolves every full moon – - SVP – - if you only think about responding but decide not to, you might get away with a medium punishment – - a lifetime as performance artist with a passion [OMG] to cognitive behavioral therapy – - if you answer I tell you, you are stuck in causality. Doomed to action, dramaturgy and America. Urgent is an investment term, it’s another word for openness, i.e. an estimation of affordance, of investment. Urgent equals enthusiasm, and what do we think about that? Rot in Hell, you fat fuck!

FYI, Goldsmiths is not a good idea and anybody who use the word “urgency” in papers, talks, discussions, reference Homo Sacer and at the same time has a thing for ex-activists – - un-friend them, block them, erase them from your address book, pretend that the line is very bad, tell them that Carolee Schneemann is a great artist and spread rumors about that person preparing a show or book or interview series or anything with Martha Rosler, that… will be published by e-flux journal.

Burn your boats, and do it now! Visual cultures [in freakin pural] is as much garbage as anthropology is grace/…/ Oh, shit that was a fairly fuckin deep Freudian slip!

Anthropologists, at least after Vailala Madness, totally answer urgent mails, not even with a simple re: urgent, but they insert a new subject, a proper one, and I don’t mean like SUCK MY COCK. Somehow it’s weird to consider the idea that there are people calling themselves anthropologists. What do you do with an artist that announces an interest in anthropology, especially if the interest is empirical and sort of autopoietic. Well, maybe that department finally ran out of stock, you know the sort of performance artist that announces work like: not going indoors for a whole year, or – - Fuck me – - remain tied up with the boyfriend for an entire year without being allowed to touch each other. That is so embarrassing, it might create a system crash on wordpress. You know what, this blog post will not be available in China.

I’m interested in people and the formation of relations. Stop it, stop it, and please please please don’t do performances about your sexuality and your traumatized childhood. Fake it for gods sake, FAKE IT.

Stop anything that has to do with activation. Stop working with young people. Stop anything that has to do with posters. Renounce community art. Insist on closing the pedagogic dept during your show, even if it’s a group-show. You know what, you don’t need to pretend that you negotiate if you should or not do the that show in Dubai, just go there and leave your anthropology at home. Curiosity is not a good thing, for Chris sake stop making studio visits, don’t come to showings or some tiny ass performances in an artist run space. Stay home and read Max Stirner.

Subject: Travels – - five months before the show the mail drops in the mails box, with an endless tirade concerning how important it is to book flights in time. Look, do I know where I’m going the day after today, no I don’t, do I know anything about in five months. No, I so don’t, fine now I know… since you tell me I’m booking a flight for the so and that date in like another epoch. More importantly, who do you announce yourself as. “-If we can save a hundred euros, it really makes a difference…“ – - dude, fuck off! First of all, make your accounts, you are saving the wrong end. Get rid of the office, stop inviting Alain Platel, Isaac Julien or Woody Allen, and don’t think that I don’t know. Second, is that how you want to establish a relationship? – by booking flights in time. You are only interested if it’s booked five months in advance and economy economy economy class.

Friends of the family: Don’t visit festivals, shows, events, anything what so ever – - especially not boyfriends — that state things like: “-Oh but that’s very good cuz there is an RyanAir connection.” — Great, yeah essactly. Is that how much you dig your girlfriend – so much that you propose a visit with a lowfare flight and six hours busride to each airport and the flight – I forgot to mention – is at six forty-five. “-Oh, my love, it’s noproblem, I’ll get up at quarter past two and take the bus” – Good fuckin’ bye. But good cuz your partner will be so wasted and fucked up, wined up on Ibuprofen that your sex will be totally worthless and will fall asleep before you come. The whole weekend is a long waiting to go to the airport and again, totally the wrong timing, three twenty on Sunday afternoon.

Fuck Gatwick, Fuck Schönefeld, Double Fuck Charleroi, and whole orchestra fuck Beauvais.

If any of those destination pop up – CANCEL. And if this person is a friend, no he/she isn’t. – - If you still feel weird, send a mail to Frau Hundred-Euro-Makes-a-Difference and tell her your dog died, that your city was hit by a tornado, that you have to go to the dentist, anything. And I promise on my mother grave, if you lose some money I will cover your ass.

Parentheses: One more, how is it possible for a festival not to be able to wire money to my account. How, does it happen that some idiot in Spain needs me to send an official letter that the account in question is really mine, and it can’t be a PDF. This is great, and at the same time the same idiot has forgotten that I cancelled and didn’t show up for the panel on city interventions. – yes, this is true, seriously – back to cheap flights hell.

The moment you say yes to Luton your work just made it to the farmer’s league, the second shop, to the unemployment office, to an artist in residency, to artistic research. You are mediocre. Demand, Demand, Demand INDEPENDENCE.

“-Don’t be funny now, you know that’s impossible”, you say. Of course it’s fuckin’ impossible – independence what do you think – but check this out, it is more fuckin’ impossible to sit your ass down in a low price airline, with the autopoietic argument of “studying people”, and an urgent message.

Don’t do this to yourself, don’t lower the stakes to nothingness, don’t allow yourself to believe in what’s good for you. Don’t let them tell you how important it is for an artist’s career to associate with a production house. Get it, your gallerist wants to fuck you, your money and your super model girlfriend. You are better, cooler, sexier, groovier – - as long as you didn’t set foot in Städle – you are more evil, dark, fanatic because at least you don’t want to fuck your gallerist’s assistant, daughter, wife, brother, lover or balcony.

Be a fox, an urban fox. Betray all sides and book late.

Fresh Rigor

19 Oct

Make short and concise pieces. Write short and concise blog entries. Your responsibility as a choreographer or performance maker is to produce fresh rigor, visual pleasure or stunning whatever it now might be. First of all, a critic, dance writer, programmer or parent that writes, or in any other way utilizes such terms should be put under a stone and forgotten. Second any choreographer that aspires to anything of the like and doesn’t react to such terms by instantly terminating his or her career should equally be put under a stone and forgotten. Make short and concise pieces is the worst advice one can give, the most horrible condition that can be given. Short and concise pieces are approximately as rotten as the Bush administration, operating through pure and simple fear. We will save you from the evil other, but until that moment the assault can happen every second. You just have to do one thing, pass over all power to an interim non-democratic governance and it will be super duper. No it won’t, cuz state of exception has transformed into business as usual. What once, for good or bad, could be thought of as an energy booster, an intensifier that carried the potentiality of self-destruction, that could crush a flourishing structure has now become the cleaning man upholding fear as mode of maintenance.

Even if every single dance created were complete shit, critics would write about its qualities, invent reasons to desire half-ass composition, even come up with some argument for why Trisha Brown still is valid to present in a festival. The critic has only one job, to secure his job and produce enough mucho fiction for somebody to pay him or her. You are no different, what you fear is the obliteration of your job, and don’t come about here and mention calling. Even if we hadn’t already renounced passion, calling and enthusiasm you never had any, you are just doing a job. And that’s on the other hand your lucky day, since you are doing a job you know it matters how you do it. However, in this situation life and labor has so nothing to do with each other, only if we detach our work as dancers, choreographers or artists can we make up for all those years of an assumed prolongation between the body and expression.
Remember to say no to Jackson Pollock, he is the romantic leftover that brought the body back into painting when those modernist dudes were almost done with it. And then Basquiat – Help me, and now it’s not just the male body but also an outsider and slightly whimsical one – - (that movie, so should have been done, Julian Schnabel not entirely sure).

We should celebrate improvisation, of any kind and looks as long as it breaks with any connection between body and ambition, contemplation of the immensity of human nature and artifice. Only if dance and choreography breaks with the body can it claim the body.

Make short and concise pieces is not an option as the production will insist on coherence, we can not turn to creation for advice, we can not call upon the creator to terminate visual pleasure. As we know only the mediocre archeologist worships things brought out of the body of the earth: the fetish functioning as the evidence of an established relationship to, a type of transcendence. The real archeologist worships the earth in and of itself, he or she doesn’t look for arguments or excavation but organizes contingencies that in themselves operate as gnosis, a kind of immanence.

Use decay as building material, as architectural mess, only destruction will bring to end shameless expressions such as fresh rigor.

Dance Is Dead, Long Live Dance

18 Oct

The other season the national venue for contemporary dance in Stockholm advertised their program with a comparison to arena rock. Fuck yeah, that’s an excellent move in order to grant dance an autonomous existence.
The idea was simple. Imagine that what you’d see in the, so called, House of Dance would be as cool as Deep Purple, Santana, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna or Metallica in the football stadium together with forty eight thousand others.
First of all, if I’d be interested in arena rock then I’d buy a ticket. I don’t need to imagine anything to go see dance. Second, if I’m interested in dance and choreography the wet dream isn’t exactly grandpa boogie or four dudes from Australia with the intellectual ability to haul “-Yeah!” between every two songs.
It’s kind of hard to comprehend why a national venue for contemporary dance want us to reproduce an image of three generations of lower middleclass family idyll dressed up in fan T-shirts and etc paraphernalia, downing over prized beers from plastic cups and singing along to songs older than most choreographers. Third, who had the excellent idea that a venue for contemporary dance would gain credibility by comparing it self to the most populist kind of entertainment the world have ever invented. And fourth why would a venue financed to the last penny by the state high five with commercial event culture at its worst. That’s like a reversed cry for help, or like – arena rock equals contemporary dance, so why on earth support dance with tax money when you don’t pay shit for Deep Purples forty-sixth visit to your city.

“Hallo Stockholm! Can you hear me?”

Dance has for hundreds of years been haunted by history, the lack of it, and the nonexistence created by said lack. Dance is like a ghost next to other artistic expressions wandering the corridors of the world’s école des beaux arts like an anorectic Nicole Kidman, or perhaps Heath Ledger with intact The Joker make up.
Dance never made itself a position in the history of philosophy, except as a cute metaphor, because its ephemeral status, nor did it attract much attention in the encyclopedia showing up over the last few hundred years. Dance has been banned from history because as, Peggy Phelan wrote in the legendary chapter 7 in her book “Unmarked” from 1993, performance becomes itself through its own disappearance (softly quoted). And yet dance has, or so it seems, made an immense effort to get its ass into that history.

Yet, something is peculiar with the arena rock capacity that dance lacks. Not necessarily the humongous audiences or the amazing apparatus set in motion, nor devoted fans, hysterical behavior or even the massive manifestation of a group. No, it’s on the other side. Up there on stage. Dance has no Keith Richards or Angus Young, there is no half century old choreographies that make teenage girls faint, no concert dances to which father and son can groove. Damn, I envy those rock ‘n rollers the satisfaction to scream along like football hooligans: “Let’s dance, put on your red shoes and…”

But why is there no arena dance. I always wondered if, for example, a large-scale theatre presents ten evening with an established local company, which is often the case (Rosas in Kaai Theater, Cullberg Ballet in The House of Dance), why not, instead of ten performances with a thousand people per night, rent the local ice-hockey stadium during one night for ten or fifteen thousand people. Then somebody else, not so established, could do research on the stage or present an experimental piece.
“But”, you say, “you wont see no nothing. The dancers will be like ants. I mean dance is something that must be experienced live, and not through over sized video screens.” But is it really? How can it be that dance loses it’s authenticity and the experience its potentiality when supersized, when nobody seem to have a problem with Rolling Stones being genuine rock ‘n roll in front of a few hundred thousand people? And don’t tell me that concerts aren’t about image, if it was about the sound then why don’t you stay home with your headphones.
“But isn’t Riverdance arena dance?” Yes, it is but that’s not to be compared to Rolling Stones but more in line with Celine Dion or The Beatles on Ice.

I believe that the reason has nothing to do with experience. More over I think dance would be great in Madison Square Garden. It would be different of course, but why not great? No, the reason is money, control and power! If Rosas or Chunky Moves would perform in stadium venues the economy circulated would be something totally different, and the moment when there is an option to make money, lots of money, at least three things follow: 1. subsidy units would have to consider it’s support; why should tax money finance dance companies that can fill stadiums? 2. if dance could produce revenue a busload of harsh motherfuckin’ businessmen would knock on the dressing room door, 3. dance would transform into a commercial expression and thus lose some, or all of the privileges of state supported culture.
These are the simple reasons why even the most exclusively big companies forever will occupy the big stages but never go arena, and this is supported by venue and festival directors, because, whatever they say, their watchword is: If we mustn’t change why even think about it? It worked last year so it will probably work this year as well. Why transform when there is nothing to gain?

The central problem of cultural circuits that relies solely on one single wallet (The State) is that there can be no competition, no real lobby or backstabbing. Why? Because, even if my theatre sell so many more tickets, I’m still not gonna make millions? So why? And you respond: “But there are other kinds of people, presenters and curators with guts and ideology. People willing to take risks.”
Yes, there is but risks that only can take place on levels of variation: a little bit better, worse, more, less, daring, conservative and so on. Without doubt, those people are precious and need unconditional support (there are some in Australia), but since they are still running smaller organizations and weekend festivals it is obvious that there are forces in the landscape that prefer business as usual.
State funded culture could be compared to the legal aspects of arms dealing: monopolization and centralization of power produce obscene economical asymmetries and any kind of resistance or attempt to produce transparency is killed through silence, because everybody is guilty.

Yet, something interesting is happening. Right now, in front of our eyes. There’s a new kind of war emerging, produced through a different kind of society, through different kinds of strategies, different economies, elaborating different modes of ownership, distribution and accountability. There is only one problem, on a new kind of battlefield success will obviously also be different. This must be a success that is not recognizable and cannot be recognized by “important” players on the present dance market. However, the situation can be reversed, and to “our” favor. As long as new modes of success are not compatible with established modes of evaluation, it poses a threat to the established. The question today, is whether, and how, small emerging cells of activity, through informal collaborations, can nourish emancipation and structural transformation of what dance can be. Personally I’m absolutely convinced although it will cost, and today is when we start paying. Hell, if we want change there will be collateral damage, and this implies that we have to stop operating through forgiveness and “a little bit”. I say, fuck a little bit, if we want transformation let’s fuck a lot… or I mean, we are speaking about a necessary apocalypse, or give it another name: unconditional betrayal.

Dance is dead, long live dance.

When something dies something new can emerge, but if dance has no history, this means that either dance is new, like NEW, all the time, or is rendered immobile exactly due its lack of history. Is it possibly so that dance precisely because it lacks history cannot issue transformation, and at the same time because it has no history it cannot produce contemporaneity? Further, is the lack of history also the reason why dance cannot turn commercial, as the production of history is linked to ownership and objects? Perhaps we should look for some arena dance, not because we want to end up at the Wembley Stadium but because it promises sufficient stability to produce change, contemporaneity and commerce. Isn’t it weird that as much as dance mourns its lack of history, it’s programs and festival are void of any attempt to create it? This is of course not a matter of unveiling a history already existing, which would evidently consolidate dance as we know it, but to insist on telling history from the battlefields emerging right now. Our history, freed from historians and over weighted academics, belong to everybody and fucks history, in order to produce it. History is not behind us but something we create by remembering to forget.

Medium Rare Middle Class and Saturday

16 Oct

A few years ago I called the Swedish Embassy in London. Nothing particular in mind, but as a well-meaning participant in the cultural sector I take dialogue to be something positive. The next few minutes showed how utterly wrong I was. After introducing myself, it didn’t take ten seconds before the person on the other end exclaimed, with a haunted yet on the verge aggressive voice: “But you know, we have no money!”
The sentence echoed over the line as if recited in a cathedral: “But you know, we have no money, no money, no money, money…”
Hell knows from where it came, but I heard myself respond: “But that’s great”, and a short however excellently calculated pause followed (As I said, I have no idea from where this came.), and I continued knowing that confusion was rising on the other end, “Then we can have coffee every afternoon the whole week.”
Silence. More silence… and then… “What do you mean?”
“Well, if you have no money, I don’t see any reason for you to sit around in the office! So let’s go for coffee.” That was the last silence I heard from the cultural attaché in London, a few moment later the line broke.
I can assure you that had I been more consistent in calling embassies there would have been so much more silence and broken lines. Yet, there is apparently enough money in embassies to pay somebody to answer that phone.

Recently, in relation to a medium sized exhibition project, Tate Modern sent me an e-mail requesting that I, the exhibitor, should apply for travel support from Swedish authorities. I figure Tate Modern’s turnover is approximately three or four thousands time bigger than mine. Do I have an assistant? Christ, Tate Modern literally swims in assistants. I’m impressed, from that position you need a lot of guts to ask a poor artist to pay for his own trips. (I know, there are no poor artists anymore, but still it sounds better.)

The other month, performing in Sydney I realized, to my surprise, that my appearance was funded by Goethe Institute. I did indeed live in Berlin for some years, but I was never registered as a citizen or had anything to do with German funding authorities. I must admit it was slightly embarrassing to Guten Abend and Danke the cultural attaché, but thank God for Margie Medlin’s indecency.

Art and its practitioners have always been helpful for benevolent international relationships. Excellence, eccentricity, drug habits, popularity or virtuosity will always be subject for admiration, it is just the institutions, venues and audiences that change, or do they? Is what we today experience the end of an era when embassies and governmental policies will change, not because they can but because they are over? There’s still hope.

Internationalization has obviously two sides, a transmitter and receiver, where the idea is a win-win situation and everybody is happy. Nation to nation and the artist should smile both when shaking hands with the major and when receiving the check. Doubtless it is the “nation” part of international that has created leverage, and the artist has often operated as a bribe for more or less legit business (everybody knows that CIA funded exhibitions in Europe after WWII).

When embassies have no money and exotic is something we explore on Youtube. When the nation-state loses its position and cultural exchange is governed by low tariff airlines the win-win situation seem out of hand. Is it perhaps time to stop seeing an option in embassies and explore the “inter” in international, i.e. fuck cultural exchange on the level of representation and let’s instead see how artists produce agency because they are all over the place. Not necessarily due exhibitions, performances or readings but because they are there, creating long term relationships on grass root levels.

Twenty to thirty years ago a few creative managers in the cultural sector realized that art could be understood as an export product. They mimicked business propositions used by commerce and engaged in a sort of cultural colonialism. What if not Belgium was one of the first, repeating the crusade they started in Africa some hundred years earlier? Monopolization appeared through the set up, in particular, of European net works, not only in respect of distributing national products but also through the handling of other countries pearls of cultural production. Wasn’t that exactly what happened during, and just after the iron curtain fell. Artists and groups first from Balkan and then further east ware, so to say, bought by European managers and toured with out reservation on the European market. But as much as IT-business had to over heat so did the hysterical touring and use of Balkan based artists and groups. After a few years nobody wanted to know anything about the now over explored newcomers in the European friendship. A colleague from Zagreb once told me: “French, German or Belgian groups are programmed every year. We were top of the food chain for one, possibly two seasons. Now we have to wait another decade for the next summer of love”. Quite clever deception: we bring you aboard in order to make sure you don’t make any fuzz, and business as usual. The Belgian dance group “Rosas” visited ImpulsTanz in Vienna for the seventeenth summer in a row in 2009.

It however appears that supporting international touring of larger and established artists and groups lack efficiency. Not only does it cost a lot of money, the amount and quality of exchange is minimal. Those companies tend to utilize the fast-in fast-out scheme which implies close to zero exchange, if what we mean with exchange is something more than the hour on stage in a state funded venue somewhere, and the obligatory review in the local newspapers. This model of exchange is based on the notion of lack of information. Elaborated through fax and fixed lines, when Brussels was far away and Madrid was next to the end of the world, when a copy of the season program for Kaai theater or Theater am Turm was hard currency. Today Brussels, Berlin and Bratislava is more or less one and the same, for years connected through residency programs, dance platforms, EU collaborations and more cheap airlines. If we like it or not the national part is passé, today its all about inter, which in short is to say: success is equal to having as many players active, as much as possible, in as many contexts as possible, all the time. What matters are personal relations, not to ship cultural heritage in the form of products from capital to capital. What counts is to be there, in the workshops, residencies, collaborations, impro jams, breakfasts, seminars, dinner parties, magazines, summer universities, parties, beds, informal networks and so on.

This is not a tendency but correlative to general transformations of society towards post-Fordist production. It is no longer products and their circulation that is key, it is organization and management that counts. It is no longer about selling many of the same, as the good old T-Ford, but selling a few of many, like Amazon or Google. This is sustainability today, small entities everywhere. Swarm intelligence in front of flagship cultural export.

Moreover it is all about openness and sharing. How does it come that major choreographers never give workshops or hang around and exchange with the local community for some days before of after their performances. It isn’t because they are so busy or have board meetings to attend. It is because of priority. Or rather, it is because these artists and choreographers live on a romantic notion of secrecy or even mystery. At best an audition but a workshop never. The Grand artist is supposed to be super-human. The brilliant artist and choreographer today, however, is the one that sticks around and engage in the local context, that produces desire for more and further encounters, not the ones to be admired and put on a pedestal. Transparency, sharing and personal engagement is the name of the game called neo-liberalism.

It is our job, the artists, to speak up and stand tall, and convince our funding agencies that touring is over, especially for the countries that weren’t part of the initial internationalization. It is a waste of time and resources to try to win a position in the international touring circuit. The business is dead and newcomers will forever be patronized. Only if we invent new and contemporary strategies for international engagement will performing arts have a change to flourish. The fees might be smaller but they will last longer and I tell you, we will be immune to the cathedral echo “no money, no money”. We won’t even hear it, because we don’t need the money, we wont need the ignorant, white wine soaked smile of cultural attachés with zero knowledge of our beings and doings.

So let’s skip the nation and work on the inter. Why stick to funding our own crew when we can support knowledge and research intensive projects and relationships diagonally across boarders. Let’s put a stop to the vertical funding mechanisms operating in favor of the Nation and the already established, and instead engage in small, personal, temporal and dynamic collaborations.
This is the time of cognitive capitalism and who has the knowledge? We do!

Fuck Your Circumstances

14 Oct

We all agree to the idea that art, whatever expression, reflects its mode of production. You make your work in a studio that’s twelve by twelve and you will inevitably make twelve by twelve art. The moment you close the door behind you and start creating, you will make work that is not exactly open, transparent or inviting. Set up a process of three months and you will obviously make a three months process work. Thus, if you don’t want to make work that looks like Alain Platel’s make sure not to set out for a five months rehearsal process. Or, if you don’t want to make work that resembles Meg Stuart’s keep away from video documentation. Seriously, if you from the start estimate to make work that can be documented, work that, so to say, fits in a video camera,  work that can be converted to some notation, or fiddled into some search-word story, your work is just not radical enough and already defined by the mode of documentation. Ban people that speak about the importance of documentation. Your work won’t be better because the documentation was high-res or elaborated through some fancy software.

If your artistic endeavor is supported by the state or not doesn’t make you more or less independent. The sort of dance that we do always belongs to the state, no exceptions! It’s always already inscribed in the stage machine, like where would you present your work if not within the atmosphere of the state. By the way, if you have BalletTanz lying around in your work environment you will do BalletTanz dance. I think it is a very good idea that you stop doing that kind of dance. Terminate your subscription, mega-loser. Stop it and throw away all your back issues. Make sure to erase the name of anybody who ever wrote for the magazine from your mind. Now! I’ll tell you something. You totally don’t remember me. Yes, I did. I confess, and I was even proud about it. But I stopped, or perhaps they just stopped asking for contributions. So your work is funded by the art council, and you know who sits in the jury deciding who will and will not… that’s the circumstances that govern your work… No wonder you make shit.

Dance and choreography, art whatever, is business. Nothing special, selling choreography is like selling cars, dealing and wheeling on Craig’s list or renting out your flat far too expensively. But then, if your work is resonating of its mode of production, aren’t you then making business dance. You are not making money but yet you are commercial. Tadam, I knew it! You run your business well, very well. You always send in the reports on time, perfect bookkeeping, and you make dance? Yeah, so what you do is a perfect bookkeeping dance?

Hmmm, perhaps not even dance is that linear, but watch your ass, before you know, it’s the accountant that makes your stuff as touring becomes priority and keeping the business together is your magnum opus. In any case, whatever conditions you work under, you have only one thing that should concern you. It’s simple, banal and hellufalot of work: master the circumstances and make sure never to fall victim for them. Make yourself king of the circumstances that are at your disposal.

If you have no money to rent a studio, stop complaining about it and spend the time working somewhere else. There are lots of big rooms in the world where dance and choreography can be made amazing. The local nightclub, the town square, the beach or the phone? You want to work in a studio because it makes you feel like a choreographer. Choreographers don’t work on the beach, surfers do. And you are so keen to feel and look and move like a choreographer that you’ll never give up your precious twelve by twelve studio. A space that you probably have given a name, göööö. If you ever visit the choreographic centre in Montpellier, you’ll know exactly what I mean. Moreover who says making work in a big room is a good idea. Fuck that, make choreography in small confined spaces. Make it in the bath tub and it might come out like an early Jerome Bel piece? Make it whilst you commute to work and it’ll be mobile work. OMG, people that complain about having a day job, and not blah blah dance – they make day job choreography – not because they have to but because they want. They are just so happy victimizing themselves under the burden of being a waitress. Fuck that, and make your waitress choreography, show some dignity.

Aha, dude – This is exactly why making yourself king of circumstances is a gargantuan enterprise, the adventure of you life, because it means you’ll have to give something up. To obey, support or whatever circumstances is sweet because it feels good, boosts your identity. At the same time only if we challenge circumstances can we produce something that will not be just more of the same. If you have a company, sell it! If you have a manager, bitch like you were Argentinian! If you have a dramaturge, fire him! – I say it again — If you have a dramaturge, FIRE him! – Two is not enough: If you have a dramaturge, fire him. No send him to another galaxy. He’ll be very happy cuz he probably also admires Douglas Adams, and still laughs about the tacky jokes about a planet inhabited by bed sheets. Jezuz. If somebody wants to make a book about you and your work, run run run! If you have a studio, rent it out – but make sure not to rent it to something dance.

So you say, but maybe if a dramaturge is such a bad thing maybe I should keep him, produce closure and hence make myself open to radical change, to breach? Might, be a good idea but when it comes to the dramaturge this is not a fact, because he or she is somebody that always operates vis-à-vis priority. Making yourself king of circumstances is exactly a matter of passing through a distinct closure, or perhaps even better the moment of mastering circumstances, i.e. emancipating your production from its mode of governance, you will necessarily configurate an open. Or perhaps, the moment of emancipation from circumstances implies a shift from multiplicity to multitude, that is a space of innovation or becoming.

Obviously, this process implies renouncing identity. To rule your circumstances will by default make you appear like a fool, an idiot, irresponsible, unprofessional and laughable, naïve or childish. Yes, emancipation, in this sense, proposes a certain refusal to negotiation, or a least a refusal to a change in the terms of negotiation, a suspense of negotiation until the field has been reset, rebooted. This can only take place by some kind of unconditionality, such as fanatism, obsessivity, non-provoked postponement, total irreliablity, some sort of humor. Humor in the sense of collapsing signifier chains: a joke is the deliberate formation of signifiers that at the same time construct consistency and incompatibility, that produce incoherence where coherence rules, or in other words that is both and and and or at the same time. The joke, the mastery of circumstances, opens for a space of innovation, for a space where the subject can no longer possess the sentence I feel, but is deferred to a position that is being felt.

We all agree that the mode of production governs the result, the production or product. FUCK YOU, not any more it does! Refuse it, refuse it. Just goddamn repudiate. And this, as you know, means one kick ass thing: BETRAY ALL SIDES.

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