Post-dance, an Advocacy

9 Apr


When I was little I was convinced that an advocate was a fruit. An advocate, something like an avocado only a bit less green or perhaps an apricot just a bit bigger. My dad for some reason had a friend that was referred to as The Advocate and I couldn’t for the life of me get him out of the fruit stand in the town square where we lived. So when my dad met The Advocate I thought he went shopping.

To advocate for or against something would hence be something similar to pealing or un-pealing the fruit, avocado or apricot. To propose an advocacy, under these circumstances, was just beyond my imagination, but it definitely had to do with fruit salad.

Here today I’ve taken it upon myself to engage with the forbidden fruit with a positive appetite. My attempt is to advocate for post-dance, or rather to propose an advocacy for it, if that is even possible in the English language. It seems namely that post-dance, without asking for it, has been granted a negative resonance. Post-dance is something bad that should have stayed hidden on some back page of our general dance history. So bear with me, because this is the first attempt, and the first moment when post-dance stands in front of the grand jury. Will I manage to get post-dance out of the fruit stand, clear it from it’s alliance with the fruit salad and produce an opportunity to understand the term as something useful and for the articulation of our future dance and choreographic practices.

What we know is that dance is no longer enough. Either the term dance becomes too convoluted and can not host contemporary practices nor its relations to contemporary contexts, environments, concerns, ecology (in its wider sense), critical theory or philosophy. Alternatively, dance becomes a term so wide that it envelops anything that moves and doesn’t resonate of fruit salad but simple promiscuity, which probably is a great thing, but perhaps not in the long run. In light of this, instead of some horribly approximate terminology such as dance-dance or conceptual dance that both seem contradictory, let’s see if we can shed some light on the notion of post-dance.

Sometimes I experience a slightly awkward moment after dance class or rehearsals, individuals that change their sweater and without having a shower shove a deo stick into their armpits and do what one does with such a thing. Now, deo sticks are of course great but I cannot help but to contemplate for a moment, in relation to post-dance, do you use a deo stick or any other perfume or similar in order to enhance who you are, what you smell, boosting you and your identity, or do you use it in order to cover something up, to hide, to cross something out, to vanish.

What about post-dance? Do we understand post-dance as something that’s supposed to cover up, to hide that dance smells really bad because it is sweaty, old and ready for the happy hunting grounds, or does post-dance carry the capacity for dance to enhance its bouquet, its delicate scent and give it that little extra that it from time to time needs. Is post-dance perhaps a blessing that can allow the fragrance of dance to bloom in its time, with its time.

Or turn the argument around. So far post-dance has just been an empty canister but when we apply, or fill it with the right dances it is dance that makes post-dance smell so enchanting.

During the last few days here at the conference I’ve picked up a vibe that the post in post-dance is understood as something negative, something that restricts dance from what it can be, or amongst the less open, what dance should be. Therefore, what I attempt to propose is not an advocacy for post, but instead for dance in or through post-dance. Because in fact what we need to do is to rescue dance from its historically anchored position, unchain it from its legacy. Learn to speak dance from a new set of circumstances, situations and environments and allow it to gain new kinds of agency that resonate with its being here and now today and into the future.

A tiny spoiler, to increase the suspense. Post-dance is in itself an advocacy for dance, however not as a means of making it innocent (so that I can go back to “normal”) but instead an advocacy that empowers dance to be an active part of its past, present and future not only as dance, art, decoration and entertainment but as an active force or intensity in our societies, in the formation of social, human, relational, political and economical realities. Post-dance in this way can be understood as the inauguration of the moment when dance in and of itself started to be an active capacity in the formation of how we wish to live together. Precisely, in and of itself, not in respect of being a dance about this or that – in the sense of a topic laid out as a narration – but in and of itself, i.e. as dance. It is to this that we need to find a path.

This path however – at least so far – is not all linear, so what follows might at times seem not even remotely connected to dance and choreography but hopefully in just about an hour things should appear a little bit more clear.

Before we embark, a small remark on the context. I have been part of the Swedish dance community for a rather long time. Some twenty-five years plus. I was there when Dansens Hus opened their doors but luckily I was not there in 1986 when Pina Bausch visited Stockholm. Regardless of the number of years, nothing like this conference has ever happened here in Stockholm; a conference of this magnitude, with such an international audience. Although it comes across as a cliché, so many young and new faces.

This is something that I find extremely cool, that it is a conference, that however blurry and all over the place, it is strongly pointing towards the future of dance, a strong future for our art form. For the art form that we have devoted more or less large parts of our lives too.

When I look at the program I don’t see any of those heavy names that could be here to consolidate dance and make sure we have value, because of the past. To me this is a sign of health, of elan vital. Dance doesn’t need to hold on to its past because it looks at a promise of value to come. Post-dance is a promise, this conference is a promise, and a starting point for a great future, where dance finally can let go of its past, me included, and enjoy a new kind of future that starts with honoring the present and the dance to come rather than how it has been for so long— bowing to history and celebrating the past. But the future is big and generous, and it is with this in mind that I want to make an advocacy for post-dance, which is at the end of the day an advocacy for dance.

Let’s Get Going

Perhaps it appears strange to begin an ode to dance with epistemology, but as we will see, it is precisely in respect of epistemology that post-dance operates and how it identifies a fundamental change.

Epistemology can not at all be translated to knowledge, but its root epistēmē can. Epistemology is hence the study of the nature of knowledge, it is the study of knowledge, or the study of the possibility of knowledge. But it is also the other way around; that some or other dynamics of knowledge are always attached to an epistemology, which is to say, how a particular dynamics of knowledge operate, situating and relating to itself and the world. A certain dynamics of knowledge knows how it operates by elaborating on it’s own epistemology, and an epistemology further implies an understanding of how a dynamics of knowledge elaborates an ethics, a politics, forms of inclusion and exclusion.

For something to be enabled, to be given a function in reality, to be acknowledged and subject to change, to be located etc., this something needs be inscribed in knowledge. It needs to participate in forms of knowledge and is accordingly inscribed in some or other form of epistemology.

Now, epistemology is not just a matter of reason, rationality, writing, numbers and math. Language is certainly dominant and powerful concerning epistemology but any knowledge by definition involves an epistemology, knowingly or not, including the body, movement, dreams, intimacy, spirituality, poetry, carpentry or gardening.

All kinds of knowledge participate in the world differently, and the understanding of this participation is what we call epistemology. Science for example, in order to not mess up the universe or people’s health, needs to have a very precise articulation and clear rules in respect of its epistemology, whereas artistic practices can appear to have a less rigid one. Which obviously an illusion, it is just that the premise for precision is entirely different. At the same time, it is first when something can be defined as a knowledge, a somewhat autonomous dynamics of knowledge that it also must elaborate an epistemology. It is a sign of sophistication when a set of procedures, a technique or way of doing enters a process of elaborating an epistemology, as it implies a shift away from directionality toward the possibility of self-reflection.

Next to epistemology we need to visit another term, a rather heavy and complicated one, ontology. If epistemology is the study of the nature of knowledge and how in respect of this knowledge something participates in the world and formulates relations, ontology is the study of the nature of being, but it is also the study of categories of being and interrelations of entities that really exist. Everything, including immaterial things, emotions, memories, a bit of smoke, the universe and a job interview are all things in the world and are hence carried by ontology. Some thinkers believe things have different ontology whereas others, often contemporary thinkers, consider that everything by necessity must share a flat ontology, otherwise it’s simply not ontology enough.

For rather many years, ontology has been a dirty word and it is only over the last ten or so years that it has been claimed as valid again. Some thing is always inscribed in ontology in some or other way, but as we humans have access to the world through knowledge, through epistēmē, we cannot have access to something’s ontology, something Being. Nevertheless, the study of and elaboration of ontology offers new modes of thinking and gives way to the possibility to speculate on a world without knowledge, of experiences beyond comprehension. Further, the possibility that the body in ways operate if not outside so at least on the brink of knowledge, and that sensations, affect, events, energy and so on—however when we encounter them, transform into representation, into knowledge—that the encounter is such that its nature is not epistemic or knowledge base.

In fact, however ridiculously categorical, one can divide the history of philosophy in a similar manner. Philosophy in the west with its etymology in the Greek masters can be divided into an ontological and an epistemological period. The classical philosopher approached a problem with the question “What is…”. What is this or that independently of context, perspective, time and space etc. What is, in other words, from every perspective thinkable and not for everything always, a person, a stone, a little bit of smoke, history, what is a microphone for humanity and a ping-pong ball. What is something’s Being.

In the 18th century, however, something occurs, the seemingly elementary realization: how can I, we, humanity have even the slightest clue what something is, or what being or Being is for a stone or anything at all? Hume and Kant inform the world about this slight dilemma, arguing that philosophy could afford a little cheating. When philosophy asks “What is…” it is in fact asking, what is for us, or what is for consciousness, or better, what is in respect of knowledge, or the knowable. There we go, and we still live with it, the epistemological period in philosophy. Philosophy is a matter of knowledge and since knowledge doesn’t have foundation, it is not a matter of what something Is but what something is, is is what power wants it to be. We can thus say that the second episode in philosophy is exclusively a matter for the mind and reason, which, for good or/and bad, excludes an endless amount of opportunities and resources.

From ontology to epistemology, perhaps – and certainly  – there are possible new entry points or modes of contesting the hegemony of reason, rationale, and knowledge. If so, does that also imply a questioning or even the end of art and aesthetic appreciation as we know it? Because evidently art and aesthetics— dance, performance, choreography, live- and body art— is authorized vis-à-vis western forms of determination, reason, rationale and knowledge.

Dance Is Not Choreography, Nor Is Choreography Dance

There is a common understanding that choreography and dance is causally related, meaning that choreography is the means and dance the end. This is epitomized in the American choreographer Doris Humphrey’s book The Art of Making Dances from 1958, in which Humphrey sets out to comprehensively lay out choreography as a craft. Here, which that title makes evident, she proposes something like: The art of making dances is called choreography and dance is made out of choreography. The art of, could certainly be understood in the sense of being detached from art and aesthetics similar to the art of cooking, the art of motorcycle maintenance, the art of love or the poker, but it seems simply as if Humphrey has mixed up art with the artisanal. Forgiveness.

Yet, the art of making dances is clearly identified as choreography, and as mentioned, it is a recursive movement thus dance is equally made out of choreography. Choreography and dance end up defining each other like yin and yang, perfect harmony which is all good but it also implies that there can be no external input. In other words, there is and strong, causality between choreography and dance.

It is further interesting that Humphrey forgets to define what dance is, but instead it seems like choreography is the art of making dances as we know them. Or choreography is the art of making conventional dances and reversed, conventional dances are what you make with choreography as the apparatus. No wonder choreographers or dance makers for such a long time have done everything in their power to get as far away from choreography as possible.

Over the last 20 years we have, however, seen a crumbling of this causality or the marriage between choreography and dance. There were certainly dark precursors but it is first in recent times that the relation has cracked. The initiative certainly came from choreography, but lately, and especially the last five years, somehow since 2012, dance has caught up and is currently in the middle of its emancipation from choreography. I’m deliberately using emancipation here, emphasizing that emancipation is not the same as being enlightened or rejecting something. An emancipated person is not somebody who lives alone—that part dance has made sure of at least half a century ago—but implies the production of a new voice, i.e. to bring a new voice into the world. This is exactly what is happening right now, if I’m correct, with dance. And the great part is that it is happening in, so to say, the wrong places, in the margins. Even better, those wrong places know what they are doing, not what it will look like or what shape it will take, but they know what they are doing.

Indeed, there is a need for not just one but two divorces. We need to divorce choreography from dance and equally dance from choreography. However, just because there is a divorce going on it doesn’t say there isn’t love, it is just a matter of breaking the spell and allowing choreography to be something else than the mother of dance or was it the other way around. Choreography and dance are two distinct capacities and it is time to let them shine each on their own and together.

It is common knowledge that architects fear mess and therefore compartmentalize, build houses. But if architects fear mess then what does choreography, or what do choreographers fear? They fear movement and therefore organize such. Choreography, like architecture, is a matter of domesticating or taming movement. Choreography organizes movement. In other words, choreography is a matter of structuring. It goes without saying that structuring does not necessarily imply tidy, ordinary or formal. Structuring though implies the existence of some kind of system, code or consistency.

Conventionally one would say that structures are abstract capacities, and they hence need to attach to some kind of expression to gain entry into the world, they need to plug into some form of representation. One of the possible expressions that choreography can take on to gain representation is dance but it can as well be a score or an algorithm, a text or drawing, video, film or memory, and there is certainly no necessity for choreography to take on an expression that has a direct relation to movement. Choreography is not moving at all; it is when something forms a relation to a choreographic structure that movement in some or other form emerges.

It is usual to propose that choreography is the organization of time and space, but to define choreography in such a way is problematic, because what then is choreography not? And at the same time to define choreography as the art of making dances, implies that choreography is bound to an expression and in order for such a definition to make sense the expression must either be what we have decided it to be, or be defined in respect of criteria, but then choreography can never exceed its boundaries and change. A first step is to questions the and, that choreography is the organization of time and space. Choreography differentiates from architecture, which is the organization of space over time, by being defined as the organization of time over space. In other words, architecture erects structures that coagulate space in respect of the dynamics of time, whereas choreography instead produces structures that enables times movements in respect of the stability of space.

But this is not enough, in order to close in on what choreography is, I propose a different perspective, a different form of definition that bypass the essentializing desire behind any question including “What is”. Although instead of asking how choreography is—introducing a drama—our aim is to define choreography in respect of its circumstances.

It has been considered that choreography is a set of tools. That a choreographer runs around with a toolbox. Some probably do, but it appears as though a toolbox is devised for something. Humphrey in her book goes through her tools. A choreographer’s toolbox seems to be causal to an expression, and it smells pretty much like that expression is, after all, dance. Therefore, it has been proposed that choreography indeed is a set of tools but that the tools are generic and hence can be applied more or less successfully to anything, both in respect of production and analyses. This implies a departure from determination in relation to expression and the choreographer can, so to say, choreograph anything.

Why is this important? Because if the choreographer’s tools are not causal to dance it enables a shift from choreography understood as expertise to instead latch on to competence, which proposes that the choreographer can apply for funding for projects that don’t end up as a dance, on stage or not, but that the choreographer’s project is defined in respect of the tools used. Hence the choreographer can apply for funding for a film however it doesn’t include any dancing but is realized through choreographic competences. Or the choreographer can write a novel without having any aspiration to be recognized an author but as a choreographer whose expression happens to be literature. In fact, if the choreographer’s tool box is generic, nothing says that the choreographer’s expression is within the aesthetic realm; as much as the city planning office has a bunch of architects in the office, they should also have a horde of choreographers designing and analyzing flows and movements in the city.

Concerning choreography’s relation to education, this requires vast rethinking, not least in respect of what research implies. It seems complex to conceive of research in dance without either considering one or other forms of application, or that it becomes negatively self-referential – research of the researchers own expression as the researchers own expression. With this in mind it is perhaps interesting to develop research profiles concerning choreography rather than dance. Moreover, research in dance, what is it that e.g. a PhD committee should evaluate and through what criteria, if what is displayed is (personal) ability, not a proposal for a methodologically consistent inquiry.

A problem appears when addressing choreography in respect of tools, generic or not. A tool is always directional, it, so to say, knows its job and operates within realms of accomplishment or measurability. A tool is assigned a function and a function is assigned value through consciousness, or, a something that has direction can only accomplish what can be known. It can only solve problems to which there is a preferable solution. One can certainly bastardize a tool; use a screwdriver to make ice cubes or your mobile phone as a doorstop, but that doesn’t release the tools from capacities that consolidate knowledge.

Tools, with some generalization, connect to technique: an ensemble of tools that are coordinated in order to facilitate something. That is to say that a technique is also directional and operates within realms of success, accomplishment and measurability. In dance, technique is still central and the dancer is often training to master a certain technique. Many might contest such a statement and argue that dance has emancipated itself from techniques. I am of the opinion that dance has rejected certain techniques but that the understanding of dance and dancing today is still deeply constructed in respect of techniques, perhaps even stronger today with the increased impact of street dance, capoeira, marshal arts and improvisation techniques inscribed in the contemporary dance context.

Improvisation connotes motivations in the direction of non-restricted movement, a dance correlated with notions of liberty, even freedom. Now, it appears suspicious to consider that one should train under an expert’s authority who has developed a technique for how to be liberated or free. To paraphrase Slavoj Zizek, what improvisation in dance is doing is to try to convince the executer that he or she is free however she knows all to well that he or she is not. It is a training in looking like or moving as though you are free.

Technology, which evidently is not causal to machines, steam engines, Tin Woodman or laptops, is a different affair. Technology is not directional but can be understood as an entanglement of possibilities which can, in a multiplicity of ways, be given direction. It has no goal, no inherent interest, but is instead, at least initially, a neutral ensemble of opportunities. If a technique has already told you what to do even before you start, a technology is a reversed opportunity. If you don’t carry knowledge correlated to it, it is useless. Techniques are always prominently striated whereas technologies are striving to become smooth.

Can dance and choreography learn something from such an orientation, and instead of training the student or ourselves in techniques— with mastery as the motivation— can we consider shared practices deepening our knowledge of how to navigate technologies. This division raises further questions, technique appears to connect with expertise, or knowing more and more about less and less, in many ways a historical model of approaching knowledge, whereas technology instead seems to connect with competence, an understanding of knowledge which has more to do with the ability to find and activate accurate knowledge for a certain situation, i.e contemporary networked knowledge. At the same time, it is obvious that competence reverberate with neoliberal attitudes, which is perhaps not exactly desirable.

Instead of thinking choreography as a set of generic tools, that however generic has strong telos, can we consider choreography a technology, a set of opportunities that are interrelated but non-directional. If choreography is defined as the art of making dances, it can only be considered in respect of a question, “what”. The moment choreography loses its causal relations and becomes a generic tool it opens up to the question “how”, it becomes methodological, analytic and critical. Choreography understood as a technology initially dissolves its relation to at the same time both essence and methodology, analysis and critique, i.e. drama, but opens the door to self-inspection or reflection—and hence an autopoietic move. Choreography can then be understood as an approach, an approach to dance as much as to writing, to city planning or to life. If technique is to be understood as the way to fulfill something, technology can be equated with a knowledge, which is not a matter of fulfillment but instead of the opportunity to question, develop, rearrange, transform e.g. fulfillment.

If we consider choreography a knowledge, a choreographer is not, any longer, only somebody who makes dances, nor a person who puts together a book or makes a film, nor a competence approaching certain—which can be many—expressions into the world, but is the opportunity to enable forms of navigation in the world. If choreography can be understood as knowledge it becomes a way of approaching and conducting life.

But Then What Is Dance?

To figure that out we have to take a step back and return to choreography. As we mentioned, choreography is an organizing capacity; it structures, and structures have sustainability. Structures enable stability and hence recognition of different kinds. Structures are capacities that makes it possible to return, to retrace, and do something again. Any structure can be recognized as a kind of semiotics, and subsequently choreography is a semiotic opportunity and it becomes evident that choreography is languaged, which certainly is nothing good or bad but enables only certain opportunities. What it enables is exactly that that it can enable, or what is possible, also impossible which is anyway only the obverse of the possible. What is possible are indeed a whole lot of things, but it is nevertheless only that. Choreography remains in the realm of the possible and thus in the last instance consolidates the world, humanity, and life as we know it.

At this moment we need to make two short excursions. First, imagination. Imagination has been understood in different ways through out history but over the last 50 years, from the mid 60s, imagination has been understood as something we recognize with and through consciousness, and hence consciousness is languaged. What can be imagined, or not-imagined, remains in the realm of language—some kind of language—and therefor in the realm of the possible. One can only imagine what language allows us to imagine. One can only imagine what is possible, and not, but as we know that’s again just the obverse.

A few years ago Zizek used a sentence borrowed from Frederic Jameson proposing that it today is more difficult to imagine a way out of capitalism than it is to image the apocalypse. Indeed, if, as Franco Bifo Berardi, Maurizio Lazzarato and others have proposed, capitalism has coopted language, or as Bifo has it, that we live in a semio-capitalism, it goes without saying that we cannot imagine our way out of capitalism because firstly, imagination stays within the possible, and secondly, if capitalism has coopted language then whatever we imagine is and will be a capitalist imagination. In short, with the terminology of Deleuze, imagination is reactive, which makes possibility and choreography equally reactive and consolidatory.

And now, identity. However much Judith Butler is an unconditional super hero, identity, especially in not so scholarly contexts, and even more so identity politics cause problems.

We know from Rancière that “The essence of politics is the manifestation of dissensus, as the presence of two worlds in one.” which implies that politics, for Rancière is something that happens within the realm of reason, and hence is languaged, therefore supports the possibility. Politics is the maintenance of an endless negotiation. Politics is two worlds in one and always in the realm of the possible, which means that identity, when understood as politics, consolidates as an endless negotiation, without grounds (if it was grounded it must be in one world thus not politics), simultaneously within the subject that is never one, and between the subject and the world but it is always a negotiation within the two worlds, within the realm of the possible. The problem for identity politics seen through this lens is that it ends up fastening what one can possibly be or not, which is also possible. In short identity politics is deeply anthropocentric and passive aggressive.

Choreography, imagination, and identity are structuring capacities that reinforce forms of causality and determination that in its turn enables forms of power to stay in power.

So then what is dance?

Choreography is easy, it can be scary but at the end of the day, choreography is reliable, predictable and harmless. Dance is way more complicated and something, as we shall see, to fear. Dance is not the sister of choreography but rather its complete opposite. But how can dance be identified? Dance in the first instance, or should we say in its rawest, initial form—which is yet to gain form—is a non-organized some thing. That is, the dance that we seek to gain access to when we practice authentic movement, a dance that has taken on no organization, that has not been domesticated by any form of structure. If choreography is a structuring that needs to apply itself to an expression to gain tangibility, dance is “pure” expression that needs to latch on to some or other structure in order to gain sustainability in the world, to gain recognizability and thus be introduced into the realm of the possible. Dance in the first instance can only be experienced, but it is an experience that is pure affect and therefore situated outside the possible, or as Brian Massumi  has it, “address not subjects’ cognition, but rather bodies’ irritability.” It it is first when dance submits to a structure that it can be experienced in respect of consciousness, captured and reflected, remembered and executed again.

We say it again, dance in its first instance is some thing and non-organized, and some thing non-organized can not have extension in time and/or space but exists only in presence. It has no history, no future, it doesn’t have anything and certainly not identity. It is, in Agamben’s terminology whatever—but whatever it is is this which means that the dance is given agency—or in the terminology of the French philosopher Tristan Garcia, n’importe quoi—no matter what, and again dance is given agency. Dance in its first instance is one, or One, and One can not be negotiated, it thus exceeds the realm of the possible. Dance is not a matter of imagination, but some thing that traverses imagination to also conspire with realms that we can not even imagine imagining.

We will return to dance as One later, but first. Dance in its initial state is not organized, it is pure expression, but in order to be located it needs organization, yet dance is not causal to choreography. There is no causality between choreography and dance nor is there between dance and choreography. And this is where we will not only support the notion of choreography as expanded practice but also dance as expanded practice. Dance does not need choreography but can, to an equal extent, structure itself vis-à-vis other opportunities; somatic organization, BMC, therapy, disco, sports, marshal arts, literary structures or structures connected to manufacturing, domestic labor or quantum physics.

When choreography detaches from dance it opens up for new opportunities, to identity as a choreographer doesn’t automatically make you deal with dance, it’s after all a knowledge. In a similar manner, it is important for dance to liberate itself from the violence of choreography and iterate oneself as a dance-maker rather than as a choreographer, announcing that it is two different things. A dance-makers production doesn’t emanate from an interest in choreography but in dance and in what ways dance can, and differently, attach to forms of structure, thus, so to say, creating different kinds of dances.

A choreographer can obviously identify all kinds of movement or not in respect of choreography, but that doesn’t say that all dances are made to satisfy the choreographer’s notions of complexity, composition or harmony. And who is to say that dance is in ocular art form in the first place.

An expanded understanding of dance further question what forms of representation dance can take on. Who says that a dance artist’s work gains representation on stage, with a producer and receiver? Can dance as an artistic activity also take on other forms, such as dancing together, workshops, shared practices or other formats without considering them as practice that should at some point coagulate and take on a choreographic structure, or that a workshop has any other aim than to dance together and is producing specific experiences, and that is art enough. Visual art has gone through such a deterritorilization, so that visual art is a dynamic or field that is not synonymous with a certain form of representation or say product.

For a long time, dance has been domesticated by choreography, perhaps for so long it doesn’t remember how it was when “free”. Today, or over the last few years, it appears that dance has, because of complex reasons, political, social, technological and philosophical, become observant to capacities inherent to it that exceeds the realm of the possible, imagination and language however not in order to become, or connect to authenticity, nature or truth but perhaps, to something much more frightening however necessary. Instead taking on the task of generating opportunities that lie beyond language and hence capable of producing irritations on the body, affects that intensify us to imagine that which we can not even imagine imagining.

Dance Is Not Performance

In order to make things even more complicated, we need to make another distinction, between dance and performance.

Some 50 years ago it was urgent to contest genre and discipline. It was politically important to voice the importance of cross-over, inter-disciplinary and so on. Both in respect of the hegemonies within the arts but also in resect of life in general. When dancers insisted on improvisation in the 60s it was not just because it felt awesome, it was also a political critique, not necessarily in a direct or outspoken manner but in respect of the homogenization of what the body could be or do. It is no coincidence that Judson Church happened in the same decade that every other art form emancipated and insisted on liberties. But when we look at today’s situation, it rather seems rare to find an artist or anybody else for that matter that is not multi-, inter-, post- something, interactive fucking everything, participatory to the whole world and so on. To produce definition is not dangerous, it is not a threat to our already constitutionally authorized liberties but perhaps even a way of contesting and figuring out what those liberties really can do for us, or what we can really not do because of them and from there on use our fantasy to short cut them.

Performance is a subject performing subjectivity. In other words, it’s an identity performing identity, idealizing or disregarding, one’s own or a mask. Dance is different, and there are obviously endless gradations to be considered and celebrated, but nevertheless, by understanding the differences we can also understand what it is that is experienced etc. Dance is not first of all a matter of subjectivity. Dance is a subject performing form. It is subjects or identities performing but their responsibility is not to issue subjectivity but instead to, so to say, become vehicles for the dance, to become anonymous.

There are a few interesting consequences entangled in this consideration. First, a subject performing subjectivity or identity by definition remains in the realms of the possible, whereas there are different opportunities for a subject performing form, it appears that the subject performing form opens for the opportunity of the subject to consolidate itself as whatever or n’importe quoi, i.e. to exceed the domain of the possible and hence produce the possibility for a contingently different comprehension of the dancing subject. In respect of a subject performing subjectivity the spectator is obliged to confirm, also possibly through rejection, the subject, whereas in dance, at least the possibility is present, the spectator is not present in order to confirm or not the subject on stage but the dance’s form which is not in any respect identical or even superimposed on the dancing subject. Performance maintains and strengthens agency in the subject but only in respect of already elaborated grids of power. Dance carries the opportunity to pass agency from the subject to dance itself. To dance in this respect implies the possibility to learn from dance, instead of learning how to dance or how to be one’s self.

If we understand this distinction in respect of Jacques Rancière’s 2004 lecture The Emancipated Spectator published in 2009, we understand that performance defies the opportunity of emancipation. The spectator becomes stultified by being obliged to confirm, thus maintaining her or himself in the realm of the possible. It is obvious that the opportunity for emancipation can not be produced, but that emancipation necessitates an encounter with something exceeding the possible. Dance on the other hand carries with it the possibility of exceeding the realm of the possible precisely because the spectator, or implicated, is not there to confirm anything, or can only contingently confirm form, contingently because form exceeds the opportunity of anthropocentric epistemology. Performance might be loud, dirty, provocative and so on but its excess and abundance always remains within the realm of the possible. It is dance, however formal, that is really excessive and abundant, indeed because it carries the possibility to exceed the possible, also the possibility of abundance. Performance, however excessive, is a practice contained by probability – thus measurability – whereas dance practices contingent excess, an excess beyond the measurable, beyond reason, ration and fuck knows what.

My mother has a friend who every time we meet tells me how amazing it must be to work with dance, to be able to express yourself everyday and at work. I support her and agree, mostly not to upset my mothers and her relation, but in fact the reason to dance, for me, is exactly the opposite. If I wanted to express myself I’d probably work with theatre, pop music, slam poetry or something similar but not dance. In fact I dance in order to be anonymous, to for a moment be on vacation from myself, from that self that I’m obliged to perform everyday all the time independently of who I am or what kinds of inscriptions I carry. Dance is indifferent to who I am, and it is in that space of dissolving subjectivities that something can become some thing, and some thing is only recognizable, as Massumi told us already, in respect of bodies’ irritability.

However, we will not venture further into this rather complex landscape. Contrary to what post-structuralism, conceptual dance and a general semiotization of dance (hence we only have access to the world through consciousness and consciousness is constructed as a form of language, it goes without saying that dance inevitably is a semiotic capacity, and therefore “knows” what it means, what it communicates) suggests—that dance is something we “only” experience through “the subjects’ cognition”, I believe it is possible to consider dance to address a properly corporeal or embodied experience but we must take into account that this is not an experience that is in any respect helpful, therapeutic, supportive or in any other aspect sympathetic, it is namely an experience that is contingent to cognition and takes place solely on the territory of the body, the individual’s body which is not your body but a generic body,  or a body.

Possibility and Potentiality

If something is always possible or if what can be imagined remains attached to possibility, which is to say to reality, and always located in reality vis-à-vis complex networks of relations(an if always needs a then in the same sentence.. get rid of the if?). What then is that some thing which is not something, and where? One opportunity is to make a distinction between possibility and potentiality, though here we don’t mean potentiality as in, this or that person has potentiality, meaning it is investable or something that most certainly will generate revenue, but instead points toward the opposite, namely that some thing that exceeds the possibility to be harnessed by measurement, discourse, revenue, quality.

What is possible is in the world, it has already been actualized and is no longer real but exists through it’s relations. Something possible is always entangled, that is, it is relationally composed and therefore never complete. Everything possible is capacitated being two and thus subject to transformation and it can occupy different positions in the world as long as they are confirmed by its relations.

On the other hand, potentiality is not in the world, is not actualized but therefore real, however the price for real is that it is absolutely void of relation, it Is. Therefore, it can only not occupy a position, can not be located and further can not under any circumstances change. Being real, recalling Agamben and Garcia, potentiality is always whatever and n’importe quoi, simultaneously whatever and no matter what, but not necessarily strange. Potentiality is not a domain, nor is it a negative domain, it is instead a double negation, it is the negation of a non-domain, but, however mystical it might sound, that is where some things reside, just before, since forever and always, it or they actualize and transform into something.

Recalling the very beginning, we can understand that the realm of the possible overlaps, if not coincides, with epistemology, and that potentiality refers to ontology. Possibility resides in the doming of knowledge, reflection, transformation, extension whereas potentiality is the realm of Being, of matter-iality—which is not materiality and which is prominently non-relational, non-extended and non-timely. Add to that the possible, which is by definition contextual, individual, partial and general, when potentiality is at the same time singular and universal, it is by necessity one, or One, obviously completely without structure and pure expression, but again as a double negative. Just to make it clear, potentiality is void of representation but also void of non-representation.

Possibility and possibilities can be produced, just use your imagination. Potentiality on the other hand can not be produced, only the production of it’s possibility to occur. There are no guarantees, concerning potentiality nothing is secure, it can not be calculated, it is not a matter of probability but instead of contingency. The only thing that is necessary is that something or not will occur.

Is It New or Is It New?

And again a slight clarification. We need to make a distinction between different kinds of new. Our times celebrate everything new and simultaneously attacks the cult of the new, especially with nothing in particular except slow food or “I’m a barista”. The new is it and we are all inscribed in cherishing it, not least the artist whose job, according to for example Boris Groys, is to produce “unique” statements. The new is equally valid for the Swanlake that the Royal Ballet is preparing, even for the Marina Abromovic at the Modern Museum in Stockholm, as it is for Nicki Minage’ next hit.

We don’t live in a culture of the new, we live in neoliberal capitalism and as we all know it’s an address to the world that has only expansion in mind. The new is for all of us, but the new that neoliberalism obsesses over, at least so far, is a false new, i.e. only a better version, an upgrade, an improvement, always based on what we know. This is a new that functions within the domain of the possible, it’s in Deleuze terminology, a reactive new, which means that it consolidates what is already approved. In Deleuze we find a more prominent new, namely an active new, which is a new that is not derived from what is, from what is common, from what is known. It is a new that must emerge from potentiality, a new that doesn’t belong to the domain of knowledge or the possible. This is new with a big N, but what are the consequence of the possibility of the New? In short, the reactive new perpetuates the world or perhaps makes it a little bit better or worse. The New, as it is not part of knowledge thus having no representation, poses a problem to knowledge. Knowledge can not incorporate the New, and the result is either, that the New is rejected, denied, erased or knowledge will have to change in order to be capable of assimilating The New. As the New cannot be incorporated however, knowledge can not change in respect of what it already is, that is to the better, a version, an alternative or upgrade. Instead it will have to change contingently to itself. One could also say that it is not the the New that is incorporated by knowledge but instead knowledge that is incorporated by the New.

Boris Groys has argued that the responsibility of the artist is precisely to produce the possibility for the New to occur, and continues to propose that what the artist is doing is not to make something better, to increase qualities of life etc. but instead to make something come to an end. Briefly, Groys’ argument distinguishes art from design, where design is a matter of improvement (reactive new), art is a matter of the emergence of the New (active new) which evidently is “dangerous” as it arrives with the possibility of a breach, of non-calculable or contingent change. In short design is always a matter of politics, and therefor conditioned, whereas art, in respect of a lineage from Kant to Groys always is one, and unconditional.

Ten years ago Groys’ proposal would have seemed rather ridiculous, not least because it rhymes rather bad with post-structuralism, but today it seems relevant if not important to think and practice along the proposed lines. At the root of his proposal lies the potentiality for art to change the world. We can not imagine our way out of capitalism, but if arts job is to make something come to an end, it, according to Groys, must do so through the production of the possibility of something to emerge that does not belong to knowledge. What we further can understand studying Groys is that art, or rather the aesthetic experience—as we also showed earlier—isn’t an experience embedded in knowledge but on the contrary the aesthetic experience is, so to say, an ontological experience, which, further more, makes it clear that art and culture is and must remain two separate capacities. See appendix.

If design is something calculated, it means that it is a production engaged in reflection, analyses, critique, that something can be optimized, and that notions of manufacturing are implied. Art, which is not skill or ability, in order to be differentiated from design, must engage differently, art is not analytical and critical, it is however seemingly romantic, generous and without reason. Arts job is not to be critical, the artists certainly but not art, it is not reflective but productive. Art is a speculative.

When we use the term speculation we don’t mean speculation, as in the stock market, which is exactly analytical and revenue related, we mean speculation as in the production of the possibility of a contingent non-projective future. Choreography, as we have seen, is an organizing principle, which implies that it remains in the realm of the possible. Choreography is reflexive, analytical and critical which of course was one reason why it gained such prominence over dance, in the ‘90s— the decade when deconstruction still ruled and everything, not least because of Butler, was inscribed in meaning. There is no magic in choreography, which we indeed can see when looking back at the ‘90s and ‘00s. The magic is in dance. If dance in its first instance is non-organized, pure expression, can we perhaps consider that dance carries capacities towards speculation? Dance is a subject performing form, dissolving identity, resolving something in favor of becoming some thing. Dance in lieu of this is something that I can or not give attention; the dance is indifferent to me, the spectator (carries its own agency) yet becomes some thing, some thing to which knowledge can not attach but instead is forced to speculate with. From my point of view, dance offers and opportunity to speculation, in that it offers the possibility for potentiality to emerge.

What are to tools we can, what are the machines one can use for speculation to possibly emerge. One option is to hope for the best, dance around with a serious face and say no more… Or is here a recursive momentum? We must, because we have no other choice, use choreography—the technology—to enable this moment to possibly happen. Although since we know that choreography is domesticating movement we now need to reverse our understanding of choreography and use it to assemble an apparatus, that gives us the opportunity for a speculative dance. We need to use choreography not to harness and domesticate dance but instead to free dance from our desire to locate it.

Coming back to improvisation for a moment. Conventionally, as we proposed, improvisation is a matter of liberating the dancer, either from something negative in society—how to be human etc.—or from the hardship of choreography—Balanchine. But what about if improvisation is not about freeing the dancer, the subject, which in ways proposes that improvised dance is not dance but performance, but instead, saving improvisation dance from becoming performance, can we estimate improvisation as a means of freeing dance from us? And the knowledge through which we can produce the possibility for this to happen is called choreography.

Our most difficult task however, and this is where we need to rethink conceptual dance, which is always a matter of translation – and acknowledge concept dance – the assemblage of a machine that produces indetermination (both concerning the artist in the studio and the spectator in respect of a representation) – is to not desire the dance, or value it, i.e. assign value to it but to remain indifferent to it. This is an indifference that can only be obtained through an engagement with a concept. It is a difficult indifference to manage as it is far from being nonjudgmental. It is rather to also become indifferent to oneself, or to paraphrase Deleuze, it is a matter of becoming indifferent to one’s own indifference.

Aesthetic Experience

It is Kant that offers solutions to how to situate art and aesthetic experience in capitalist society. In premodern societies art was not separated from craft but this became imperative when a capitalist understanding of manufacturing, expansion etc. gained moment. If in capitalist economies art was not separate from manufacturing, how could it be that a, let’s say, certain painting made an impression while another one did not. If art and the experience it possibly generated was not separated from other experiences how then could one argue the value, symbolic or economical, of a certain painting, piece of music or poem. It was necessary to separate art from craft and introduce a study of non-teleological judgment and taste. Why do you adore that and I find it indecent, and how does it happen that we seem to agree on some things and not on others, beauty etc.?

Now the problem with aesthetic experience is that it must be autonomous and contemplated without interest in order not to end up in simple manufacturing and elementary determination. The price to pay for those two criteria however is that the aesthetic experience is one, and therefor can not actively participate in a political context. Art can not actively purport a political agenda.  Art, or aesthetic experience, is not something the implicated interpret, it is not something one learns from, or is enlightened by or vis-à-vis one changes opinion. The artists’ dilemma since the later 19th century, is that either art is granted some kind of autonomy but then no politics, or art is politics but then it ends up being design, losing its autonomy and all of a sudden sees itself implied in modes of accomplishment or efficiency. This is obviously what is happening when neoliberal governance instrumentalizes art, not just to be in the service of the nation or to be part of social democratic decentralization, but are keen to make the experience transformative for or in the spectator, or implicated. Art’s responsibility in neoliberal times, following Bojana Cvejić, doesn’t much differ from the manufacturing of lifestyle, and lifestyle is way foreign to Kant’s aesthetics.

Kant has been strongly discredited over the last many years, as his aesthetic implies forms of transcendence. Evidently Kantian aesthetics was a dirty word for anybody signing up to post-structuralist agendas. Within a philosophical climate where speculation is favored, Kant’s thought can be understood through a different lens. In an omnipresent capitalism we cannot not understand that arts job must be considered differently, as anything that doesn’t necessitate autonomy and disinterestedness immediately becomes supportive of or to capital, and art becomes useful. Arts defense against neoliberal policy can only be to insist on being worthless, without value, and as we know something always has value but some thing does not, and the emergence of some thing implies bringing the world or something to an end. With a slightly more positive connotation we can also read “to an end” in terms of Greek thought, where a similar gesture amounts to bringing something into existence, bringing-forth something and into the world i.e. “from” potentiality, poiesis.

Conclusion (Just Kidding)

Before we come to a conclusion, a brief reflection on what an aesthetic experience is or does. What is it that the subject experiences when having an aesthetic experience, when having an encounter with art? If art is not to be understood vis-à-vis utility or design but rather autonomy, the experience must be self-referential. I love this piece of art because I do. The moment one starts to explain why, telos or utility becomes difficult to keep at distance. Similar to love. One loves somebody because because not for this or that reason. You don’t love because somebody’s money, long legs or curly hair. One loves, full stop. I love you because I love you, capiche! And if somebody asks you why, just leave. J

Therefore, what I experience is experience. It is not this or that experience, what I experience is a self-referential experience. I experience experiencing. But what is that? Gilles Deleuze proposes that one experiences liveliness, or in more contemporary terms life+. Perhaps one can rather say, I experience myself as being a live, but not as my life, instead I experience myself as a life, or as we saw earlier, the experience implies to, with my own body experience a body, a generic body.

We will say of pure immanence that it is A LIFE, and nothing else. It is not immanence to life, but the immanent that is in nothing is itself a life. A life is the immanence of immanence, absolute immanence: it is complete power, complete bliss. /…/ it is an absolute immediate consciousness whose very activity no longer refers to a being but is ceaselessly posed in

a life.

Through my life I experience life as such, a life. The aesthetic experience is pure experience, it is always matter-ial and since it is autonomous, what it brings can only be contingent to life. In other words, the aesthetic experience, as Deleuze tells us, is the experience of potentiality. It is precisely here that art, artistic production and the possibility of aesthetic experience is important today, because the “outcome” or residue of the aesthetic experience is contingent to life, which means that it also can carry different in kind, ways of living together, of sharing resources, understanding property, being human.

Post-dance At The End

Anything post is something that makes every sane person suspicious. Post-modernism is dubious, post-conceptual art very, post-dramatic maybe just a mistake after all, post-porn omg very suspicious. But what does post actually propose, what does it mean? Post evidently does not simply mean after. Post-modernism is not what comes after modernism, something that shuns the past and with a patricidal gesture gets rid of legacy. No, post rather communicates when or that something has gained the ability to reflect its own existence, capacities and positions. Post-internet art is not an art that takes distance from the Internet but instead reflects the circumstances that art is confronted with when every art is reflected in, through and with the Internet.

Post is not rolling one’s eye “that was so bad”, nor is it something good but now without authenticity, or the seconds season. Post instead is when something gains knowledge about itself, it is when a set of tools, generic or not is transformed into a technology, it is when something loses its projective function and become inseparable from a context.

Post-dance is not something after dance, it is not in any respect choreography or snobbish French non-dance, it is dance and choreography that has detached from elementary forms of causality or determination, that has buried Humphrey and let go of the choreographer’s toolbox, understanding that dance and choreography are forms of knowledge that can reflect themselves. As something reflects itself it also gains the opportunity or necessity to devise its own ethics and epistemology—understanding its conduct and position as knowledge in the world. Post-dance is a dance that acknowledges that times change, that dance is not the same in a crumbling welfare state, that a liberal understanding of art sucks, that collateral damage is important, that dance and art is not marginal to society but an economy as any other, that there is no dance today that doesn’t resonate of the Internet, that its history is changing because dance is made available via the Internet, that dance history is written by the wrong people, that acknowledges that high and low is interchangeable, post-colonialism, performance studies, artistic research, the messy mix-up between practice and theory, Beyoncé and technology, and does it all through an emerging epistemology of dance.

More than so, post-dance signals a return of dance and dancing. Post-dance is the recognition of dance being its own capacity for experiences outside the domain of the possible as much as dance as knowledge, dance and dancing elaborating its own epistemology. Post-dance is when dance and choreography reclaim, and successfully, their autonomy and in a totally new way. Post-dance, therefor, offers dance to detach from being about something, having application—thus functioning as a vehicle for some other discourse or attitude—and instead allows dance to produce politics on its own terms, through its own discursive apparatus. Post-dance is when dance in itself becomes political. Post-dance is the moment when dance can capacitate the world not in favor of, but in and through itself.

Most of all however, Post-dance is a celebration of dance, the moment when we recognize that we can dance again, when dance emancipated itself from choreographers, and when dance acknowledged that it carries its own agency, carries potentiality into the world. Dance is something, but it is also some thing, not always already organized but it organizes itself. At that moment it also becomes something that “politicians” need to fear, that need to be feared. Post-dance is some thing that is not always identifiable, it carries its own weight, it carries its own weapons, it carries its own agenda, independently.

What Happened, Sherlock Holmes and the museum dance

19 Oct

Same day a while ago Nicole Daunic asked me a questions, a questions she asked to a bunch of people, maybe even several questions. Maybe she liked to asked the questions or perhaps it was somebody who asked her to ask them, at some point they showed up on a blog on critical correspondence hosted by NY based dance organization Movement Research. Here it is now replay on Spangbergianism, not really in the classical format but might be you just enjoy it on a Sunday afternoon.

1) What are the most potent questions/ ideas prompted by the recent coming together of dance and the visual arts?

Good question, is not a bad answer, but hmmm maybe one could elaborate slightly, though this question probably would extend into PhD-type size. What you have in front of you is an answer of all together three hundred and sixty four page, but I’ll try my best to abbreviate just a bit.

Aha, call me Sherlock, perhaps the answer is hidden in the question? Elementary—nope. No deduction, hawkeyes or good will help here. First, dance and visual art have been neighbors and engaged for a long time. Pronto, it’s rather a curse running through the last 100 years. It’s more like dance and visual art were in family therapy for a while and now are back in business, rejuvenated by some NY shrink that can hardly spell “psychoanalysis”. You know, the RLGB method. These sessions have been very good for all involved, but the question is: how healthy, sustainable and demanding is it? After all, the shrinks of art in general are frighteningly normative. And, is risk not a term completely erased from the vocabulary of the artist? But, then again, if it is healthy etc. that’s not really a smashing opportunity, since we know where it’s about to end—yep, in more of the same. However, in the arts in general, and in this mess in particular, there are serious issues to mind in regards to power, maneuverability, accountability, business opportunities and grand application, which somehow always ends up with everybody blaming each other—including me—when in fact what we need is neither backstabbing nor politeness, but more and worse badass. We need a therapist [curators etc.] that answers to nothing else than remorselessness and knows how to light up the BBQ. We need dancers, choreographers and artists who any shrink et al. since Papa Freud would lock up and throw away the key. No, no, we don’t need dancers and whatever that are complacent, nor simply against—way too easy. What we need are folks that don’t shy away from complexity and problems. The new hot cool choreography and dance in the museum is a fabulous opportunity, but only if it is taken seriously enough, only if we dare go dirty, you know what I’m sayin’?

And, on that bombshell [don’t flatter yourself, dude] an important question to ask is: what’s different this time, especially considering larger perspectives both in respect of art history, but more importantly in relation to our politico-economical reality? Only if we—whoever we might be—articulate a proposal to that question can this new affair grow into a love story. Cuz like, it’s not cuz some or a few visual art curators suddenly developed some dance mania, were so overwhelmed by an amazing dance piece, or even melted in front of an oh-so-fascinating choreographer that moved into a loft in SoHo like right after the war—and I mean the Civil War. Choreography and dance’s response to being invited to the museum is similar to having a skeptical, or shall we say, passive-aggressive relation to theatre, which obviously is a good thing. Luckily, Wim Vandekeybus will never enter the museum. Nor will Sasha Waltz or Alain Platel, but I’m probably wrong cuz there are certainly enough lost curators out there. Good luck. The choreography and dance that correlates to the museum is emphasizing abstraction and form, the rest is there because it’s good for political reasons exterior to the work itself.

In any case the reason for this sudden passion can easily be correlated to our present predicament: our society and its modes of governance, economic exchange and production of subjectivity, knowledge and power. Yet, this doesn’t mean that it’s all about the money, at least not first level. Already, here we bump into a problem… exactly, because this question—what’s the circumstances—is not desired (especially not by dance) based on the same equation that you don’t want to understand that your wife loves you because of your money, your pedigree or your awesome pecs. What’s necessary here is to reverse the fear and argue that if we don’t understand the circumstances for the emergence of passions, fascination, and interest, the affair will always be an affair and not an engagement, and this is of course particularly important when considering the asymmetry and hierarchical relation between the parties. Feel me?

The initial question uses the formulation “coming together”. Once and for all, I think we should wake up from the illusion that there is anything together in this set up and remember it is not visual art that is involved; it is certain institutions predominantly identified with visual art. Visual art as such is so not in it together with dance, forget about it. Dance is competitor of market shares. Pardon, but this is business and every dime that’s spent on dance is not spent on visual art or another painting exhibition. Btw, however important and significant certain artists of the past have been and might be, it’s not an excuse for always putting them in the show. How much Ana Mendiata can the world take? For godssake, Lygia Clark must be more important than Breaking Bad—how many episodes? seven hundred? She isn’t. Perhaps she could be if her stuff was digital and downloadable from piratebay, but it isn’t. It occupies space and every time there’s a Clark piece up and running, something else is not at all. We love Lygia but Jezuz, why such monogamy?

Okay, visual art hates dance and choreography and will maintain its condescending tone of voice as long as dance and choreography doesn’t speak up and go medieval on the ass of visual art or whatever. You know what I mean—tough shit. Again, it’s institutions in visual art that have a crush on dance and those that have it—they might just not know about it or are playing stupid—they have it not because of sex, but because they know that expansion and change is the name of the game and the key to a prosperous future. These institutions use dance because dance is something that can be co-opted, and damn this is not a problem, it’s even great because with this in mind negotiation can start. Check it out, we can turn it around so many times, but ultimately it’s visual art that came to dance, so who needs who? Exactly.

There is so no together here. It’s institutions in visual art that have approached dance. And, there is no mutuality, but total asymmetry: institutions against individual artists, factories against individual workers without a union. The situation most of all reminds us of a gang bang. Nice, and shit balls it doesn’t happen at the pool but in a grey meeting room on the third floor. But (and there is of course always another but, this is after all neoliberalism) but perhaps this is not about force or intensity, but about who’s on top. At the end of the day, whatever happens I’m cool with anything as long as I know dance has not turned into some sloppy bottom afraid of saying what it wants. Demands baby, demands. Who do you want to be, Miley Cyrus or, what’s her name, Sinead O’Connor?

Now back to the question: it goes without saying that potent questions should be avoided in the first place and in this case potency is different for dance and visual art, including its institutions. From the perspective of dance however… and here we need to make a disclaimer—it is not dance in general that is demanded by visual art, but only some sorts of dance (i.e. certain downtown NY dance with an affinity to pedestrian movement, French dance with a conceptual flare, certain kinds of assimilated yet ethnically challenging dance, strong formalism and Bill Forsythe (there are exceptions, but only so few, like somebody from Spain, Sweden or so).

Still from the POV of dance, the situation museum is perhaps first of all a matter of responsibility and value. Something in this direction, dance can choose several ways of responding to an invitation from a museum (and we are now thinking about exhibition spaces, not a theatre in a museum) and we are obviously not talking style, but:  Do we engage the museum with a piece or proposal that before or after can be adapted to the stage? Do we bring a piece for the stage into the museum and adapt it for a walk around audience? Do we make a site specific (Help Help Help) something rethinking the form, but not the tools or modes of production? Or, do we insist on the challenge, asserting that the context forces us to rethink our practices, methods and modes of production all together (i.e. to become beginners, to not know and, as a result, ditch or give up on notions of quality, give up values)? Do we allow the museum to change what choreography can be and do, what dance can be and do (which is not what it looks like)?

If one chooses for any other approach than to challenge dance, it is my belief that we should stay home and do another one for the theatre, and give somebody else the opportunity to make a show over at MoMA. But if we do, the museum becomes a potential capacity to make it happen, but of course it’s gonna be way harder and meet way more resistance in the dance community.

What appears to happen in front of our noses is that dance as we know it is occupying the museum, without a program, without a politics, except the maintenance of dance as we know it; of dance as an established identity, something to which one can belong. Authorities and institutions of dance cannot work for something else, for the already established, and in a sector that lives from support and subsidy, deterritorialization mustn’t cost, mustn’t transform anything fundamental, the circumstances for production material and intellectual. Dance mustn’t want something from the museum, it must instead allow the museum to undo dance as we know it. Let’s give the museum permission to develop all together new forms of choreography, producing all together different expressions.

Remember, to do something specific in the museum has nothing to do with becoming a visual artist. No no, as much as it is important to emigrate, we travel with one way ticket. It is important to remain a choreographer or dancer. It is in this space of tension that something potentially can happen, the moment you are identified as a visual artist, oh my, your life is so over, then you are just one of them. And, there are thousands of them out there and as a visual artist, you not very good. Remember, in the museum you are special, you are foreign – use that, use your asymmetries against the dominant regime, now that’s winning instinct.

But, but, but—just because you call yourself a choreographer, especially in the museum, doesn’t mean that you make dances (make some people move around in more or less defined ways). Not at all and this is precisely the challenge. When choreography and/or dance moves into the museum, the game is all new and it is up to you and me to either choose : do we play with old rules, or do we refuse to fall into patterns and do what we are already so good at? Fuck no, let the museum, as so many other places, open for the wkd.

Parenthesis, in order to move on we need a distinction: Choreography and dance are not inter-dependent, they don’t need each other, they’re instead all together different and even, when at best, incompatible. Choreography is not necessarily the making of dance, nor is all dance made through choreography. Choreography is not causal to dance and visa versa. Choreography is a matter or organization, of ordering and making stable, although stability is many things. Choreography’s first enterprise is to domesticate movement. Choreography is concerned with structures and structuring, and obviously every structure needs expression. One of these expressions is dance but it is not the only expression that choreography can take on. Dance on the other hand is strategic, it is not about ordering but instead of maneuvering, of navigating through structures, through order. Dance is an expression into the world, dance is certainly organized but the organization is not the dance, it is the organization and the principles need not be choreography although they can be read through choreography. To choreograph needs have nothing to do with dance, and it goes without saying that one need not have any dance skills to choreograph [those who say so are just dance teachers afraid of losing their jobs]. Similarly, dancing is always organized but one need have no idea about choreography to make them. Recently the term choreography as expanded practice has been used emphasize how organization is non-linear to expression, choreography to dance and that choreography needs to be considered a cluster of tools that can be used both to produce and analyze autonomous to expression, i.e. choreography has become a generic set of tools, a technology or a field of knowledge. It is as expanded practice that choreography can or must approach the invitation from visual art, an approach that can give choreography any kind of from also painting, video, sound, a book, a social differentiation or something entirely else. Add to that, that only if we choreography takes on new expressions, only if dance loses itself in other organizational capacities can this meeting become sustainable and fruitful for all parties, and if not dance and choreography will continue to be mixed up and pushed around like a bastard cousin from the countryside, tip top for Saturday entertainment but never invited to the green room, never to the real deal.

Several institutions have initiated conversations around the collection of dance and choreography. Museums desire to acquire dances and put them in the collection, a good or even excellent idea. What’s not in the collection doesn’t exist but again… when understood as collectible the address is only dances in the classical sense of the word and the general idea, since a dance in itself can not be stored away [hello, remember Peggy Phelan?], is to collect documents and put them all in the archive section. Fuck that, if dance and choreography are to be put, so to say, in the basement it’s not in some archive section but the museum and choreographers must develop a method to store work that is it’s own. A starting point is to consider that choreography and dance is not causal and, second, to understand choreography as expanded practice.

Further, as much as a conventional collection is in need of house holding or strategy and definition, so does a collection of dances and choreographies. And a collection is not good or better if its starting point is the 60’s and New York. These oldies just want to secure their retirement money and their legacy. To collect is not only about fastening the past, it is also about producing futures.

Go To Jail Art

1 Apr

Look at this and it’s facts. When guys or whatever exit prison after a really really long time it’s been like aha statistically proven that they fall in love unconditionally no way back kind of thang with girls or whatever same age as the inmate was when he got locked up. Yup, tattooed all over the place, skinny and guilt ridden out looking for babes twenty-five years younger [OMG look whose talking]. Great.

Look at this too, one wonders why some kind of personality, women or whatever fall in love head of heels, deeply convinced with inmates, prisoners, jailbirds yeah with all of the whatever they are called. But why? But why? Why fall in love with a dude doomed to decades in Sing Sing – which would be quite cool, or worse with some lowbrow BS thug rotting away in a small town correctional facility in Kumla or Switzerland. This is wkd. But wow, art made with inmates that’s even worse.

I don’t care whatever, some silly senior waiting for his locked up girlfriend, OMG – not if some size D bra [as in dramatic] honey pie that feel in love with Steve the convict already before acne age. No way, I mean the real shit, men and women that fall in love with inmates tout court, and gosh I love them [that’s what I do – fall in love with men and women falling in love with men and women imprisoned – who’s a perv now?], but still why? This is irrational to begin with, and aha we know love is something we do, anyway why wouldn’t the prisoner have figured it out – to fall in lourve with a quarter of century younger chicalinda is gonna be trouble and it’s not gonna be nice trouble, and the other way around, relative capitalism, to fall in love with a prisoner is like stashing your matrass with money and hope for interest. Dead capital, schtupid, but… and they might just be closely connected – they still do it, they still do it again and again.

Concerning the inmate, when on the inside he or she is closed off from reality, access to certain capacities is denied. The, let’s say babe that he doesn’t have access to on the outside becomes a thing that the inmate comprehends without ground, time and context is withdrawn or subtracted – the object of desire, however abstract, become “pure” intensity without being. The being part of the female is removed, cancelled, annulled and there is only “doing” – comprehension left. Kind of like, there’s only womanness and no woman, there might be a lot of sex but nobody having it. Blim blam, this is the price to pay for pure and wonderful comprehension, or call it phantasy – you’re doomed to fall in love again and again with what the thing as intensity.

Let’s turn it around, the same goes for the one falling in love with the inmate, that obviously and of course must ditch the guy when he exits the can, which might or not be sweet: the moment he exits the can and gains ability, when he can again, the one on the outside can’t any more… what a dance, cancan. But first, why would anybody fall in love with somebody that’s locked up for the rest of his life… and why would anybody fall in love with somebody that’s looked for the rest of his life because he stabbed somebody – or like a bunch of supermodels, fifty-one times in the chest, including the eye, ate their hearts raw with sushi rice and low sodium soy, didn’t even bother to do something weird like you know, some fucked up code written in blood or liked waxed the supermodels’ legs before dumping them outside the Polish embassy, and OMG got caught driving a stolen Daihatsu. Check it out – I said baby some day luck comes in your arms – there is a rational here, namely it’s not the deeds, not the actions, not the spectacle or even love out of pity, you remember the Daihatsu. Nope, the point is to disconnect the deed from the man, the comprehension part from the being part. Love is blind, probably true but in this case blind can be seen as voluntary, self-determined, aha. Yes, you fall with the man, not the the the deed, you fall in love with the being part and abandon the comprehension part, the doing, the action. Exactly, you fall in love with being pur and eradicate intensity. It’s fuckin brilliant, you fall in love with the man and not that BS macho schtuff, chew on that Amigo, and it’s brilliant cuz what you love – being – is exactly void of risk, chance and danger, you can love endlessly and as much as you like since being, so to say, isn’t exactly able to escape, ditch you, be unfaithful and so on. What you dig when you fall for a prisoner is being without intensity – the man, the sex, the love, the smell whatever but aha there is no doing, no engagement – a love completely static and hence at least trivially perfect.

Yet, both the prisoner out of the can and the lover of the jailbird in side are quite phab, they might sound fucked up and somewhat self-obsessive although in two different ways. They are awesome as they kind of separate love from like, if we consider that you love somebody for the way they are – being – and like somebody because of what they do – intensity. It’s tidy, fair an no blurry double speech. I mean the individual in love with the prisoner – being – is not about to say: “Well you know, lately I feel that we’ve grown apart…” and the great thing with the convict out of the joint is that he likes all young women equally as long as they coincide with his comprehensions, with a certain intensity. In other words, the inmate likes what the thing is in and the so called crazy-ladies are in love with what is in the thing.

Now look at this, what about art? Art is certainly great and amazing, more of it totally, the fucked up situation is that art today tendentially is asked, demanded, forced, desired to be both being and intensity – it should both be art as in the sense of “autonomous” being and know itself as intensity, i.e. it should exists as such and be conscious about its own being at the same time, but check it out, not possible not even a little bit possible. Something cannot be itself and know itself at the same time, something can not maintain itself as that which is in the thing and that which the thing is in. No sir, that’s some sort of Hegelian absolute, some fucked up metaphysical existence that not even Lovecraft dare de-de-describe. Bring in a mirror, and hocus pocus what do we get, yep – an art that is both and at the same time autonomous, i.e. is without determination, and is politically intensive or engaged, i.e. intensive without determined, object. Or in other words an art that at the same time should be art and not-art. Obviously an autonomous art can’t simply and no way perform a politics, and it doesn’t matter if this darkness of general NL is posed by art councils, curators, policy makers, more curators, artists, teachers, scholars [oh no not Goldsmiths again], biennale offices, socially engaged artists [stop them now – and spit on Woody Allen too], it is never the less fucked up and produce an art that is both conservative and valuable for something determinable. Nausea alert, and jezuz, this implies an art that’s like design, – beautifully useful, aha – something like a bad wine being opened with a beautifully useful corkscrew suddenly transforming the shit wine into a Chatieau Lafite.

Go away, go away, curse – art needs to go to jail, yep on the double and both in the sense of Monopoly and metaphorically to the beginning, to the eradication of resources, to uselessness, a waste of time and the whole lot. Check it out just because and art is not useful, it doesn’t say that it doesn’t do a lot of things to the artist, spectator, viewers, museum bosses, curators, magazine, politics, social injustice, the world, the universe and so on, but the moment when art does or wish to determine what it does it has a problem, it becomes good or bad, what matters, comparable, a matter of investment and affordance and what is it then… if not – helpful, nice, sympathetic, diplomatic, didactic, didactic didactic. More over it means that art also can or must be judged in respect of, funded in respect of, approved through etc. it’s usefulness, it’s functionality and respect for and of society. No no no, an art should and must be utterly useless, it cannot and must not keep anybody busy – I must not know what it is good or bad for but it will and must also and at the same time provoke comprehension, responses, relations, irritation, pleasure, anger, sleep, political upraising, revolution, neoliberalism, love and so on and that’s all superb and amazing. Art can not not be comprehended but it’s job, or responsibility, is not to know and determine determination, when it does it seizes to be art and art specific.

Art needs to go to jail. It can only and either be art as being – autonomous and useless, perhaps also harmless – as in the sense of the prisoner with which you fall in love – and certainly art is institutionally inscribed and imprisoned but it can be in more than many ways – and never mind if it wasn’t – what what what – yes and it is totally fine [art obviously deeply need institutions whatever they are called Tate modern, art councils, dance venue, iTunes etc] – and on the other hand an art that is “pure” intensity which the prisoner now released like, adore and worship without selection – namely comprehension or politics without object, without circumstances. Now, just because art need to go to jail no matter what, that doesn’t not mean the artist, somebody producing art whatever that is [except theatre which we shouldn’t do at all and is certainly not made by artists], should be anything else than deeply and utterly engaged in whatever he or she likes and feel urgency in respect of. Just because the job of art must be to be useless no matter what being or intensity, doesn’t say that the artists’ job is the same – rather the opposite – hyper conscious about what artistic production implies, politically, socially, ethically, ideologically, fluidity, economically, reformist, revolutionary, poetically, historically, in relation to a bit of smoke and so on until the end of it all. But just because I know what I’m doing doesn’t say that the art produced should be causal to that knowing [obviously whatever knowing, physical, sensual, spiritual etc.], in fact it shouldn’t in any respect what so ever [art is not there to make the viewer admire the author]. Art, especially in respect of NL and semio-capitalism must be sent to jail, it must give itself permission to evacuate economy [which is not the same as exiting art markets, they are fine and they are not dealing with art but schtuff], negotiation, affordance and investment, context, policy, friendship and most of all belonging and identity in order to produce new or other kinds of experiences, produce difference in kind, if not it will be stuck in what is already possible, inscribed, fine, digested, perfectly Starbucks, difference in degree, different with a c, bailed out, business minded and so on. Art needs to go to jail in order to maintain its structural simplicity, its n’importe quoi – it needs to allow itself limits, or it will fall into the poisonous territory of strategy, making it causal to something that matters more or less, less or more, to value which is always opportunistic to some power. Go to jail, and do it now. The production of limits, which is not to dismiss, evacuate, eradicate and so on, limits between being and comprehension, not limits between this or that identity, no fuckin way, limits of with bearing on ontological characteristics, these are limits of existence not about life or consciousness, or good mood. Art needs to go to jail to save itself from politics, policy, performativity and polite causalities and most of all from vague instrumentality and the politics of ethics, inclusion and good life. Art is not alive, it doesn’t have life, it exists and it doesn’t care. To love art is like loving somebody you know you can never have, the love of a being no matter what.

No Matter What

30 Mar

After Tristan 2 

Sharing, how many times do I have to hear it? [A question mark in the first sentence, not a good thing.] The importance of sharing, new forms of sharing, shared resources, knowledge sharing, web pages for sharing, file sharing, sharing fuckin’ everything – except perhaps the bed, if you know what I mean – why do we only consider safe sex, free sex and group sex and never shared sex. Seriously gööööö – of course I’m into it – but shit goddamn shared sex must be some sort of mashup between let’s look at X-hamster together, an AA meeting series of tear-sucker confessions, i.e. aha this is 2013 confession equals telling your bio, and a bunch of people jerking off making sure not to come. In any case I love sex… [OMG, get out of town – TMI – no no TMS – Too Much Sharing] – sharing has become the new ubiquitous of the sophisticated classes, I don’t mean the dirty to be condemned shit heads that has no name financial capitalism, no I mean the sophisticated that I’m knee deep in shit with, that work in the creative sector, that discuss cultural policy, the apply for grant [or if they don’t know how to, reject the very idea of application, seriously], that react in a the person is political kind of way to new forms of disguised [more or less] contemporary racism, genderism and innocent concessions to extreme right parties sitting on just couple but yet positions in our parliaments. I mean those the conscious, the educated, the ones that don’t know what KFC is an abbreviation of and pride themselves with food related intolerances [but make faces anytime when tolerance is mentioned in any respect in relation to humans or politics]. I mean myself most of all, but I also mean the naïve and amazing believing in social movement, the ones that consider NGO something good per se, those that consider socially active art to be a good thing, helping hand and not just a narcissistic self-celebratory emptiness good for fuckin’ nothing except for further funding. I mean those that think that performativity is a good thing, something positive, something active, something eye-opening, something identity good for some something, something perhaps even – give me a seriously looong break – something subversive, something sexy, something glam, something not curatorially wet dream, something not a new territory into which visual art can expand, something alternative, something sharing. It is not!

Sharing, how how, how often – I hear sharing more frequently than Rihanna. There’s presently so much sharing around I need to get the app. Totally, I put it next to my Nike training app. Whoop whoop. Sharing like all the freakin’ time. Sharing has become the most important currency around, dollars Euro and what was that thing in Japan called – no good no more we are trading in sharing. Fuck the stock or derivatives markets we are on the sharing market. Who, Gordon Gekko… nah we like it Sean Dockray – we are sharing, and sharing is good – but look at this sharing is not good – neither is collaboration – who isn’t sharing also the really bad guys. Weapon industry also share, it’s just that they call it lobby. Europe is sharing a lot, sharing the very idea that Greece isn’t worth the trouble. But too us, the good people, sharing is good, in fact whatever it is that should be shared it is good. Jezuz, sharing has become our salvation from capitalism in general, and the neoliberal pandemonium in particular. We the sharers are not deep inside NL [you get the abbreviation, kind of KFC just a bit bigger] because we are better or something, but get it, get it – you know what – the centerfold of NL is exactly that anything goes, whatever can and must be made capital, symbolic or actual, tokens or real ass dollar bills NL doesn’t give shit, it doesn’t even give a little shit about the one or the other. There’s no laundry too dirty to wash through financial capitalism, it’s an endless state of emergence. Check it out NL and financial capitalism is like Harvey Keitel in “Pulp Fiction”, no worse. Give me a break, do you – do we – seriously think, imagine, öhhhh that sharing is not equally and as deep as anything else in the business. Sure, we can run the errands of the present differently – there certainly is no other way to take than the wide and well paved by late capitalism but we can take it differently – but we shall of course also know that that’s what is wanted of us, we should follow the wide path in alternative ways in order to open new opportunities to more openness, further expansion – but look expansion is not a breach, it is always built on something already available and stable. Our second or whatever order problem is to differentiate between structural and strategic sharing. We need to work out modalities of sharing that are structural and formulated as ideology – or perhaps not but initially in order to develop some paradox – thus a sharing that is stable and can produce secondary orientation, an ideology of sharing can stand model for modes of production etc. for life, or hopefully not for life. A strategic model of sharing is not acceptable as it is built on needs, in other words on markets, on economy, investment and affordance. The difference here between ideology and ethic [our current political landscape] is  – btw fuck affect – the problem with affect since it’s return in whatever 2005 is exactly that it’s been pushed into strategy – affect is more or less this or that – affect has been degraded from the echelon of n’importe quoi to what matters more or less – deep shit, and affect lost all it’s capacity to serious fuck us. Affect must be like art and art like affect is not supposed to do anything good or bad, not that we like it but affect is affect exactly because its not good for fuckin nothing, because it is n’importe quoi, no matter what – the moment it, even just a little closes up to efficiency, ability, technique, direction, causality, time and space it’s not n’importe quoi anymore – allé essactly n’importe quoi isn’t more or less, it just is – it doesn’t deal with consciousness, it doesn’t care about you or me, affect so goddamn doesn’t share, it’s unconditional, get it – it’s unconditional but as much as it is unconditionally generous its also the nucleus of stinchy, as much as it is pure love it’s the whole gradient to utter and pure hate, but whatever that is – in the gradient – it is it unconditionally. Affect is not composed, it’s not divided, it’s not here or there, it just is, and if at all it comes around, it doesn’t on invitation, it just shows up.

The dark ass part however is that affect is particularly close to NL, it’s like it’s first buddy, the best man at the wedding, the Thelma of freakin Louise, the Cage in Merce, the Gilbert in George, Phrenia in Schizo, the loneliness in “Just The Two Of Us”, that’s how bad it is – yep, the anthem of the merged states of exception NL and Affect will feature the sleazy soft yell-O voice of Bill Withers – consider that the next time you share anything at all. And yet, the superbness with NL is that as ubiquitous it also got immune to itself – in a certain way NL has managed to become in itself, NL is the 21st century version of a Heglian absolute. And hence, therefore and all the way, no more war machines can help us, no more nomadism [jezuz Christ] will be any good, nope – neoliberalism as post ideological affective politics can only be fought with the means of homeopathy – not in the sense of curing ourselves from NL through more of the same – but aha – through more of the same n’importe quoi – NL can not be evacuated, can not be slain, not vanquished – no smoke will clear on the battlefields – it can only be fought through more of itself as foreign to itself, homeopathically through and with affect, but even more importantly the moment we engage with affect – with unconditionality, without and zero identity, with absolutely no belonging or not, with only absolute, we must understand that NL will make everything to make affect and us, the unconditional, we who don’t share for any reason, that share only structurally and only, that fucks strategy, that fucks perspective, that is absolutely and excessively flat, completely and utterly horizontal or horizon. But no no there is no immanence here, pad de… something – there is only flatness and no matter what, n’importe quoi.

Sharing is not good, it’s just another name for networking, for affordance and investment, sharing is the 21st name for leisure, what the precarious call themselves when they return from their temporary jobs, when they return from some demonstration or occupy schtuff, or even worse after a good day in the art centre doing something even Bill Cosby would feel guilty for doing [I’m waiting for the first pedophilia case from the art world – not funny]. We don’t really want to, can’t we just admit it? We are not interested in sharing – except a few convenient versions like… Furk, I can’t come up with anything, perhaps oh yes, files are good to share, a PDF of a recent Rancière volume with democracy in the title. Stop the sharing mania and get real, sharing is not enough, it fuckin works and great, it’s pleasant and everybody is in, it has not ideology, it is only when it fits the one with bigger resources, sharing is the new version of we can’t pay you, but we share our resources also when we lack them. Sharing is just the tacky yellow sauce of economical and temporary relations, sharing is like an enchanting meadow in the dark forest – the place to which Pan doesn’t bring us but we stumble into almost like by accident – fuck that – sharing is like having a bath surrounded by candles and a glass of red wine in a too big glass that you bought in IKEA, oh my Bingo. What the fuck happened to stone me into the groove, the only version out of here, and it certainly ain’t no promise – and I’m already a reactionary after all I wrote this – is to go absolutely flat – not as a refusal you fat Italian – no way – as pure affect – as pure stone motherfuckin hard homeopathy, to go seriously n’importe quoi – just before no matter what, to not be depressed – but to produce depression as a freaking plague – yes goddamn it – no salvation, no meaning i.e. strategic regret – this is the moment we turn zombie, aha. No consciousness but pure existence, no differentiation, no identity, no qualities, no attributes – stop sharing – plague, squander, loot [fuck virus or contamination], plague, infect in all directions and with whatever, accelerate. Zombies [and I’m in love with her] don’t waste time, they don’t share, they or we – The Zombies – don’t share, don’t shop, don’t make exceptions, don’t’ invest, don’t think twice not even once, we are – without consciousness and nothing else than no matter what.

Flat Fuckin Zombie Art

29 Mar

After Tristan

Stop your ridiculous addiction to perspective. Can’t you see, they – perspectives – are not even political, they are politics, endless negotiation, a little bit this or that, sympathetic, as reliable as they are dynamic. Göööööö. Perspectives are like bag in a box wine, the dark side of flat-rate. Fuck it, perspectives are not even politics they are the wet dreams of politicians. Perspectives are not like sex without a condom, they are like a condoms without sex. Stop having them, producing them, them em, or at least stash them away before you approach the world or and especially before you start making art. Look at this: art is not in the world or the freakin universe to do anything good or bad. It is in the world to be useless, to be everything that nothing else is or is allowed to be – to a total waste of time, excessively worthless, completely unnecessary, utterly incomprehensible which obviously has nothing to do with what kind of representations this or that art gains, which of course it has also but not yet… An art that is completely worthless, totally because because can be small, tiny, whimsical, embarrassing, oversized, fat, like an Iphone or anything whatever else, but it is still an art that is megalomanic, yes it is and exactly because it fucks perspective. Something that fuck perspective can not contain politics. Something that fucks perspective can have dynamics, can be negotiated, has no fuckin performativity, it goddamn is. Full stop, capish.

Koolhaas was wrong it is not bigness that fucks context – bigness is still inscribed, still more or less than some something, fuck bigness because bigness fucks no nothing except the smaller version, bigness is still a perspective however expanded, augmented or deconstructed – what really fucks context is exactly the annihilation of perspective, any form of comparison, any form of contextual differentiation. An art this useful or in any respect produces ethically just representations is by definition benevolent to this world, is already backslapping with governments, realistic this or that, reason and the lot.

Fuck yeah, we love and adore grass-root, alternative, community, social, ecological, even identity politics and kickstarter but look at this, we love it as much as we love art, but it is not the same goddamn love, get it. You know, I love my mother, I adore her – even if she forced me to eat granola as a kid and didn’t bother to cook me porridge [god I hate her] and I still consider her the only mother of this world for-evah evah and eva-evah, I would die for her – twice – but that doesn’t say I’m gonna make any art – any at all art – about, in awe of, because of or anything in the direction her. My mother is great and fab but thank fuckin god that she is not in my art – of course she is yeah yeah I’m her son, sure, but let this be the lesson: love politics, people, social injustice, fairplay, fairtrade, fairway, unemployed teenagers, tuition fees, free sex, gay parades, automotive industry, zero emission, love it all and be concerned but don’t make it your art, don’t even make it halfway in there, not even a little or just a little a little, don’t don’t don’t – please – it’s an altogether something else and that is good. Art and life is not to be together, but strictly separated. Art is in the world and that’s all good but it doesn’t say that the world should be in art, on the contrary it is when the world is not in the art that art can do something about the world, but not and exactly, not as perspective but unconditionally, as fuck context, as the obliteration of perspective. It is not part of art’s job description to be good or bad for anything, the job of art is to be horizon – undivided full circle and irreversible – it’s job is to become flat, extremely flat. So flat there can be nothing more to add, and it exactly when there is nothing to add that the world changes – fuck addition what’s needed is a non-additive identity in the last instance.

And in any case stop being a concerned person, if you really were you’d stop making art long ago. And know this, resistance is over – financial capitalism swallowed it and will continue to swallow and swallow – critique is over – guess what, financial capitalism swallowed it and will swallow it again – activism – guess what, financial capitalism swallowed that too and will swallow it again – like why were there no Seattle events since 1998 – because financial capitalism swallowed it – what about the word – the word is free – sure, but financial or semio-capitalism swallowed that too. Stop having hopes for Christ’s sake, what is the freakin world that you hope for in any case – the 80s whatever that was, the 70s and Jonny Rotten, the 60s and hippies, the 50s anti-communism – what do we hope for – do we want to go back there, to hidden away sexual difference, to a time before all the failed but still liberational movement, do we want to go back to a time when we listen to music from a cassette player and learned language from our mothers and Clement Greenberg ruled the art world. Do we really want to go back to a time when 99% of all artist were men and hetero, what do we hope for, if we do, if not for an altogether other world. Really what do we hope for than an altogether different here and now. Really what do we hope for than an altogether different human being, one that is in no respect a relative to us or me. Do we really have hope for a just liberalism, do we really have hope for desire based on lack, do we really have hope at all. I mean isn’t hope the worst of all possible ways of losing track, of getting lost, hope is a cute version of resignation, hope is the believers way of saying tolerance, hope is the acceptance of one’s own insignificance. And you, you call your schtuff art. Shape the fuck up.

Yes I know I’ve said this before, but once was apparently not enough. What what? In 1972 Delueze and Guttari screamed creativity to the people, fluidity is everything, we need becoming, BwO’s, wolf packs, circus people, difference with both a c and a t, canals, smooth space even Patti Smith and the means to use was schizophrenia – suddenly everything could be and mean everything at the same time all the time, schizo was the fluidization of the whole chebang – fuck the referent, good night index – this was dynamics, becoming is everything and relative relative relative. In 1990 or whatever identity politics scream – with a vulnerable subject – everything is meaning even and especially you, your body and your participation in the world never mind the participation of the world in you – oh yes, now we all needed to reify and mean, signify and say “No, I’m not heterosexual, I practice heterosexuality… “ – the generative capacity was oh no no no performativity – a sort of live version of becoming or no more BwO’s but rather Organs without Bodies, magical – the structural dynamism embraced by D/G – Fuck Butler but oh fine she was only a victim of her time – and now it all turned into strategic dynamism – smart… naaaht. And what was the means  – well nobody really said it out loud, but yesh you did it – flip D/G and the truth is standing in front of the main entrance – essactly – the means to strategic dynamism – which obviously is a nice way of saying self-obsessed self-peformance – was paranoia – yeup – no more everything is everything – but instead – everything is this and this is me. Sweet.

But they were cool, totally cool and damn successful. The only disaster with D/G and Butler is that all they every proposed came true just in the wrong way, in a seriously wrong way. What they did in their own and scholarly way was to – perhaps not Butler but I’m open minded today [OMG stop performance studies now!] – was sincere and even aggressive attempts toward the eradication of perspective, however just for a moment but it was done on the brink of the abyss. Chapeau, big time [did I just use that expression, chapeau, fuckin’ bingo]. An art that issue creativity no, but what about one that does particularity, no no no. All swallowed over and out. Everything is everything is good bye and so is self-performance. Salvation is over and so is meaning, modernism is past tense and so is post-structuralism, deconstruction and whatever version. Expansion is over and so is compression. What we have is sense, and I’m speaking sense qua sense, and sense qua sense can’t be anything and must that is absolutely and excessively useless both concerning substance/salvation and meaning. Sense doesn’t hope, or at least it is not the hope of something, so not a hope with direction, teleology, missing, longing, it is hope as hope, hope no matter what, and it is not nice or ugly, bad or stripped naked – it just is.

What we need is not an art that fights the current predicament, not an art that feels good because it thinks it makes resistance or is lite crazy, if you know what I mean [aha, une petit] – we don’t need an art that fights the liberal subject with or against, we need an art that instead embraces exactly both the for and against in favor of an excessive weakness – we need an art that is so weak it is one step from self-annihilation, one step from – and it can’t get closer – from whatever, from being just something, however something no matter what and nothing more nor less [stop the kitschy more than one]. An art something but and still specific, an art that ask for and not attention, that do or don’t keep you busy, that care and don’t and at the same time, and art contradictory and not, cue and no. An art that is just something no matter what, and thus also and necessarily is one step from abandoning perspective, losing itself in horizon but thus also becoming alone, an art sans perspective is singular – in respect of presence – it is always alone, but then always is only always and not once in a while.

This is not an art that looks for a great outdoors, no way immanence, curse curse curse [KJ I love you] to eternal return and the goddamn virtual, and certainly not one that looks for Derrida and especially not at all Baudrillard [help me curse]. It is an art that has understood the modus operandi with which neoliberalism proposes whatever an shuns it and it’s performativity. This is an art that looks for a flat ontology, and absolutely – and I mean it – flat ontology – neither one above [transcendence] nor one below [immanence], it is a flat ontology in the middle and in the midst, totally fuckin mainstream – whoop whoop – yep – A sort of immanence from behind and in the middle and that forever appreciates without perspective the multiverse of perturbation of and within the flat. It isn’t a proposing for potentiality but as it is flat it cannot not be approached as pure potentiality, it becomes an affective [in the evil sense of the world] necessity.

This is an art that doesn’t give a shit about the emancipation of spectators but in and through its infinite regress – excessive and exponential weakness [which is not a refusal] – emancipates itself no matter what into something but something no matter what.

So CU later, schizo and paranoid, flat ontology is a critical depression or de-pression [did I just write something with a damn – in it in it, stop me]. It’s utter flatness proposes an equality between every thing no matter what, an absolutely flat, a depression where everything is just something and alone. Flat ontology or critical depression exposes a world without qualities or attributes a world or an art that is flat, that is horizon, and absolutely useless world, that can only show up and take shape. It is not an art that makes you depressed it is an art that is flat and is depressed, but what it makes you is not its business, it’s just something no matter what and it makes you make you something no matter what, contingently.

The Vampire and the werewolf are creatures of hope. Vampires look for salvation and werewolves for meaning, fuck em all. What we need in zombie art, yes sir one more time [and I’m love with her, not again – no it’s still the first one]. Zombies have no hope – they don’t need another side, they don’t want to die, they don’t feel repentance, they have no consciousness they are freed from life], they are not subjects, they are de-individualized, they are absolutely and only flat, they are just something no matter what. They don’t choose their victims, they don’t regret their deeds, they are flat absolutely flat, and look for not fuckin nothing except sense – to become depressed is to turn into zombie, there is no hope, no return, only perturbation, but critical depression, or de-pression, art as flat thing – and that has no time – by necessity must introduce itself in time and space, but who knows and contingently what qualities and attributes the aesthetics experience gain then. Its not you and me that should turn into zombies, we already are, it is the art that should be zombie, totally fuckin flat and just something, and we should make it to make our spectators into zombies, no to give them peromission to become excessively weak, depressed and zombie, to let them not be themselves more than something for a while, in favor for an entirely new mind set, the possibility of a world, a terrain [a non-flat] where everything and the rest is otherwise. Fuck yeah, zombie art.

Amnesia or More Zombie Art, or part 4

27 Mar

For Taraka

Amnesia is quite cool. I like it, but why – which of course is obvious – does Hollywood need to make this phab phenomena so terribly one dimensional. I like that too, totally and save me from a smart version Wes Anderson with Bill Murray as, what about, melancholic sports coach one day sans past, or von Trier, the possibility is of course is if not all his films are amnesia and like not about. Hmmm maybe not all of them or perhaps only one or a half, but they are anyway von Trier movies so it really doesn’t matter. What about, what’s his name, the French dude Gondry, or did he stop making movies – wait a second – when did, I can’t remember last time I heard about or anything about him. After that that one, what’s it called – I forgot… hmmm it was a bit like Massive Attack wasn’t it, but the cast was nice. Look at this, I think it’s freakin brilliant, the actors of that movie whatever but you know with that guy, yeah essactly Cable Guy, Ace Ventura, Mask and like the centerfold of the magazine Sleaze as the super loser and the savior come evil mega bitch with a pleasant face is Kate Winslet, which at least moi can not detach from Titanic and “I’m the king of the world” sort of crucifixion scene in the front of th-that ship mixed up with “Sense and Sensibility” – Austinian morals a purrfect compliment – maybe she wasn’t in any other movies oh yes Ophelia in Branagh’s Hamlet. This is already quite sparkles, Ace Ventura meats Rose DeWitt and the abysmal romance “–I will never let you go…” – what the fuck is this and here it comes, the assistant of the memory eraser thingy company, the tiny guy who steals Winslet’s panties, OMG yes yes yes, that’s what ever his name could be from goddamn Lord of The Rings – Frodo, for Chrst’s sake, the ring bearer transformed to a pantie sniffing misfit with a jazz beard. Elijah Wood, who’s your career consultant? Daniel Radcliff? Aha, I get it Macaulay Culkin. With that cast Gondry’s movie turns 360 from bad to badass. Hardcore and obviously the film is all about amnesia, temporary or not, as choice or artificially arranged, but it doesn’t matter the aesthetics of the film just is one too mucho of wannabe indigo kitsch, it’s just not an option. Gondy is like a parent that would like to smoke a joint with the daughter and her teenage friends.

Amnesia, we all know the set up, either it’s the hero waking up in a basement some somewhere and he remembers nuttin’ but have a magnum in his right hand and a mystical code tattooed on a place of the body that gives him opportunities to show off his six pack. This is scratch and now it’s just a matter of chasing down the past and appropriate it, whatever that means. The alternative is the anti-hero geek nerd Rob Schneider type that wakes up in the same place and the story unfolds similarly except that the side-kick will finally function as side-kick, substitute to his lost past. The memory of the girl, the touch, the smell was either planted in the right place – Blade Runner [btw isn’t the Gondry what was it now now name film a sort of poetic appropriation of Ridley Scott’s movie, only difference is that Kate Winslet has fused into both Rachel (Sean Young who “accidentaly” also is in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. Conspiracy alert) and Pris -Daryl Hannah], or there never was one – amazing – but it doesn’t matter cuz after waking up it’s the same, once ascending from darkness time and space is back to basics and voila, hit the road.

It’s this this that I can’t take, why when the hero wakes up is linear again linear and he, rarely she, is all okidoki except he doesn’t remember his name – it’s always only memory and recognition that is gone, not language or like the ability to throw a freakin knife really really hard and good – damn that one is a good amnesia movie – aha – what yes sir Geena Davies in The Long Kiss Goodnight with Samuel Jackson who also suffers form some sort of trauma, yesh these films are fucked up Freudian [spit on Woody Allen], and this is what’s so boring, but that Geena Davies thing is awesome except the end and the embarrassing child, still the set up is the same – Geena wakes up blank like a bimbo up stairs and one days happily married memories starts to come back, just for example that knife story throwing.

I’m into something slightly less cosy, something that would make a terrible movie, but check this out our guy – hero or not – wakes up but instead of waking up to, Oh my God, I have no me-moriee. Our guy wakes up to an endless series of waking ups. In other words not an amnesia you wake up from but one that goes on and its like you wake up to each and every moment, and the next it’s all erased again, and the next and the next. Evelything and every passing moment is all the time absolutely new or whatever – nö-thing what so ever has continuity except amnesia. Get that, each and every moment is absolutely new. It’s not that oh shit I don’t recognize my wife, or whoever tells me she is, but this one is like I lose my wife ever moment again and again, every moment and fuckin forever. Continuous and repeated amnesia, and still, consider that speech is not touched so you can speak but at every moment you could have said anything what so ever utterable but you can absolutely not recall anything at all at any moment. No no, this not just going brain dead, it’s worse – this is like waking up at every moment from brain dead, it’s continuous amnesia. This is like “I don’t believer in the Devil. / You should, cuz he believes in you” see what I mean – this is the revenge model fierce. It is indeed one reason why we don’t want to hang out in utopia, this is the first version of life in no-space, a totalitarian lack of both history and future that only exists as excessive presence as now and now and now and now.

“-Hey, what now? I’m authentic enough…” Buddy, there’s nothing you can do but continue do more of the same and authentic. To go authentic is like becoming Dan Graham, more of the same at Hauser & Wirth, or something. Poor dance folks from back then, every freakin day more authentic, what a curse – what do you prefer, authentic or amnesia – well, check it out same thing just that amnesia seems to show up through the back entrance. Authentic is by proxy good [so it seems even during and after Derrida, like behind all that relative schtuff], amnesia is deeply fuckin wrong. I say, wrong!

Yet and luckily freedom is never that all over, even in the 70s we could take a break from authentic. Contemporary thought however appears to – look whose talking – forget that part about financial or ubiquitous capitalism, we are locked up and there’s no way out, we are so fucked we have learned to like it, opportunities for a life otherwise is not just past tense it’s com-ple-teley over and increasing. But is it and how? We’ve all become young girls on a shopping craze resurrecting all and every scent of capitalism at every and so on moment. Vis some kind of line up from “I studied with Althusser“ – Badiou- to “Yes, I was close to Guttari” – Bifo -, critical theory, “Hello, my name is Stefano Harey” [I love you, dude] and a splash of Occupy Wall Street, a sense of a word of warning, or “let me tell you” speech appears to be evolving, but as we all know a warning, correction, condescending sentence, criticality á la Goldsmiths is not gonna produce any thing more than more warnings, corrections, condescending word and coagulations of power. We have entered amnesia already, it’s just that we, the ordinary hasn’t realized it yet, you the young hasn’t gotten the picture, but you know what I think, no I know, it’s the other way around, those scholars and intellectuals – including architects, a lot of them [OMG such consolidation suckers – stop thinking about buildings, houses, territories, design and have a Red Bull, just stop] are totally stuck with modes of navigation that is not valid anymore, they consider the world in ways contemporary people don’t and not anymore. Get real – especially the art world, university system and holy fuckin smokes the dance business [don’t even think about it] – you are asking the wrong questions and in the wrong way. You know what we don’t need your authorization. Look at this, just because we don’t learn language from our mothers we haven’t abandoned her, fuck no we have established new models of love. Just because big bucks and some hippies in France have turned us into young girls [they are just dirty old men writing from a safe place] it doesn’t mean we don’t know about it and use it, it’s just that you guys don’t see it happening and how. We don’t use your maps, we don’t follow your political agendas, we are not against that which you are for, we are not part of your world, not your political unconscious, not your imaginarium – we love you but have nothing more to say, we adore you but we are not afraid and your words scare us only in the same way as Hollywood movies – because we want to and like it. You are vampires that hunt during twilight and as individuals, you still believe in origins and language, we are different, we are zombies, we don’t hunt we plague. We don’t seek redemption deceiving virgins to pity us, we don’t operate with and through categories as such, we don’t look for a return, we don’t care about life or eternity – we are forever as such and itself and hence don’t need it. A critical stance however it is or not criticality BS is by definition producing a location and that location is known both before during and after. We can not mourn, not even the workers, but we can neither go on – I can’t go on I must go on – no way but as you guys mourn, warn and feel sexy hooking up with occupy movements we’ve used up our imagination and burnt the maps, our modes of life are not organized, oriented, discussed, mapped, demonstrated, activisted, what or how, it’s not Goldsmiths, Marxist, SR or triple O, it’s in and out at the same time or is just not concerned, it is music and sports, culture and administration, it doesn’t make a difference between mainstream and indie [OMG, twice]. This is the point, the way we live is not compatible with your universe. It’s not that we left it – but that conference was really quite embarrassingly reactionary – we are still in there but incompatible, we are a multitude that forgot the part of dominant discourse. We do or don’t believe in the future – that is a tendency already established, with bumps perhaps but not broken. We don’t believer in the future, and certainly not yours. You have nothing to project on us and we don’t – project. We don’t believe in the future, we have raised the stake, we believe the future. We are zombies. We plague, infest, overwhelm for no reason, because because, and that is how we don’t just survive but are rich. You know, it doesn’t matter if you tell us we are suffering, like psychoanalysis told me that I wanted to fuck me mother, we don’t go there, we are past it, and we are shining shining shining.

If Zizek and his buddies told us that it’s easier to imagine the apocalypse, we have no problems… we have as little problems with imagining a way out of capitalism as Zizek appears to have zero problem with imagining a way out of thought, philosophy or critique. We are using another mindset. We are in another state. This is the problem, aha – imagination is not a priori open, it is an openness (imagination is complicit with the possible), imagination can not conquer imagination, so let’s not fight imagination nor capitalism but let’s just stop using it, stop considering it as anything else than a tool, an instrument, part of the camouflage, internal to the spectacle, stop having problems and use it in respect of how obsolete it really is – imagination, capitalism and fuck yeah, apocalypse too.

There are no ways out of liberty or freedom, these are both tendencies of totalitarian regimes so what comes after authentic, what’s after liberty itself? It cannot be rule neither convention – which obviously restricts and breaks the vow. A paradigm shift, or a breach of knowledge, a fissure in the symbolic order is like a classical revolution or upraising always followed by a moments euphoria, of an excessive sense of liberty and then… if not rule and convention, what is left is a technical aspect, a praxis of making the common foreign not to restrict or cage but in a sense tame or domesticate liberty, authenticity or improvisation. Technique could be seen as a coagulation of liberty itself, technique offers or gives direction not in favor of something, not as instrument or the ability to transform a third party – sure you train karate to be able to defend yourself or whatever – but in the case of liberty’s technique or techniques of authenticity or dance improvisation are not techniques as means of gaining teleology, or to give traction to these liberties or capacities of liberty but instead to practice liberty or improvisation as foreign to itself, or turn the argument around technique becomes a means of surveillance. Technique is often concerned with rigor but it is a rigor to itself as itself, technique is concerned with possibility, it maintains imagination, it organizes domesticity.

It is obviously impossible to produce outside imagination or language, but if technique is a path or trajectory, some kind of identitairian capacity that keeps us busy, and in any case technique implies comparison and a departure from politics (in whatever sense). Let’s recall Foucault for a sec. he doesn’t dig into techniques of the self but indeed technologies and there are reasons immediately detectable. Foucault in general rejects strategic levels of thought or production, indeed except in interview, Foucault refuses to pass a helping hand, he refuses to guide, produce trajectory or keep us busy. Foucault is a structuralist – and thanks big Bingo for that – his job is to unveil open capacities for the reader, transparencies to be utilized in whatever way, not maintained as politics or modes of control. Foucault exposes over a generic dispositive – knowledge, power and subjectivity – circumstances for perspective, strategy, organization, governance etc. To Foucault technique is slippery, heteronormative, negotiated, strategic, nouveau riche, reactionary, relational, identity-sucking baloney whereas technology is a landscape, a state [rather than a mode of acting] or non-directional territory, that is open and doesn’t confirm or keep us busy. Technique demands something from us whereas technology minds its own business and let’s us be whatever.

The emancipation dance struggled for and possibly obtained, was not restricted and is still not [at least not as dance], but what instead happened on a broad level is the return of technique, however this time not as rule or convention but an ability to confirm given or obtained liberty. Improvisation in particular, and especially in New York at least since Ronald Reagan entered the oval office has been subject to an endless violation by and through technique. Yet, if dance techniques proper fundamentally were about homogenization and erasing the dancer as subject etc. techniques post 1981 have been all about allowing the dancer to engage in his or her subjectivity, it is a training in openness, based on a notion of difference as something benevolent per se. Technique in dance in other words has become a mean to maintain multiplicities, of maintaining the police, liberty. The liberties that dance struggled for has over the last thirty year, increasingly and with higher speed been consolidated from the inside through the elaboration of techniques, by strategies of control and organization. This is not necessarily something altogether negative, but it should be clarified that technique always is productive within certain circumstances and obviously any and all technical training by definition consolidates a territory. Technique implies the production of neurotic subjects, and secures forms of development embedded in capitalism or psychoanalysis, namely the necessarily parricidal subject, which is a great addition since the parricide at best is a form of deconstruction and not emergence or multitude.

Same thing with technology in art in general – use technology for Christ’s sake and all of them but don’t ever let technology represent itself. Fuck yeah, technology is super duper and always ape nuts cool and awesome – even small scale shit – high res, low res, porn res, wifi, kaoss pad, tiger paw, mountain lion – but watch the fuck out, the moment technology goes on stage or sits in the museum – yes sir, it transforms by automation from technology to technique, from landscape to path, from form to content, from background to action, to some form of instrumentality, some form of strategy that wants something from the viewer or spectator, if noting else – attention. S h i t, in every sense, and how damn boring. Yet, there’s no choice really cuz if this process doesn’t kick in there can exist no property to consider, what is needed is a production of signature or authorship, and with this what vanish in the process is complexity, or the potentiality embedded in complexity. Technology isn’t potentiality, as a field or a knowledge it contains its own identity in the last instance, a form of immanence, it processes the capacity for the production of the possibility of radical differentiation. A representation of technology with its maintained complexity must not be either an image of technology, nor an image produced through or by technology but must be the representation of the technology of images, obviously translatable to dance or any form of representation. To unfold such a production however a specific form of rigor is necessary, which is precisely not the rigor of the or an itself or a rigor of technique, but instead a rigor against the self, against itself as technology – a form of rigor that annihilates identity in the first instance, that cancels out forms of convergence or probability, a form of apocalypse, irreversibility or amnesia. However the delicacy of such production of a rigor against itself, considered as a specific formation of immanence, for this immanence to be rigorous, or in the last instance, it cannot be understood as something but instead must be addressed as a continuous undoing of itself, it must in other words be an immanence that is undivided, un approachable and an identity to itself, it must in some or other ways be oracular, or i.e. synonymous to an ever altered in itself amnesia. Immanence or amnesia thus can also be understood as flatus vocis, the abstraction from any form of concreteness except in itself and such, i.e. the referent is erased, could not have been there in the first place or was always there as delusion. Philosophy as we know it, as it addresses immanence through philosophy thus could be said to regard both immanence and amnesia over a Hollywood kind of narrative – philosophy is a waking up from amnesia and the world is it self alike and we take it from there as if nothing has happened.

Following for example Franco Bifo’s thoughts on financial capitalism what has occurred in Western society over the last decade or two is precisely the circulation of abstract, non referential signs, the sign has become financialized and this is the ubiquity we today experience, a sort of coming of amnesia – and this is not Hollywood it is the real shit.

The quest that political and critical theory, or philosophy has taken itself is the elaboration of a solution, a way around the problem from some kind of assumed externality, i.e. a reflected upon immanence, yet standing in front of a predicament where power has been appropriated by amnesia also a solution becomes complacent to the ubiquity that surrounds it. Instead of the preparation of a route around, an unexpected journey, what is needed is a form of monstrous, or better simply monster production, i.e. a production on the terms of amnesia, a recycling of the same as the same, instead of some sort of camouflage – to pose as the other and announcing once presence – this is hyper camouflage – a posing as the same producing against oneself as identity, recognizability, authorship, property etc.

Instead of avant-garde, resistance, alternative, occupation as an experiment nostalgia, if we consider nostalgia as the resurrection of an already hollowed out signifier and thus the production of emptying, of void, of amnesia. Still this production is something, also as a nothing. Nostalgia is nothing circulated as something and in so being nostalgia poses absolutely no threat to our current modes of governance. But if this production is conscious to itself and against itself, is hyper camouflage, it communicates nothing but its own communication, nostalgia has become a chimera of teleology, it looks like it but isn’t. It is pure communicability, it is empty and still it is. Nostalgia is the production of blankness, or better blank. Using a metaphor of copying, nostalgia from the perspective of reproduction is the endless copying of copying until what appears is an absolute blank. In the case of Xerox machine a black surface, it is the production of limitless memory however without relation, without connection, reference or referent but only from the perspective established agency, from the perspective of probability the surface is black and blank but from the horizon of contingency or potentiality the blank is a universe true to itself. Nostalgia in the times of ubiquity becomes the production, not from an outside but from a radical inside, of potentiality. Not the solution, but the non-solution to our present predicament thus implies an endless regress, not to an index but to itself through a rigor of its own annihilation, a becoming non-conscious vis-á-vis established agency. The only survivor – they are many and they don’t hunt, they plague, they lute and mess up – of semio-capital or a semiotic apocalypse is the zombie. The zombie is structural and contingent to it self, they bypass value for the pure production of nothing as nothing against themselves. The zombie is unconditional rigor, without relations, without property, without technique, nameless – unconditionality to itself, continuous amnesia as the production of unlife, of the undoing of consciousness, of identity to itself at the last instance, for the contingent emergence of an altogether different existence.

In the mean time, not in order to free ourselves, not even from ourselves [that’s already a production in consciousness] what we must, is to make an art, improvise a dance, produce a pop, that annihilate ourselves, both the our and the self side. Not an art about zombies, not art made by zombies, but an art that is zombie.

But Sure Don’t Like Em, part 3

23 Mar

We were free very very free, so free desire left the building. We were so open, so utterly open, so superbly open everything, yes everything became surface, so open we started to baby sit openness. We were so amazingly present and thirteen’s chakra – OMG any form of asymmetry were annihilated already in the antechamber. We had it all – more than almost and Whitney – how could we not we were free free free, and we understood the world and it all – we could see everything and we were one with nature [but in the wrong way, oups] – we were so ultra make me one with everything and Gordon Matta-Clark parsley started growing out of our ears [Matta-Clark, Jezuz equivalent to having a crush on Martha Rosler – Food meets Semiotics of the Kitchen, nausea alert nausea alert – a hole made in a freakin house and the reverse, a hole taken from a freakin house called garage sale – deep – OD on Frankfurt school, blame imperialism from the inside – it wasn’t me – and out comes a fully developed hoarder – nausea alert nausea alert]. The obliteration of differentiation made it impossible to produce anything at all except – beyond creativity which wasn’t open enough, which is already conscious and an engagement with decision making processes – there was nothing left nothing nada at all, there was only authenticity, a full body presence with a big ass P. And btw, Vito Acconci’s dress code, we were so free we let his hair do pass – and that next to the jacket he wears in “Following Piece” – stop thinking that stuff was good. You know something, that schtuff when Vito is holding on to his penis under some shipboard slope –it’s not good, it’s not brill, it’s not deterritorializing, it’s not even for a millisecond cool, it’s not half way groovy, it’s not even halfway Sophia Coppola – you know Seedbed wasn’t the shit not even in 1972, what was doesn’t matter but fuck it, you know what, Vito in seventy-two was approximately as mind blowing as urgency in 2013, not at all, and I repeated – not at all.

But, even though it might just appear fa-fa-far fetched perhaps there is a connection between the two, freedom and ubiquity? In our catalogue the endless freedom we experienced in the 70s respectively the emergence of a limitless all over the place financial capitalism.

These situations are in fact identical it’s just that they are each other’s reversal. The seventies found itself caught in a moment where the struggle for emancipation and freedom was won. What are we doing now? Shit. Our current predicament is more of the same but the opposite, namely, we found ourselves in an endless everything is everything – the whole chebang has been financialized including potentiality and we’ve all became young girls – where openness itself has become an openness. Ubiquity, simultaneity, FB and endless availability has become a prison and no choice is better, worse, good or bad, success or failure, they are both and interchangeable all the time. We are so fucked. Urgency thus shows up as a nice opportunity [but exactly only opportunity] departing from known and established conventions and modes of quality assessment, becoming a dark horse, a high odds bet, risk thingy [dude, you are so up the wall], but it plays in no respect on another ball field but moves straight into and likes it. Urgency to what, bitch? To whatever and to anything all the time, aha. Urgency is a feel good for suckers, that believe their sexuality is experimental just because there is a sex toy shop in their city.

Wie man sich better, so liegt man – the seventies found itself in bed with freedom and didn’t know how to get the fuck out. Tun was du wilst mit mir [do to me whatever you like], who wouldn’t get scared shitless by somebody whispering that when the lights are off. Freaky, you just ended up naked with some kind of meta-serial killer, this is Catherine Tramell in a death match with Sharon Stone, and you are sipping on a Red Bull. Twenty-thirteen aha check it out found ubiquity in the bed, paralyzed, ch’terical and totally beyond “-Ehhh, where am I about to sleep?”, and ubiquity responds with a snake like vocalization, totally digital but mystically made to sound exactly like you think you remember your mothers voice when she passed language from one living being to anther [you sentimental creep. Bifo pö-lease, don’t go there] “-Here come, next to me, I will take care of you. I’m new like everything else and more recognizable than your ex”, mesmerized I crawl into bed. “-No no no”, I shout “-I have urgency…” and crawl into bed happy with myself. Justified, you little cowards.

I like this, so the seventies, the establishment of a feedback mechanism in the name of freedom that surveilles itself, a totalitarian freedom or simply utopia, which obviously is not a place we want to be in [at least not to begin with or for more than a really really short moment, at least not a utopia made into exhibitions and Danish artists born in the earlier 60s, SVP, or even worse you know like advertised on the www you use to download movies…], in particular as it obliterates desire, Freudian or D/G machines. Right now, right now this very moment on the other hand, the establishment of a mechanism – today called social network – that produce infinite amounts of freedom as financialized abstract value, who doesn’t surveille but instead transforms the subject into a totalitarian, or in-total, producer of itself as free.

Pas de tout, the referent didn’t blow up post 2008, or with whatever riots in London, Paris or Occupy. No way, the referent wasn’t there ever, we just believed it was, and wanted to. The point is not if or not it was around, the point is how it wasn’t, through forms of asymmetry, vis-á-vis freedom, ubiquity, apocalypse or a burning freaking bush. There’s no way out, not even a small one, not even a vague path through the forest, not even a adventures journey financialized by some hobbit and New Zealand. And it gets better we can’t even build one, we can’t even start trying. In Lewis Carroll’s “Hunting of The Snark” the captain shows up with a map that is an absolute blank and everybody is happy and overwhelmed cuz as we know conventional signs only bring us to places contained within the matrix of those signs. Already in the seventies that map was fucked and a smooth matrix of freedom, today ladies an gents that map is known as financial capitalism and we are fucked, and mind you improvisation is not gonna be much help, and yet – look at this – only improvisation will brings us out into the open – fuck openness it’s just a way of being [Maayan] – openness tells us life is okay, that consciousness one day will bring us onto the right path. No no no, it’s worse we have to insist on a radical open – everything I conclude works is not enough not even close. The open is not ubiquitous, it’s not free or –dom, it’s worse its not even that, not even all over the place and all of it at the same time, it’s worse – if openness is something it’s a werewolf dressed up like Benicio Del Toro – and Obama playing the role of Anthony Hopkins – a werewolf every once a months, then the open is a vampire and every fuckin day [and I’m in love with her].

But Sure Don’t Like Em, part 2

21 Mar

Am I just getting old? For twenty years I have nourished an excessive distrust in anybody who and every thing improvisation. Fought it on endless battlefields, dismissed it categorically or even worse. I’ve been called names, and not only just a few because of this obsessive campaign like I was some sort of McCarthy of dance bingbong or a wahnsinnig dictator with a jazz beard [donno where that jazz thing came from but don’t you think a dictator with a jazz beard must be the worst of the worst] ready to lose every and all of it just to get improvisation out of my precious, and now and now and aging grey I’ve turned so weak I can’t carry my arguments, so grandfatherly my arguments have turned into withered parchment, soft ass and afraid of losing my last associates, last comrades, that I have given up on my dicta, lost sight of my tight ass arguments and gone yellow. Probably, but in the mean time…

One more time, there is a hell uf a difference, between liberty’s rigor and liberty itself, there’s light years between openness and the open. Liberty is easy peasy Japanesey and gives the subject opportunities of going on as if nothing has happened. Liberty in this sense implies nothing else than a tiny expansion of what was already possible, even and especially in relation to what already was possible, voila liberty is the expansion of the already available, in other words it feels great or at least good but désolé liberty is just fine, and like plaster in a stimulating pastel color. What needs to be considered is not liberty itself but what consequences new or altered forms of liberty necessarily produces. Liberty’s rigor is the pursuit of necessity in relation to altered circumstances of navigational capacities. We must not understand liberty as an open sexual relation, meaning, yeah now I can expand my territory to include the plumber, James Franco, Penélope and somebody with red hair [that would be really sweet and smiling], on the contrary liberty must be taken far more serious, way more serious, in the sense that it is not an expansion but rather an entirely new territory, it’s not another map, it’s an all together different map if at all a map. The introduction of some or other kind of liberty, through whatever means, is not the establishment of new opportunities, not at all, it’s rather the emergence of new forms of struggle, and new forms implies new means, new weapons – not simple change like flip siding whatever and continuing to do the same, no no liberty is or should mean the unconditional transformation of change itself. Liberty’s rigor in other words implies a process of becoming foreign to oneself and or to ones territory. So no, a rigorous open sexual or whatever relation, is not a yippee boogie-woogie time, essactly not it is instead a means to question the “essence” of sexuality itself. Liberty’s rigor in this respect might just make you not do the horizontal with any of them. Not even a little bit Penélope? Perhaps, just to be tedious yet another option could be to consider the difference, liberty is a probabilistic and it’s rigor implies a transference to contingent differentiation.

It’s obviously no accident that our current Western society is all up to liberty understood as expansion or the already available, it’s after all hand in glove with neoliberal governance especially with the addition, that seems currently ubiquitous, that liberty always is a concern for or of the subject, the individual. Who the hell today, would bother to care about the liberty of something grander than the subject – oh shit I forgot there is nothing grander than the subject, no bigger cause than subject. Oh no no, don’t misunderstand, the notion that the subject is the shit, that the obsession with certain modalities of subjectivity in our current predicament is in any way synonymous with being ego-centered, selfish, a rotten ass hole don’t give a shit about others and so on. No no these forms of subjectivity, this addiction to the subject is rather a state and corporate sanction to us all – and therefore democratic – to be absolutely and endlessly occupied with one’s own participation in the world. We live in a world where excessive self-obsessivity has become has become the preferred mode of care of the self, or even better where compulsive identity boosting has become a generous gesture.

Improvisation appears on the map somewhere in the mid 60s, sure thang dance has always been free and open mindedly executed but the circumstances for freer dance either Isadora D or whatever mystical nude shit they did in Germany at the wrong moment and with an American west cost thing as a precursor it is first with the 60s that improvisation coagulates into a terrain of practices and gains a sort of autonomous vocabulary [both in the sense of dancing but also and perhaps more importantly in language]. That improvisation appears at this particular historical moment is obviously not an accident, but correlates to all kind of emancipatory or liberation movements appearing here and there, especially in the US, from the early mid 50s, make that Cage or Pollock, Miles Davies or Allen Ginsburg in the arts and at least a handful in respect of subjectivity and life – women’s, educational, sexual, black and a general emancipation form a hyper homogenized America society, with hippies, self-precarisation, freeish education on a farm somewhere and organic life in the bush. These are the circumstances for the elaboration of dance’s relation to improvisation.

One would thus think that practitioners active in the time was like deep in a critical practice but were they? Or even better perhaps they have modulated their responses to what it all was w in order to produce enough mystery around themselves to still be relevant. In a panel discussion with Steve Paxton a few years ago, I made the slight mistake of asking him about exactly above and the circumstances for the NYC activities at the time. If those kids were discussing and actively questioning the epistemology of dance and it’s relation to other movements of emancipation, or even the politically necessity of an emancipated dance field. The expected or not intellectual articulation however was cancelled out by Steve responding: “Nah, you know we were just imagining stuff, like little fluffy clouds, mystical landscapes and rainbows.” It’s certainly beautiful and charming for sure, and hopefully just Mr Paxton who doesn’t want to stand out like some smart ass dude that wasn’t just body and more body. It’s indeed insane how deadpan he performs in the films form the 70s, producing a body seemingly void of subjectivity and this is perhaps what makes his response exiting, not mentioning rainbows and shit in the sense of enhancement of the subject or the self, but rather sort of psychedelic motive as a means of vanishing all together, of an annihilation of the subject.

But Paxton a side and with him his anti-locational response, an etymology can be traced. Improvisation in the late 60s and perhaps a decade or two further towards our own time had a job. A job which was to emancipate dance from a double violence. First a job to free the dancing subject from the hyper striated expressions of, either Balanchine, Cunningham or Graham, i.e. to free the dancer from the prison of generalized technique, hierarchical decision makings, choreography etc. and so on. It was a matter of emancipating the dancer from the hardship of choreography. Secondly and expanded this emancipation correlates to society in general, the emancipation of the dancer from choreography equally implies the emancipation of the subject, the individual from the, or some, homogenizing characteristics of the society at hand. Improvisation becomes a means to free the human, the person, the subject from his own chains.

This is all great and superbly lovely, improvisation totally had a job and I believer it did it successfully. Improvisation as concert dance, as display, further become a form of expression of “pure” creativity. This was obviously important in a world homogenized into so to say The Society, or where creativity must be understood as a scarcity. To attend a performance of improvisation dance implied to go check out a promise of other kinds of life, of other kinds of relations to one’s body, to augmented opportunities for being an individual, a woman, a sexual being that could surface desire and lust. Yes, even dance improvisation combined with some contemporary wkd-ish music, or like holy bananas a dancer improvising next to, through, between and in association with a double bass improviser could go through the eye of the needle of the aesthetically acceptable. Think about that, yes, think about that twice – and it was phantastic. It was a time where one could say the word exploration without being deadly ashamed or apologizing afterwards – “Oups, that came out wrong…”

Dance at this time prior to identity politics was also something that at least initially and with a certain ignorance could be experienced as autonomous, as something that was not comprised in language and not all the way embedded in text, signification and meaning production. Life was lovely and dance was somewhere hooked up with potentiality. At this time liberty itself was totally d’accord, whatever liberty proposed was a liberation to forms of recognizable resistances. To be creative, to fantasize was in itself an endeavor, something worth the trouble and that didn’t come easy.

And yes it was our obligation to practice open relations, sleep around and insist on experimental sex. A multiplicity of sexual partners, the denial of sexuality coagulating into family formations were in itself creative, emancipatory, a political necessity. Then, when you had braids and we didn’t know about men with longer hair life was amazing, and we went home together free and real. We improvised and could pride ourselves of Marxist ideals all the way to the boogie-woogie.

But Sure Don’t Like Em, part 1

20 Mar

I’m for improvisation. Consider this a confession. I’m for and I’m pro improvisation. I confess. Oh yes, I know how tacky confessions are and how utterly embarrassing late 90s European “Hello I’m a little bit special”-theatre it sounds. But I don’t care, I don’t even care if Forced Entertainment is mentioned in the Wikipedia post that I don’t have, I confess anyway, or perhaps, this is a confession so to say backward. Like you confess to your boy or girlfriend to have had super amazing extra and you know that kind of half indecent sex that makes you feel just a bit more human with someone (preferably a somebody almost in the circle of friends), but in fact it never happened… Far more fun than the husband that confesses killing the plumber out of jealousy when it actually was the bloodthirsty wife that did it did it, sucking his blood as if she was some female version of Alexander Skarsgård. Your problem however, after the sex that didn’t happen as for the husband is obviously that you have to produce a trustworthy water tight story and as your boyfriend – who is a typical and predictable one – starts to ask questions, demand information in detail you get more and more enmeshed in the once almost innocent set up. So entangled that you soon convince yourself it really did happened and end up having phantasies about that hot hot moment that suddenly feels very very real, picturing yourself spiced up and half naked with her – a sort of Penélope Cruz that just dropped her Santa red snakeskin velvet dress on the floor [OMG, but how good was she together with Salma Hayek in “Bandidas” – totally underrated.], or James Franco with an out of bed hairdo and not so impressive at all pecs, but gosh… and that slight independent bad boy flare of an indigo version of Steve McQueen. Bingo.

Soon you are obsessing, totally insane, your are going mad of desire, she is in your every thought, he looms around in your head like a lost soul, she haunts you during nightly hours of tossing and turning erotically guilty, his hands around your neck, her breath high in her chest as your lips meet… go away go away go away. And the boy-girlfriend has already forgiven you long ago – it wasn’t a big deal [and you just wanted to get out of your boring sad ass relation], but look, after all we are contemporary creatures and know better than not take advantage of all and every networking opportunity, but you you you are snared, this is a death sentence, this is hell, this is… suddenly you find yourself deadly desiring a somebody you more or less made up and have to have him or her to exorcise your obsession. Have to experience that vibrating moment that you have exercised in your mind over and over, that sweaty boogie-woogie you didn’t even… OMG, that afterwards departure slightly guilt ridden but still proud of yourself. This is not good, this is really quite bad.

Consider this or not that kind of confession, but mind you is it even more strategic. I see, this confession, the confession to adore and be for improvisation is something like, I am confessing to something that I didn’t do not in order to get rid of the girlfriend but to become obsessively eroticized by somebody I don’t fancy – I mean who’d ever seriously confess to have a crush on Penèlope [poor Javier Bardem], James sure except… My confession is deep self-deception, this is not self-camoflage, this is hyper-camo – I’m so in disguise I mistake myself for The Pink Panther, or look at this perhaps this is just straight from the heart, a thug and liar unbuttoning his bullet proof west going naked, stepping out of his self-obsessed delusions. I’m going real, this is my AA moment. I’m for improvisation. I’m for improvisation, and it’s spoken not in emotional distress, not with sentimentality in the voice, not even like my new lover is deep in impro so I better dig it, BS. No this is a super man confessing, I am pro and improvisation.

No I’m not, yes I am, I’m for any kind of improvisation, totally and unconditionally. I’m for it but I don’t like it, I mean yes I like that I’m for it but just because I’m for improvisation without specification I don’t necessarily need to dig it all, do I now?  Unconditional yet specific, that’s the groove, the soundtrack to the movement, kind of Claus Oldenburg style 1961. “I am for an improvisation that is political-erotical-mystical, that does something other than sit on its ass in a dance studio. I am for an improvisation that grows up not knowing it is improvisation at all, an improvisation given the chance of having a starting point of zero. I am for an improvisation that embroils itself with the everyday crap & still comes out on top. I am for an improvisation that imitates the human, that is comic, if necessary, or violent, or whatever is necessary”, and so on until the last super duper 10-4 taxonomy dislocating all pretentions in any respect: “I am for U.S. Government Inspected improvisation, Grade A improvisation, Regular Price improvisation, Yellow Ripe improvisation, Extra Fancy improvisation, Ready-to-eat improvisation, Best-for-less improvisation, Ready-to-cook improvisation, Fully cleaned improvisation, Spend Less improvisation, Eat Better improvisation, Ham improvisation, pork improvisation, chicken improvisation, tomato improvisation, banana improvisation, apple improvisation, turkey improvisation, cake improvisation, cookie improvisation.” I love it, but however it seems Mr Oldenburg is for everything, what matters is not what he is pro but how.

Fuck it, yes yes, my aversion for anything how is phenomenal but we make an exception. Shoot, if what questions are stupidly [said who?] demanding some form of essence, what homogenizes, is categorical, and finite to a one. What stops shit in the lobby, no play, no self-deception, nothing with James or Penélope – pah boring. But then flip it flip it, what about how, how is the the the shape-shifter response of neoliberalism always open for an other round of negotiation, how is the passing out of ideology in favor of some general ethics of under these circumstances. How never leaves the lobby, never makes a move, never ends up in that hotel room, dies dried up void of any sweaty phantasy and self-fulfilled through strategic decision making.

How is the slippery side of consciousness, in the sense of always being on the safe side, how is the ministry of never being nailed down, of never being fucked properly, never having that whoopee of indecency that makes you a little bit more human [You monster…], how is never having to stand up for your sins, mistakes, fuck ups. How is the rotten stench of criticality, how is the opposite of confession, the very continuity of “it wasn’t me”. I confess, I’m pro improvisation all kinds unconditionally, but I sure don’t like em.



I Will Not Give Up

18 Mar

Everything tells me to, my intellect [if I have one], consciousness, my feelings and emotions even my Montreal fluffy affect department [oh, no not that one – it tells me to be always more than one, holy fuck as I didn’t have enough of one me?] all of them tells me to, tells me give up and to comply to the general order. I should follow tendencies of correct behavior and resign, invest properly and agree to be part of markets, to strategies of survival, measurement and compatibility. But I can’t give up. I can’t and write out of despair. I’m maker of dance and choreography and I’m in tears.

I will not and cannot support consciousness but must fight it to bitterest of bitter ends. “Give up and swallow the little suffering that it implies”, but no I cannot, I rather live with the increased pain whatever getting out of consciousness will cost me. To be alive is not alright, I must fight the desire to consider that life is okay. Consciousness and life, a good, and okay life, that is what I need to fight. I fight, wave my arms wildly to become existence and non-life.

Certainly, I exist in markets, I perform strategies and negotiate diplomatically yet just because I do, do I necessarily need to subordinate myself to these. Even if I will come out vanquished my job is to refuse, not refuse as a protest against anything, no this is a refusal to myself and the petty desires I can already have have and enjoy.

I’m not in favor emancipation, I’m against it, because emancipation is already from something, my refusal is worse I must emancipate myself from emancipation as a form of struggle, an aimless struggle towards an annihilation of myself as myself. Emancipation is connected with gratification, the struggle I need to engage in must not offer any from of gratification, no affordance and certainly no opportunities for investment. Anything that I can conclude works is not enough, only that that doesn’t work is acceptable and worth further investigation. Whatever works is always already inscribed and possible [spti on Woody Allen]. It is not enough to set up problems for myself or the world. To problems I can have there are already more or less relevant solutions. What I must do is to force myself to invent problems to which there are absolutely no solutions. I must not solve problems, I must resolve myself in favor of new problems. I already have the answers, I know what is wrong, but neither to identify what is wrong nor accept my answers is sufficient. I must keep watch, keep awake. I must take all threats seriously, but must not give in, don’t be seduced by them, identify with their surprising yet conventional monstrosity, I must not resign in front of false sense of guilt and justice they invite. I must refute my desires to protest, my hopes for some revolt, as they confirm my idealist light leftist subjectivity and already responds to an already producible future, already some kind of prescriptive capacity, to forms of emancipation. Fuck that, it is only the simple formation of a projectable future. I must stop myself, cut my own limbs that bring me towards hope. I must annihilate my petty belief in the future and with a complete lack of expectation engage in future, future as absolute non-differentiated becoming, future not as the actualization of tendencies already in existence but in avenir a break with any form of perspective. The future is already engaged in perspective, in formation, whereas avenir is future understood as horizon, future as indivisible and continuous alien. I don’t care if such an aimless struggle or keeping watch implies an argument vis-à-vis a great outdoors, immanence or plain of consistency. This is not a matter of analysis in favor of a philosophically consistent subject, no we are and must by necessity be against such a subject, both the philosophical and the consistency part, avenir is rather and also precisely their contingent destruction or putrefaction.

It might appear childish and idealistic but there is no artistic practice that we can respect that does not understand avenir as its in-one-identity of the last instance. Liberty’s rigor is way more difficult than liberty itself. I will not give up, never. It is my promise, my only promise. I will never, never give up.