The charger question has a friend, the associate question that usually arrives before the white cube issues. Yes, somehow it is the black box problem, and yes it is all a question of power and regulation. Here we go…
“- What’s the network?”
In the land of digital communication sharing network implies a multiplication of opportunities without consequences, without being obliged to form a group, having secrets or agreements. The agreement is structural not strategic, it is impersonal and inconsequential. We don’t fill up our bit-torrent client when bandwidth is going thin. It’s rather simple, when I click in I’m whoever, not a history of prominence or marginal who wants to get in – there is no hierarchy between users or engaged ones. When I close the laptop I’m history and keychain, no string attached, no lobby to maintain. The structural level of alignment, or the absence of composition is attractive. It operates on the bases of permission rather than under auspices of license. I like it cuz it offers navigation without ownership.
“-What’s the network?”
Dance festivals and season programs operate exactly the other way around. Yes, I dare say without exception, because if you are not in you don’t work whatever it is that you do. In dance networks operate strictly on strategic levels, without any concern for structural or tactical openness or deployment. Networks in the cultural sector are absolutely closed and are all about membership. You have to make yourself worthy of being part, you will have to go through a test, and you have to invest a fare amount on energy in lobby and travel-costs.
If digital networks are somehow a masochistic mechanical structure, then networks in the cultural sector can be said to be a sadistic organicity. This is interesting in relation to surveillance. Masochism is dealing with contracts and conditions and as long as the condition is fulfilled the subordinate is liberated. Sadism is the flip side, it deals with conventions and operates through ubiquitous control, and the surveillance necessarily operates dialectically. Networks have become self-perpetuating, worse and better than a panopticon. Networks in cultural businesses operate due a mode or production known as “dynamique d’enfer” or dynamics of hell, the basic ideology of which is:
Identify a reason for engagement
Convince partners to chip in
Make sure all players are involved in a manner where it becomes too expensive (actually or symbolically) to withdraw.
This is the network situation in dance, it is about fear and pressure without a face. It is: “-If you don’t do as we say…” It is the call for the rookie, the already weak, to kill his best friend, the childhood buddy who fucked up some minor drug deal, s’cuse me co-production.
It’s not about you… It’s so not about you, but you know that if you don’t do it somebody will lose face and killing will not end. And losing face is the only thing that matters. If there were a Hollywood film about dance networks the boss, the initiator, would be played by Al Pacino on a really bad day. Dignity is all that counts. So in dance networks we keep it in the family and there is no deals, no action, no transactions without the silent approval of a very old Sicilian.
No you kill for the greater good. It’s not even you who does it, it is the organization and you, you are just a… What are you responsible for?
You are responsible for the maintenance of hierarchies, the preservation of an aristocratic society that operates like a flock of vampires, like apologetic blood suckers that obediently confess there compulsive lust. “-I do my best, but after all I’m a vampire. I was made a vampire, it wasn’t my desire, and now I’m destined to destruction.” No, even a vampire can choose for a different route, it is rather simple stop being apologetic and/or enthusiastic, be fanatic and take your own life.
“-What do you mean, enthusiastic?”
Rather simple, enthusiasm is one of these contemporary gestures, which mean absolutely nothing, are completely soaked with liberal attitude and have zero consequences. Enthusiasm is the ultimate vampire, the proactive attitude of a murderer. Fuck enthusiasm, be a fanatic, allow yourself to be rich enough to be categorical. Enthusiasm is for those that have already given up the possibility of an alternative. Enthusiasm is like renting a car, it’s not yours. You have no autonomy.
How does it feel to give up your autonomy and sell out to the network just in order to obtain short-term economical breathing space? Are you aware that the network is making your program, composing your season? Al Pacino runs your business. It is not you, who kill but it is also not you who makes anything happen. You are a victim of your own life, and you know what, you will spend the rest of your life in a black box.